This is the last day of the year and it's time once again for P.J.'s Photo Blogging challenge. This month, the theme was 'Tis the Season, and I've approached it, at least in my mind, from a traditional and non-traditional viewpoint. Some photos will make perfect sense with the theme, while others will need some explanation. But you already know I'm going to explain all of them anyway, so here goes.
1 and 2. The Evolution of our family Christmas trees
Christmas day, the family gathered at my sister's house to celebrate the day. Lots of good food was had by all and by the time the last of us had eaten the last portions of cheesecake that my other sister had made, most of us could probably have just rolled down the hill back to our own homes.
My sister's Christmas tree is the only tree in the family, that I'm aware of that has just white lights. I believe that all the rest of us have colored lights on our trees. Growing up, for the first ten years or so, our family tree at home was all blue. Blue ornaments, blue lights - everything was blue on the tree. Christmas of 1971 or 72, we went back to Indiana to have a "White Christmas." While we were back there, my last surviving grandparent passed away. He had been suffering from what we would call today Alzheimers disease, so it was not totally unexpected.
We ended up staying a couple of extra days because of the funeral and other family obligations that come along with an event such as this. One of the things that ended up coming home with us were a lot of really old Christmas ornaments from my grandparent's estate. The next year, we used those ornaments on the tree and over the next 10 years or so collected, purchased, etc., other ornaments so the tree was no longer a blue tree. We got new light strings with multi-colored lights to add to the non-blue theme. Some ornaments were even made.
As each of us eventually moved out of the house, the ornaments that had been given to us as children were taken and subsequently added to our own Christmas trees in our new places. My daughter has taken her ornaments that have been given to her and she now has them displayed on her tree in her place. My middle son didn't have a tree this year and isn't totally settled yet, so his, plus my youngest son's ornaments still adorn our tree every year. In the near future, I'm sure this will change.
Both my older sister and I have a strong affiliation for things Disney, so it was no surprise to see several Disney ornaments on her tree. This one of Dopey Dwarf climbing the staircase heading up to see who was up in the Dwarve's bedroom struck my fancy. To took several shots, because the shutter speed was very slow, one thirteenth of a second, which is usually too slow for hand held shots. I'm very pleased that this one is in pretty fine focus.
Every time I blog this particular post, I look forward to the next month's theme. This is one of the few times I'm disappointed I can't use this photo for next month's theme as the theme for next month is Games.
In our house, the kids tend to generate the games and it was no exception this year as several games were pulled off the shelves and others were given as gifts this year. Growing up, I enjoyed playing games although sometimes found few takers. I can't imagine my competitiveness had anything to do with that. <smirk>
The day after Christmas, the kids gathered around to play games. My middle son's girlfriend is an artist and began sketching us as we played Settlers of Cataan. My youngest son is on the right and he's not complete obviously, but the rest of us, moving counterclockwise from the upper right, my son, my daughter, myself and my future son-in-law are all there. She did an excellent job capturing the character of each one of us in this drawing. If you look closely, you can also see that each of us are labeled and identified.
4. Trip to the Lake
My father-in-law lives up in Lake Arrowhead and for the past several years, we make a trip up there over the holidays to visit with him. This year, he went all out for us to enjoy our short stay up there. Blintzes, tamales, the chocolate cake that was to die for were just some of the treats he had for us.
Usually, we'll go down to the lake to feed the ducks and this year was no exception to that. It's no wonder the ducks and geese are fat and happy up there as there were all sorts of people doing the same thing.
The shot is of my middle son on the left and my future son-in-law. I had a couple of different shots of the two of them, plus one of them with my daughter, but this one turned out the best of the set that I took while we were down there.
Both men get along very well with each other, which is a very good thing. We are all looking forward to July when Brian and my daughter Kathryn tie the knot. He is very good to her and he is a very welcome addition to our family.
5. The Granddaddy of them all
Finally, what seasonal blog would be complete without something dealing with the new year, which is literally right around the corner now. In some cases, it's already here and you might even be reading this in 2015.
Growing up in Southern California meant watching the Rose Parade and watching the Rose Bowl on television. I actually attended two Rose Bowls in the late 70s, courtesy of my good friend who was attending U.S.C. at the time. U.S.C. was a powerhouse in football back then and they usually contended for the Rose Bowl every year back then.
Every year, we'd get the Pac 10 vs. the Big 10. Since we were from northern Indiana, our allegiances were more toward the Big 10, especially since my father attended Notre Dame. We wouldn't root for U.S.C. We would very often root for west coast teams in other years when U.S.C. wasn't there however.
Now with the old BCS and the new playoff system in place today, college football doesn't always have the traditional rivalries we came to expect in certain bowl games. This year, the Rose Bowl (which is the 101st edition) is giving us Oregon vs Florida St. in one semi-final game. The Sugar Bowl in New Orleans is giving us Alabama vs Ohio St later in the evening on the 1st.
Given that I've always enjoyed the traditional match ups for bowl games, it should come as no surprise that I'm rooting for Ohio St. and Oregon to prevail and meet in the championship game. And yes, I will be rooting for the Ducks in the championship game as well. I took this shot just after Christmas when we went on a hike up the Arroyo Seco, which is where the Rose Bowl is located. Walking back down to our car, we also found a geocache. So what else is new?
And there you have it. This was my interpretation of the theme 'Tis the Season. I hope you have enjoyed these shots. Please stop by P.J.'s blog to see his interpretation and look below on that page for the other links to others who have participated this month.