A really lazy day today — the joys of having time off. As I said to June, we can either do stuff or not do stuff — it’s totally our choice.
I picked up an app a week or so ago for free and haven’t used it yet, so I thought I’d make it my goal to create today’s picture using that app. It’s called KaleidaCam, and as the name suggests, it creates a kaleidoscope-type photo. I figured the colorful Christmas trees in the house might make good subjects and they sure did. Even slightest movements of the camera give completely different effects, which is both a blessing and curse. It’s fun to see the different results but you have to keep the phone really still to capture the one that you really like. The regular Christmas produced some good effects, but then I headed up to the small tree decorated with M&Ms and feather boas just off the kitchen. I was able to product some neat effects, but the shot you see below is one of my favorites. I don’t suspect that this is an app that will get extensive use, but it is definitely a good one to have in the collection.
I guess we must have been good this year, because Father Christmas once again made a visit to our house, and spoiled us again. We had a leisurely start to the day and started opening presents in the late morning — even Stubby got into the act, pulling his new squeaky toy from the stocking that June showed him. Around lunch time we had a Skype call will a good friend in San Francisco and then headed over to the in-laws around mid-afternoon to share Christmas with the family. The kids were beside themselves of course and reveling in all of their gifts. One of the special presents from Santa was a Wii game system, so I helped Bill get that set-up in their living room so the kids could have at it. And then we had a nice meal — and this was on top of the of all the nibblies that had been out all afternoon. It was indeed a day of good cheer. On the way out, I grabbed this shot of Bill’s house decorated for Christmas.
For the last couple of years June has arranged a Christmas decoration afternoon with the nephew and nieces, and this year is no exception. Except this year they were joined by Seth, the new foster child addition to their family. (And an affectionate little guy he is too — when he first saw me this afternoon, he came up and hugged me and said “I’ve missed you Uncle Matt.”) Join got the kids decorating Rice Krispie snowmen on the floor of the sitting area next to the kitchen, while I had the job of keeping Stubby away from the said treats! The boys progressed from that activity to our Wii system in the basement while June worked with the girls to decorate a gingerbread house in the kitchen. And after all of that was done, the kids were hungry (of course!), so we ordered in some Domino’s to take care of the growling bellies. A fun and busy afternoon for all involved.
Today we joined Bill, Debbie and the kids for the annual Christmas tree farm visit to find a tree for them. Dylan gravitated to the enormous trees, but Bill reminded him that the tree needed to actually fit in their basement – and paying for a huge tree to use just a small portion of it didn’t make a lot of sense. (The comment made me think of Mr Bean’s Christmas, for those familiar with that classic episode.) In keeping with tradition, Bill carried the trusty axe into the field and having selected the coniferous candidate, everyone took swings at it, even the 3-year old Seth. The axe was swung with gusto — particularly by some of us — but after several rounds each all we had succeeded in doing was chew away a bit of the bark. Bill took a closer look at the axe, and running his thumb down the blade made the observation that actually sharpening the axe before next year’s adventure would probably be a good idea. Reinforcements were then called in because it was clear that at our rate of progress the tree would probably grow another couple of inches before we had it down. The Christmas tree farm owner arrived with this chainsaw, and with a quick buzz the tree was on the ground and then tied to the roof of Bill’s minivan in no time.
After watching the kids play their last game of basketball for the season this morning, we met Bill and Debbie and the kids downtown this afternoon to see the Christmas display at the Galt House Hotel. They always do a wonderful job of decorating. And if you ever wanted to know what an almost life-size gingerbread house looks like, this is the place to go. One of the big attractions for the last few years has been the KaLightoscope display which consists of all of these luminaries inside a huge tent just outside of the hotel building. Every year they come up with new pieces, and the overall effect is really captivating. (I ran into a fellow camera club member while we were there and she mentioned how wonderful it would be to organize a club trip here next year, ideally where we could bring in tripods and just have to the place to ourselves. Great idea I thought! We need to mention that at an upcoming meeting.) In the meantime though, I had my trusty iPhone with me of course and in a nod to an Aussie Christmas, took this photo of a very large animated Surfin’ Santa who was suspended from the ceiling
Every year, the building landlord puts on a holiday lunch, and this year was no exception. A couple of colleagues and myself wandered downstairs to sample the fare, which consisted of a Caesar salad, green beans, an Italian style chicken breast, bread roll and a choice of cookies. Never too proud to turn down a free feed! This shot was taken from our second floor, looking down at the tables of food on the floor below us.
(Hmm — I just looked over this week;s photos again. This is starting to turn into a food blog!)
Today is our work Christmas party, and this year we went to Lilly’s, a storied local restaurant and a true Louisville original. I’ve been interested in checking the place out for years, so i was glad to have the opportunity to check it out. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. For those interested in such things, I had the portobello mushroom soup (which was thick and delicious), a couple of spinach-mushroom-gruyere cheese crepes with buerre blanc sauce and a piece of caramel cake, Delish! Plus the company was good too, and a chance to talk about things not work related. (We were talking about how we met our spouses, and one guy met his over the phone and other on a plane trip back to Louisville!) And then our managers were good enough to give us the rest of the day off — in fact, there were strict instructions that no-one was to return to the office. A nice gesture and much appreciated.