THE CHANGING SEASONS – DECEMBER 2017 AND THE YEAR COMES TO AN END

I didn’t do a lot of shooting this month. Almost all of the little I did was taken indoors. Lots of dogs and Christmas trees.

We had a little bit of snow at the beginning of the month and a tiny bit more here and there, but mostly, it has been cold and dry. It is supposed to snow tomorrow or the day after, but not soon enough for photography this month.


Su Leslie has mentioned that she is willing to run this challenge next year, so if you feel like joining in, make sure to follow her blog where this challenge will continue to live on without Max (Cardinal Guzman) as host. He has done a brilliant job and I have very much enjoyed the challenge from year to year. Thanks, Max! Please check out his beautiful photography on his site.


Almost all of these were shot today — a few earlier in the month. I hope to see all of you next year. Have a great holiday season and may winter not be too cruel to any of you.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Marilyn on Main Street – Photo: Garry Armstrong

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LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND FINDING YOUR WAY HOME – BY TOM CURLEY

Marilyn wrote a blog about National Towel Day. That was May 25th, the day fans celebrate the works of the late great Douglas Adams.

I’m not a fan, I’m a zealot. I’ve read all his books. Listened to all the BBC radio series. And watched both movies of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.”  The first one done in the 80’s with the original BBC radio cast, was actually a TV series. It was done on a budget of … maybe 25 bucks, but it was great.

The Disney movie was okay. Mostly, because Douglas Adams was the producer. Unfortunately, he died before it was finished. Even if you didn’t like the movie, it was worth watching just for the opening musical number “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish”.

While Hitchhiker is my favorite Adams work, I also loved the Dirk Gently series.

One of the things in the book always stuck with me. Whenever Dirk was lost he would simply follow someone who looked like they knew where they were going. He found that he never got to where he was going but he always ended up where he needed to be.

I used that concept once. I was driving home from work one night and I was on the local road that leads to my house. I came upon a police barricade. The road was closed.

There were no detour signs. I only knew that one road. So, I did what Dirk did. I saw a car in front of me turn off the road. He/she seemed to know where he/she was going. So I followed him/her. For the next 20 minutes to a half hour we wound our way through twisty back roads in the bowels of Southern Connecticut. I had no idea where I was.

Suddenly, the car in front of me turns on to the main road again. Past the barricade. I couldn’t believe it! It actually worked! But here’s where it got weird. The car in front of me turned off the main road and on to the road I live on. OK, I thought. Makes sense. There are a lot of houses on my street. This person was obviously going home too. But then the car turned into my driveway! That’s when I realized it was my daughter. I should have recognized the car, but I didn’t put two and two together.

The really funny part was that my daughter had just spent the last 20 minutes or so completely freaking out because this mysterious black car had been following her, turn for turn and then followed her to her house! True story.

I know Douglas Adams was smiling.

DOGS WATCHING FOR SANTA?

We have very alert dogs. I know this because they bark.

They bark at cars passing by and even more at a car or truck in the driveway. They bark when someone comes to deliver a package. They get downright frenzied when someone comes into the house. Gibbs goes totally nuts if that someone happens to be my son, with whom he has developed a passionate bond. Duke feels that way about our granddaughter. Bonnie saves all that passion for Garry and occasionally, for me.

This week, they seem to be spending much of their time perched atop the sofa, watching out the window. I think they are watching for one little sleigh, a red-coated elf with a long white beard … and who knows what kind of goodies?

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out whether or not there’s any point in wrapping their gifts since I’d have to unwrap them so they’d know what they are.

Maybe I’ll just go with a ribbon?

OH HAPPY YULE

I don’t know about you (though I can make an educated guess), but I have a full dance card this time of year. It would be hard to figure which of the many tasks remaining is the most pressing. Discounting everyday chores, the one that looms largest is the same one which every year, I procrastinate doing until later and later … sometimes until Christmas Eve itself! I’m generally not a procrastinator. Really.


Wrapping. The. Presents.


I bought paper. I bought gift bags. I bought ribbon and little sticky labels. I still need bows, but even without them, I’m good to go.

I am a capable, fast, and occasionally artistic gift wrapper. But over the years, watching people pick up their gifts, rip the paper and ribbons off without so much as checking to see whose name is on the label (like who is giving me this gift?) well, it has taken some of the bloom off that particular rose.

I used to put a lot of effort into beautifully wrapping packages. Now, I just wrap them. In whatever paper is the right size. Okay, I try to vary the paper so it make a pretty pile. And coördinate ribbons and bows to complement the colors in the paper. Make sure that I don’t give the fluffy pink kitties to the boys.

However, I don’t go that extra mile. I was probably over the top anyway. I made my own bows using miles of curling ribbon. Nobody can curl ribbon better than I can. But I was young and eager.

In recent years, I get wrapping done quickly, efficiently, neatly. Then I stand, admiring my handiwork for a while, hoping I haven’t left some important gift in the back of a closet where it may never be found.

Every year, I lose at least one expensive, important gift. I have reached an age where I should not be allowed to hide anything unless someone else knows where I’ve put it. Because the odds are high I will not remember where I put it. I may never remember. The next time it will see the light is when I am carried out of here, feet first, and my closets are finally emptied. It will be like archaeology.

When I am done with the wrapping, after I pick up all the little bits of paper, ribbon, and tape? I’m going to sit down in my recliner and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” While having a cup of cocoa. Does anyone have a better idea?