Wednesday, December 24, 2008

White (and spotted) Christmas

This year's Christmas is my last one before I get married. That lends everything an air of even-more-than-usual significance, as I wonder when I will next be among my family at Christmastime.

However, this Christmas has so far refused to cooperate with the sentimentalism I'm attaching to it. It will be a white Christmas for sure -- the first one in my memory (here, I mean) since I was five. When I woke up this morning it was snowing hard, but I wasn't surprised: we have been pretty much snowed in since last Wednesday. My dad has managed to make it out for church, to pick me up from the airport, and to get groceries, but now the roads look even worse. Apparently the Department of Transportation refuses to salt the roads because it is bad for the environment, and they are using rubber-edged plows so as not to damage the roads, but these pack the snow rather than scooping it away. Downtown, police officers are covering their beat on foot, because of the very real danger that they will slide down the steep hills and into the bay.

I always wanted a white Christmas as a child, but the state of the roads never occurred to me. This year, there is no way we could get to midnight Mass like I wanted to, and I am only hoping that daytime Mass won't be impossible too. Getting a Christmas tree, something that my mom has finally agreed to without any fuss, is also not going to happen.

The other trouble of the snow is that we have not been able to get Joseph to the doctor. He was recovering from an ear infection when suddenly he got a fever again -- and spots. The most likely diagnosis is the measles, though we are not sure. On the phone, the doctor said there was no point in trying to get to her office, since there's not much you can do for a virus. All we can do is try to keep the germs away from the baby -- a mammoth task. Luckily we older ones are either vaccinated or have had the measles. But all the younger four are still at risk.

>sigh< Yes, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember. But don't think I'm complaining. I remember some of our nicest Christmases involving unexpected problems. There was the Christmas we couldn't afford a Christmas tree, and put all our presents under a potted plant. And the year the roads were icy, and we had to leave our car at the bottom of the hill, with the Christmas tree tied on top, while we walked home. The year I was at boarding school for Christmas, coming home for only three days once Christmas was over -- and during those three days Joseph was born. And other holidays too -- like the Thanksgiving I had the flu and got some unexpected bonding time with my dad when we both stayed home from the feast and watched football together. My seventeenth birthday, when my brother and I got lost downtown trying to get to my party, and it was 100 degrees inside our non-air-conditioned car, but we played the Kitaro album and made up fantasy stories to go with the songs.

No, I can see that a few years from now, we'll pull out the pictures of Joseph looking like a leopard and us decorating the windows and the banisters, and we will smile, saying, "Wasn't that a Christmas to remember?"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Lights in Old Town

This little walk I took to take a few pictures in Old Town (well, all right, it was an hour-long walk, and I took about 75 pictures) was a wonderful stress-reliever. I needed it, between the end-of-quarter stress at school and the I'm-getting-married-in-just-over-six-months stress in the rest of my life. I'm this weird mix of busy, anxious, and excited that leaves me pacing around the apartment, ignoring all my responsibilities, and then suddenly grading twelve book reports and doing all the dishes.
Here are the fruits of my photo-op.

The view down Center Street. Yes, I did have to stand in the middle of the street to take the picture. But it was quite safe.

I have always loved it when people do trees like this, with shining trunks and a web of lights in their almost invisible branches.

City Hall. I have photographed this building dozens of times now, with several different sunsets. It stands out well against them -- and also without them, as you see.

Okay, here's the beginning of my clock obsession. Prepare for many more clocks. I am not sure why I like clocks so much. Perhaps it is because they are so very round and white. Perhaps it is because every picture you take of them is of a slightly different scene, because they move. But there is just something that makes the street with the lights completely different from the street with the lights and a clock.

This one is special because it has not only a clock, but also a flag unfurling in the light wind that was going by. There's something about knowing that a moment before or after would have been a different picture.

"One luminary clock against the sky"

The same clock from the other side, near the pavilion where there's an ice skating rink.

I love this picture. I had to take many to get it right. Maybe it's the circle within the square that does it. Or maybe it's the light shining out of it -- like the moon. I just don't know, but I like this clock.
The train station, all decked out. With the ubiquitous water tower. I do not understand why this town needs so many water towers. In my regular walks to the grocery store or Old Town, I see three water towers without traveling a single mile.

These are two pictures I've been trying to get for a long time. Don't the gates rising and falling look like fans? And the red light lines are dotted, because the lights were blinking. Again, maybe I like these pictures more because of the effort it took to get them. There's a lot of waiting for trains it takes to get even one take of the picture -- and then you find the shutter speed wasn't slow enough, or the aperture was too big, and you have to wait for the next train. Or you just finally get lucky when you're photographing the train station -- which is what finally happened, after all those times running outside when I heard the train whistles.

This one was intended to be symbolic. Doesn't it look like the lighted trees are there to decorate the Nativity scene? Actually, they are reflected from City Hall, across the street. I don't know if City Hall put up their trees because of Baby Jesus. But it doesn't matter what they intended -- there they are, all the same.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Recent pictures

More pictures: these from around my house, plus two from the airport when I was going home for Thanksgiving.


Here are some pictures I took this past fall. This batch is from the day I went down to Christendom for Homecoming, and ended wandering around by the Shenandoah, looking for good pictures to take. I think I found a few! (I actually took over a hundred. But these are the best.)

I had to shrink them down a good bit to reduce their file size. The original pictures were very clear and vivid. I am so grateful to my grandpa for the camera that lets me take pictures like this. I am getting more and more into photography these days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ideas so far

I know a lot of people think obsessing over wedding dresses is silly. If you do, skip this post! Some people have asked, so I thought I'd post the ideas so far.

My maid-of-honor is going to be helping me sew the dress. Actually, she's doing all the work. I am "helping" in an "advisory" sense, i.e. making all the decisions. Somehow she is generous enough to be okay with this.

So, she and I have been pattern hunting, and here's the best of what we've turned up so far. Nothing's decided yet, but here's what we're thinking.

The dress: like the picture on the left, only --

with the sleeves from this dress . They will be out of a sheer fabric like in the picture, only not blue of course.

The veil. This one I am really sold on. I really like the drop veil style. The front part is pulled back over the head later on, and it's held on with a (presumably quite secure) hat pin. I am undecided as to whether a tiara would help or hinder that staying-on process, and also whether it would look good.
Thoughts? All right, girly conversation over. Anyone who's been scrolling quickly by with lots of eye-rolling can come back now.