and it actually looks like it will be a "White Christmas" this year!
My sister called a bit ago and despite the "black ice" on the two-lane last night my nephew made it home for his birthday (today) and Christmas. He won't be around to celebrate mine on Monday as he has to work on Saturday, but given the current job market, there are worse things than having to work on Saturday when you're 22!
We finished the wrapping last night, me stoned on pain-killers and muscle relaxers doing the "easy" packages and Dottie doing the ones you had to "think about". She is at work now but when she is done this evening she is off until next Tuesday. Most years I end up making my own birthday cake (except for the year I bought one at Costco) and fixing dinner. Perhaps this year I won't!
Tomorrow we'll go to the nursing home to take my Mom presents in the morning, then go to John's house to have Christmas with the grandkids. Bill is flying in from D.C. as we speak and this year my sister is coming with her family as well because Brett has to leave on Friday to go back to work, so there won't be a chance for the "family" Christmas party later.
New Year's Eve will be a combination New Year's/November-December birthday party at my sister's. Dottie works the next day, but said not to worry about it, because New Year's Day is actually rather quiet at the nursing home. I don't know whether that would have more to do with New Year's Eve or football, but I think I should just be happy for her!
As we speak I'm waiting on UPS to deliver what we're calling our Christmas to each other; a new flatbed scanner. The one I have is "Ok" but doesn't do exceptionally well dealing with anything but a "good" print. The few slides I scanned with it in the early days of this blog I was less than happy with the results.
I have every negative that Dad and I shot back to 1967, and slides back to 1950. He and I both shot a lot of larger format film (2.25 square, 6x7cm, 4x5; Dad even had an 8x10 view camera and I have transparencies he shot with it). This new Epson will scan all of those formats and has the "good" digital enhancement software with it for scratches and such. I've needed to sort through them all and cull the "unimportant" stuff and digitize the others for "posterity". Next will be breaking them into the right size packages to "burn" to disc and filling a file cabinet with hanging sleeves!
The 20% we saved on the scanner I selfishly spent on an "infrared" Hoya R-72 filter that had been on my wishlist for 4 or 5 years now, along with a stepdown ring to fit it to the telephoto as well as the normal lens of my Nikon. At almost $90 for the filter I really didn't want to buy two; the step down was less than $10. It will also let me put the "cross-star" filter I bought before Bill's wedding on the telephoto, since I hadn't thought about "not being able to" before and since I didn't get to use it at the wedding (I planned on a "starry-eyed" bride and groom shot that I was told wouldn't "look right") perhaps some icicles will find their way in front of it.
So, as the sun starts to drop behind the hill to the south and I start to contemplate dinner, I wanted to take a chance to wish each of you the Merriest of Christmases and to hope that tomorrow finds you close to someone you love, be it family, spouses, lovers or friends!
Under my "Christmas tree of life", you have each been a gift richly appreciated!