Thankful for friends and family

I never got the carving gene.

This was my first Thanksgiving meal of the year, celebrated earlier in the week to accommodate schedules. Friends invited me over to join their family and take in a whole lot of food that was high in the best kinds of calories.

Now I’m getting ready to head out the door on this, the actual Thanksgiving, pick up my mom, and head up to Dayton to visit some of her friends for the holiday meal.

I love how variable this day has become over the years, mixing folks, moving around and of course, all the different food.

And aside from all the greeting card schmaltz attached to such days, I really am thankful underneath my knitted brow and behind every click of the camera’s shutter.

For family and friends.
Bending elbows and loosening belts after a good meal.
Fires in the belly and those that keep the room toasty.
Experiments and failures, successes and potential.
Laughter. Forgiveness. The good tears that wipe away right quick.
For growing and changing, honing and refining.
Making life to be more full of the good stuff.
And of course, dessert.

To make worthwhile

I’m breaking a rule and jumping ahead a few posts to cover today’s visit with the oncologist.

In short, though I’m 20 pounds lighter, my doctor was very pleased to reveal that I’m doing great.

No treatment this time around. He even expressed a bit of amazement that I’m still hanging in there some 14 years after my initial diagnosis without intervention.

I did have to visit the “Treatment Suite” (pictured above) to get a flu shot after my appointment.

Met a fine fellow from West Virginia who was undergoing chemotherapy. We had a heavy but nice conversation about life and death, and splitting logs.

I recalled my dad once invented and built a log-splitter that had a double-headed wedge so it could cut both to and fro, eliminating any wait for the blade to return to cutting position.

Industrious man, my father.

And though bittersweet to share this in a place where we spent so much time together in the end, (he passed away in 2004 from cancer), it was good to evoke his spirit and feel him present.

Now I don’t wax often about what happens beyond this life, but I like to think our spirit lives largely in the stories and memories shared after we walk our last steps.

And if I’m wrong? I suppose it’s no matter.

But it’s a mindset that makes the journey, the moments, all the more important to make worthwhile.

I’m fortunate either way.

An 8-bit birthday

My friend’s have a insanely busy schedule and their youngest son didn’t get a proper birthday party. (Don’t fret, there was a celebration, but it was just amongst family.)

So when a free weekend finally emerged some months later, he wanted to have a shindig at Arcade Legacy in Cincinnati. And though I was a curmudgeon about the delay, who’s to deny a young lad a celebration. (And I can’t lie, I love videogames too.)

Wendy made the awesome cookies above (his favorite games are currently Pac-Man and Dig Dug). They not only looked good, they tasted really, really, good.

Anyway, the afternoon was a fun slice with lots of classic games, pinball, and even some Rock Band. So yeah, it wasn’t totally 8-bit, but it was good times.

This last photo is from Wendy.
We’re attempting to figure out Pac-Man Party.

Santa at the Tri-County Mall

Still prefer this tilt-shifted shot of Santa from the Dayton Mall from 2008. Even though, yes, maybe I was over tilt-shifting. And making photos look old-timey.

Which makes me wonder how I’d like to approach 2011 with some new photo challenge, you know, to keep it spicy and interesting for my short attention span.

  • A year of black and white? (I’d miss the color.)
  • Shooting with film? (I’d go postal from the wait.)
  • Widescreen aspect ratio? (Has legs, but consistency across years would win over.)
  • No post-processing at all? (That’d be dreamy, but hard.)

Hmmm. Things to consider.

Original “old timey” edit of the photo from 2010:

Santa at the Tri-County Mall

Super dooper foggy

If you were in Cincinnati on Saturday morning, you couldn’t miss the fog. It was pervasive and thick.

When I groggily stepped to the bathroom that a.m., I thought it had snowed— the light coming through the blinds was intensely filtered and white.

Debut

Kristin, Jeff and Joel perform for the first time together with an audience during Bre’s birthday celebration.

I’d like to mention that I gained 5 pounds from hanging around the dessert table too long.

Down to Kentucky

Maybe I should look into being a truck driver, because I really do enjoy being on the road.

This trip was a quick one: down to Cumberland Kentucky to help friends get an old family condo back into working order.

Step one was de-cluttering, step two was hooking up the internet.

Hangers on

In this IKEA West Chester parking lot, the trees hold on to their leaves into the cool months.

Red white and blue

The only thing that would make this more American is if there was a Chevy in the mix.

Appointment

Yearly checkup.
Not born from concern, just regularly scheduled diagnostics.
I’ll find out results next Monday.

Entryway

Folks sometimes wonder when meeting me, “Where do you live?”

They see glimpses of our studio, or snapshots from all over tarnation, and a big heaping of the midwest.

It gets confusing.

I live in Cincinnati. (In fact, I’ve been in Ohio my entire life.)

Moved to this joint a little over a year ago after living in Dayton for a piece.

It’s not perfect. The walls are too thin, neighbors too noisy, and drafts hard to stop. But I was drawn to the space and the light.

And though the calendar has flipped, there are still pictures to hang. I’ve only started to put away the haphazard stacks of things in the closets. Each attempt is an overwhelming exercise in “Do I really need this (thing)?”

I usually end up with a pile for the thrift store (which eventually gets there),
and a pile for eBay or Craigslist (which gets shoved back in a corner for another day).