Monday, December 31, 2012

12-31-12 Post 1231 to close out 2012

2012 in Review

The rules were for every day that I had taken a picture, I had to include at least one picture from that folder, but I could add more than one. It turned out to be more than a photo a day.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12-30-12 The Baker's Dozen & Robert Brault Encouragements for 2013

It's the eve of the eve of a New Year, and I've already started thinking about 2013 as my Baker's Dozen Year.

The baker's dozen, as most people know, is 13. What most people don't know is the origin of the phrase, but this plays into the way I'm approaching the coming year, too. 

It's a phrase that you can trace back in written literature at least 500 years, and it refers originally to the fear of being penalized for cheating. Even older is the law that led to this fear, closer to a thousand years back,during Henry II's reign. Then, the price of bread was tied to the price of wheat. If you got caught selling "light" bread in a dozen loaves, you were fined. So, just to be safe, bakers would typically throw a thirteenth loaf into the dozen, just one more, just to be sure they came up to measure.

So for 2013, the hope is that in everything I do, I give it the baker's dozen, a little more, in every way: an extra kind word, an extra mile, an extra push.

And an extra book. 

I hope to have a list of 13 amazing books by the end of the year, at least one a month, plus one.

I can't do that for 2012, because I let my reading slide, at least until late into the fall. No more of that.

But in 2012 Sammi and I could both put one book at the top of our favorites list, A Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, the title of which is taken from a line from Julius Caesar:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

In that book, one set of parents have a bit of an obsession for what their son, Gus, describes as "encouragements." When Hazel, the narrator, comes over to his house for the first time:

I followed him inside. A wooden plaque in the entryway was engraved in cursive with the words Home is Where the Heart Is, and the entire house turned out to be festooned in such observations. Good Friends are Hard to Find and Impossible to Forget read an illustration above the coat rack. True Love is Born from Hard Times promised a needlepointed pillow in their antique-furnished living room. Augustus saw me reading. "My parents call them Encouragements," he explained. "They're everywhere." . . . .

I sat on the couch for a while as Augustus searched for his keys. His mom sat down next to me and said, "I just love this one, don't you?" I guess I had been looking toward the Encouragement above the TV, a drawing of an angel with the caption Without Pain, How Could We Know Joy?

(This is an old argument in the field of Thinking About Suffering, and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries, but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way affect the taste of chocolate.) "Yes," I said. "A lovely thought."


When I unwrapped a large wall hanging as a Christmas present from my mother-in-law, which was was a very pretty design, and I read the script text saying "Live Simply. Laugh Often" I looked across the room at Sam and mouthed, "It's an Encouragement!" (and we laughed often). 

And so, here at the end of this year, I can laughingly offer a dozen favorite 2012 encouragements from one of my favorite Encouragement writers, Robert Brault, who seems to have the output of a modern day Ben Franklin in his quipy observations.

1. I count myself lucky, having long ago won a lottery paid to me in seven sunrises a week for life.

2. There comes a point in a relationship when you realize you trust someone enough to let them keep their secrets.

3. No one who tells you you need to calm down has ever actually seen you when you needed to calm down.

4. I like friends who, when you tell them you need a moment alone, know enough not to stray too far.

5. Inner beauty, too, needs occasionally to be told it is beautiful.

6. Sometimes you believe a thing that isn't true because in the world you wish to live in, it would be true.

7. I am not the hopeful person I once was, but we try to stay in touch.

8. Love is that rare attraction to someone that can survive getting to know them.

9. Sometimes it is just the right degree of separation that makes the most lasting bond.

10. It is not necessary to be strong in every place if in the place you are vulnerable, you are loved.

11. You know you have found love when you can't find your way back.

12. A best friend is someone who never disturbs your solitude, but won't let your loneliness have a moment alone.

13. Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12-29-12 Saturday's Wanderings

The Arkansas River 

Still the river!

Big horns out for breakfast

taken from my warm, comfy spot at the Sidewinder Saloon

homemade jalapeno poppers

the ski-tini

the Peppermint Patty

D with her gear

This is IN the parking lot. 

This is where we stopped on the way to Monarch for a breakfast burrito. Any place housed in a "Furnishings" building is enough of a hole in the wall to guarantee good chorizo 
(or food poisoning. It's a crap shoot.)

fluke picture. I was having issues with the camera and shot this without looking. Normally the power lines would have made it destined for the delete pile, but the crazy appearance of Texas  (no idea what's on the rest of the arch) made me keep it.

the lights of Manitou

Our favorite spot. Dinner was last night. This was just a drive by.

getting goodbye Lola kisses

the last full moon picture of 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12-26-12 Les Mis with Sammi

Sammi has been chomping at the bit for weeks to go see the film version of Les Misérables, listening to the soundtrack, watching clips online, and generally salivating over the prospect of this Broadway musical on the big screen. 

It opened yesterday.

When Nick came home and heard us talking about going on Christmas afternoon, he said he wanted to come with. We looked at him a little strangely but said he was welcome. It was a few days later that he discovered this film with Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman was, in fact, a musical. It's only one of the longest running, most decorated musicals in theater history, in fact. But he's also infatuated with a few too many Taylor Swift songs, if that tells you anything. 

So yesterday Sammi and I went, alone, as it should be, to catch the 4:30 show. Except, when we arrived at 3:30, it was already sold out. The parking lot was packed (and icy) and we did the best we could by purchasing the next time slot, at 7:00, and returning home, but only for a little while, since we now knew there would be an even better chance the 7:00 would be packed out as well. We returned at 5:45 to find the line for our show about 70 people deep. Sam and I, thanks to Christmas, could read different books on our Kindles while we sat on line until 6:30. 

We still managed center seats in our favorite spot, about 7 rows up from the division between the lower and upper sections, and I made certain not to drink anything, which meant I did not have to climb over the 20 people to the left and right of us at any point during the three hours and 49 songs.

Yes, Nick. 49 Songs. You dodged a bullet.

I really tried to bite my tongue, at least for the first half of the film, for Sammi's sake. But geez louise, talk about overkill. It's as though the director (Tom Hooper) was so horrified that the audience might miss out on the MEANING of THINGS he could not stop himself from hitting us all over the head with the baseball bat of SYMBOLISM. I suppose at the bottom of this, I just don't like being treated as though I am stupid. I prefer a bit of subtlety and finesse and, yes, as films go, that's probably a bit much to ask of a Broadway musical based on a Victor Hugo novel. It became a bit of a drinking game: how many ways did Hooper infuse the scene with overt symbolism. Had I any liquor to use, Sam would have been driving us home after the first scene.

In ascending order of the three big names:
Russell Crowe -- kudos for trying, but painful in a number of places
Hugh Jackman -- serviceable, quite impressive in spots, straining in others
Anne Hathaway -- Wow. The only problem is Fantine dies really early in the film and doesn't come back until the final scene. 

Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter steal the show and chew up the scenery as the Thénardiers, and of the three in the love triangle, I most enjoyed Samantha Barks as Éponine, although her phrasing in places was decidedly more pop sounding than anyone else's. 

Ten year old Isabelle Allen is adorable as the wide-eyed young Cossette, but it was young Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche that I was most taken with. I must not be the only one. IMDB is showing him, a complete unknown, now in their top 5000. 

Sam asked what songs I liked best and, of course, "I Dreamed a Dream" is always a winner. But let's not leave out the huge "One More Day" and the swelling closer "Do You Hear the People Sing" off that list. And I can't be the only one in the theater who thought of Newtown as Marius wept through "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." 

And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

12-25-12 Christmas 2012

How cool is this? This is post 1225.

Sam's haul this year included a handmade Tardis and Loki doll, and lots of art stuff

Nick & Stuff (broncos tickets, Xbox games, Pirate hoodie, Batman lava lamp, etc)

Bob and Stuff

Tori and Stuff

The second in the Christmas series Samantha drew for my gift. Last year was Peanuts. 
This year, she's Calvin and I'm Hobbes.

And I love my new guitar strap. Did I pick it out? Mayyyyybe.