Sunday, August 13, 2017

Meet The Goths - A Family Pictoral

While I had my trusty borrowed camera out and at the ready the whole time the Gothic interlude took place, things were so busy that I really didn't take that many pictures. However, I did get a number of pictures of various members of the Gothic invasion.

Study of Gothic Cousins 
2.4, 3.1 and 3.2 bonding over a 'screen'

The 'Tweener' Goths
Cousins 1.1 and 2.2, both 12 years old showing their 'Tweens against the world attitude

And yet the Tweens were a big hit with their younger cousins

Study of Gothic Sons-in-Law
1A working the decorations for #2's party
3A working decorations with 3.1

Granddaughter 2.1 at 18 a young adult doing decorations as well

Wife, Lady of the Tower, with gifts of hand crocheted scarves to assuage the Gothic hordes

Study of the Gothic Daughters
These be Wife and mine



Saturday, August 12, 2017


What's the best way to pull of a surprise birthday party?

I'd say do it on a day that is months from someone's actual birthday.

That is exactly what the Gothic Clan de-I did for me this week. We went to the house we are renting for children for dinner as I was told that I had cooked enough for everyone. They were just going to buy pizza which was fine by me. Daughter #3 who is staying at our house, went over to the other house with her kids early saying she wanted to hang out with her sisters. I said we could come over too to hang out but was told, "no I would just end up chipping in on the work and that would defeat the purpose of having dinner at the other house."

This was all BS for upon my arrival, there were the shouts of "Surprise!" and all the decorations of a birthday party. As my birthday isn't until December, I naturally still was clueless as to what was happening. It took the daughters and Wife explaining that since this was the only practical time to get all the family together, and since this December would mark my 70th year of not getting myself killed by doing something stupid, that they would do it now. This evidently took massive negotiation and discussion over months and months, changing of plans, and nearly cause a breakdown in the whole family, just to pull this off. Kind of makes one pretty F-ing humble that folks would go to such work for you (insert tear dropping here).

We had a lovely evening topped off by son-in-law 1A doing DJ honors pulling up on his Spotify account and playing over his portable speaker all my favorite heavy metal/hard rock hits from the late 60's and early 70's (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, The Who, Led Zepplin for those who are interested).

But best of all was the gift, a book produced under the leadership of #1 that contained personal input from the entire family, from deep long essays by Wife, the daughters, and the sons-in-law to pictures with parental comments from the 3-year olds. What made this so especially nice was the historical perspective it gave me of my own life.

We tend to think of ourselves as a picture...a set piece...with the most recent picture as the dominant impression of who we are. But reading all these impressions from others who talked about how I'd interacted and influenced them over their lives put my life into a different perspective all together...not as the picture but as the story with all the chapters included. It was very beautiful and I'm very grateful.

Thank you family.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

End Of The Goths - Almost

We only have a couple of more days with the clan before everyone starts going their separate ways. It seemed like it was going to be such a long time and now it has just flown by. I think without a doubt this is the mellowest family get together we've ever had. I think part of it is having the extra rental house that allows for some needed separation but is close enough that the older children can walk on their own back and forth. I think everyone has changed and mellowed out. I think just having the children on average being older takes stress out of the system. We've had a lot of great time just hanging out with each other. I had meant to make many posts during this last two weeks but we tend to be going fairly late in the evening and (in all honesty) have been drinking just a tad.

So here are some of the highlights.

Seeing the stars - We went with the #3 clan north about 3 hours to Abiquiu where they had rented a house that they specifically researched so we could do stargazing. Hadn't seen skies like this for many, many a year. Wife and 3A had a great time trying out there night sky photographic technique.

Sharing good wine - There aren't a whole lot of folks that I ask over if it is a particularly good bottle of wine. Daughter #3 and son-in-law 2B are on the list. I had a fine Bordeaux that I had been gifted and added a 1998 Hermitage then had an adults only meal with the #2's and #3's. Great wine, company, and food.

Cooking both expansive and under control - I struck a good balance by doing a lot of cooking for the first three days we were all together then having enough leftover that it took care of a number of days afterward.

Surprise party for #2 - She is turning 40 later this month and we were successful and completely surprising her.

Success with the smoker and the new grill - I will have to do a separate post just on the new grill I have had fabricated for us. Let me just say it is a marvel of non-moving part flexibility and delivers a superior grilled product with tons of flavor especially when using real charcoal and not briquets. And I have got the process of making spare ribs down to a science on the smoker.

The ultimate family picture - Finally, finally we got everyone in the picture. Even though there were a few potential holdouts, all made it into the shot.

I haven't been terribly diligent about taking pictures but here are some from the beginning.

Some pictures from early on during the invasion

Cousins Bonding Over Thomas the Train

My super, cosmic, custom made, charcoal grill
Still learning how to best use it but some great results so far

View from the rental overlooking Abiquiu Lake

#3 showing 3.2 how to 'take in the view'
Wife studying up for the evening night star shoot
The #3 clan
A study of the many phases of #3

3.1 in intent listening mode
The 'Wild' 3.2

And the 'hip' 3.2
Abiquiu was first set up in the mid 1700's and was a classic representation of New World Spanish Square town planning
The Santos Tomas El Apostol church named for  Saint Thomas the Apostle when he was hiding under a Spanish disguise.

Abiquiu hit it big in the late 19th/early 20th centuries when it was a center for the international pinon nut trade. Then the great pinon nut crash of 1924 came and nearly wiped out the town. All that is left are the sad memories of the golden days.