Variations on a Theme: Gray

 “The fundamental gray which differentiates the masters, expresses them and is the soul of all colour.” -- Odilon Redon

 gray skies
gray snow scene

Tin Man that stays warm under the eaves
 a combination of gray images in the dark

Variations on a Theme: Red

"It can be a fascinating game, noticing how any person with vitality and vigor will have a little splash of red in a costume, in a room, or in a garden..." Edgar Cayce

Washington Sky

After a gray and cloudy day yesterday I was amazed at the bright beauty of today. I was so relieved I carried my camera as did a day of appointments in town. I followed the sun in the morning and caught images of it setting as I returned home.

Sibling Assignment #140: Images of Christmas

In our final sibling assignment of 2010, I gave this assignment:
"In only images portray Christmas from your point of view." You can find Raymond Pert's images with his new camera here and a beautiful slideshow by Silver Valley Girl here.

Here are my selection of images of Christmas 2010.It is all about gathering around the table.

click collage to view larger

Still Life In Winter

I love catching images of simple things in the snow. Enjoy!

 The honeysuckles in winter;their berries still stand out in the bleak surroundings.
 I love how our native grass looks in the snow.
 These remaining leaves have small icicles hanging from them.
Under the eaves the Tin Man is surrounded by lush green ivy not bothered by the snow.

Sibling Assignment # 139 "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas:"

I gave another holiday sibling assignment this week. " What movie most connects you to Christmas?" You can click here on my sister's post to see we think exactly alike on this assignment and RP will post soon.
Before viewers could tape shows, buy the movie, stream them into your computer, or have them mailed to your house you had one time in a Christmas season to see a favorite show. That was it. Somehow we always seemed to be home on the night "White Christmas" was on. We saw it many times. Dad and Grandma Woolum loved Bing Crosby and his connection to Spokane and Gonzaga. He was one of those " we are not worthy" actor/singers that Dad would have called " a class act". It helped that Dad enjoyed the actor, the song and the movie otherwise when the movie came on that one time we may have had to compete with Bonanza, Gunsmoke, or Dean Martin.
I remember waiting for it, seeing it together, singing "White Christmas" and "Sisters", and loving the plan with all the servicemen to come to the place in Vermont.

One year it must not have been so popular. I remember I was older and had come home for Christmas break. It was on really late at night. I was up by myself and enjoyed other parts of the movie like " Counting Your Blessings Instead of Sheep". I paid more attention to the relationships play out throughout the movie.

I had a VHS copy for years and began a tradition of watching it while baking Christmas treats. Now I own my own DVD so I can watch this movie anytime, anywhere. Somehow the magic of the show is not the same watching it alone in August at 10:00 in the morning.
I love viewing this movie close to Christmas with snow on the ground and a hot Christmas drink in my hand.

Here is post from the archives of my blog on White Christmas. I think it better get my copy out. I have snow, it is close to Christmas, and I could find a hot Christmas drink!

In The Bleak Mid-Winter with Christina Rossetti and James Taylor

First I read the words, then I heard the song,
then I enjoyed it all over again by James Taylor

A Christmas Carol
Christina Rossetti

In The bleak mid-winter
Frosty winds made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter,
Long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Sibling Assignment #138; "A Christmas Carol" Muppet Style

I gave the assignment again this week. What book or story most connects you to Christmas and why? I never read Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" in school. My only memory of the book was "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" in cartoon form. I was always annoyed with Mr. Magoo and wished he would just put his glasses on. I do remember being a bit scared of the ghosts in the cartoon.
When I began teaching middle school "A Christmas Carol" was written in a play format in our literature book. I read it for the first time. Students needed some background on what life was like in London during the time the play was written, but this play was key to introducing or emphasizing character traits and how a character changes through a story or play. I decided when I first taught this play I would analyze the different versions of the movie just to see how Scrooge was depicted in the different versions. It was a fun exercise in class right before Christmas break.
I was pleased when I began teaching middle school again at Inchelium that the same play was in the literature book. I have taught this play/book now for about fifteen years. I have seen Goofy as Jacob Marley, Kermit and Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, and Bill Murray as Scrooge ( I have not shown the last one in class). Each actor depicts each of the characters in a unique way.
I haven't seen the new version with Jim Carrey playing Scrooge and all the ghosts. We will watch it this week. I have to go out on a limb here though and say that my favorite version still is "Muppets Christmas Carol". There is nothing like Miss Piggy telling off Scrooge, Marley and Marley doing their song and dance routine, and Michael Caine pulling off Scrooge very effectively.
This story reminds me of what is important at Christmas. Students learn how a character can move from being a miser to feeling forgiveness and compassion for others. The quote that always stays with me is "It is required of every man," the ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death."- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens. Now this story connects me to Christmas.
Enjoy a favorite part of " The Muppets Christmas Carol" with me.

Silent Night, Snowy Night

 It was a silent night and very snowy night.
 It was a fun night to try night pictures with our small offering of outside lights.

No cats tonight to pounce down the walk. They are in keeping their paws warm!

Hello... My Name is William

I know I am not one of the cute kittens that gets top billing these days on the blog, but I wanted to reintroduce myself. My name is Sweet William. I have been told by TM that I am very handsome. During the summer I love hanging out on the old ladder that my mistress hangs the pots from in front of the garage. This time of year I sneak in the house after the dogs go to bed and sit patiently in my mistress's "office" until she is done on her computer. Then I jump up in her comfy chair and sleep until morning.
I have a sister Lily that likes to spend more time outside than inside. If she can though she loves staying in the greenhouse. Here she is a few weeks ago.
I try to get along with Kit, but he has his own ideas. I still don't quite know what to think of those kittens.

 By the way, I am not the cat that moved the ribbon, moved the gifts that were already wrapped, messed up the Christmas blanket or knocked over the lamp. I was safe and out of trouble. See... I just straightened up the blanket.

Now McDuff is my buddy. He needs a little support in his "older years" and I am always keeping an eye on him and the treats he gets! I better jump off this chair and get back on my cat perch. I think I hear IEG coming back.   Sweet William

Snow Scenes from Home

 Our snowman friend is now by the front door to greet guests.
 Another snowman brightens up the garage wall and a flag to welcome guests.
Kit hanging out in the snow!

My reflection as I try to capture photos of the plants through the greenhouse window.

I think the little fairies should have been put away, but I like them as snow angels.

Christmas Is In The Air

  Filling our home with the sights and smells of Christmas is the best part of December.I even found fresh flowers to match the decor. JEJ was part of the project today when it came to lights. Now I can sit back, sip a Christmas drink, listen to holiday music and enjoy the season.
Green and silver and white are ready to greet me at the door.
JEJ hung the snowflake lights in the greenhouse windows.

 We also decided to add lights again to the house this year. The new porch is perfect for colorful lights.

As the sun shines through the greenhouse window in the kitchen it picks up the red and green colors and adds light to the room.

Hello, My Name is Isabelle!

My name is Isabelle. I am The Queen Feline at the home of InlandEmpireGirl. I realize since the kittens have been here, I have had to take a back seat to pictures on the blog. Believe me  I am still alive, cute, smart, photogenic, and well. I was so pleased to see my mistress pulled a lovely photo of me out of the archives today for the banner on her blog. I made it my mission in life today to pose for some cute pictures. See how I did. I posed on top of the entertainment center hoping I would look just right in the sunlight.

 My mistress put a fabric box on the washer. I just jumped in it like I did as a kitten and posed. It worked. She went and grabbed her camera telling me how cute I was.
This isn't my best side, but I was teaching "one of those kittens" the skill of walking the fence. I am going to keep trying to get some more photo opportunities. Stay tuned for more beautiful pictures of yours truly.
Best regards,

Sibling Assignment #137: Friday Afternoon Art Projects at Sunnyside Elementary

I gave the sibling assignment this week. "Think of a Christmas memory tied to a school experience and why it has stayed with you." You will find Silver Valley Girl's memories of Chrsitmas programs here and Raymond Pert's will be posted when he finds time after making the Brett Favre scrapbook for his new grandson.

When I attended Sunnyside Elementary School in Kellogg teachers were known for the art projects they did in their classrooms. Whether the class projects were in the display case by the office, around the lunchroom, or hanging up in the classroom you had something to look forward to during December. I have mentioned many times that I was blessed with many talented and creative teachers in my elementary years. It was a tradition that we had art Friday afternoons after recess.  I am thinking teachers must have squeezed in more art time during the month of December.

Whether we sat for hours and rolled little balls out of crepe paper to make a tree, or used a paper punch to make white holes for a snowman... it was an art project that was memorable. Many of the ornaments we made are still part of the Christmas archives at Mom's house. If a creation made it home in one piece it was added to a collection of projects that grew as we moved through the grades. I also think Mom was inspired by our teachers' projects at Sunnyside and carried them to Silver King for her students to create.

The creation that always sticks in my mind is the paper mache ornament I made in Mrs. Meyer's room. I was in second grade. She led a project all by herself that involved blowing up balloons, using a hot plate to heat glue, cutting newspaper strips, tempera paint, glitter, and at least twenty-five second graders. She magically made it work. I don't remember anybody getting sent to Mr. Koepl's office for eating the hot paste, or for throwing glitter in another kid's eye.

This is what I do remember. With our own hands we covered a balloon with warm,wet newspaper strips that created a shell hard enough to make an ornament. They were big ornaments also. We were given the freedom to chose colors we wanted to use. We were also allowed to design our ornament how we wanted. Then we had the gift of glitter. Somehow also she helped us put yarn on it so it could hang on the tree.

The creativity of Mrs. Meyer has stayed with me. We carried that same project into Easter and made bunnies. She had us paint the United States flag, we cut out characters from are Scott Foresman basal and made a winter scene, and we tied poetry into art with our jars of canned goods made from paper and Handi Wrap.

I don't know how that classroom Christmas tree held all those ornaments, but each unique ornament was on that tree. She honored our creativity and uniqueness back in the day when art projects may have involved a pattern, some scissors, and twenty-five all looked alike.
I carried lessons learned in that second grade class to the many classrooms in my career. I never made paper mache ornaments, but I have worked to let the unique qualities of each student shine.

You can read a different slant on this same sibling assignment posted last year here.