Since we never got a new set of tiny lights for the bonsai, Laurie made an arrangement with candles and the candy she will be using in cookies for some decoration, lights and color. Tristan thought it looked like an altar to candy. Be that as it may, Laurie has baked some fantastic cookie,s so if her decorations please the gods of confectionary and the spirits of cookies, that makes it all the better.
Kat sang in the choir this morning, and asked me to photograph her in the choir robe. She looked great in the robe and the colors are very appropriate for the season.
Jerri made almost 100 copies of the recording of Handel’s Messiah performed on December 9th by the Chancel Choir with the NM Philharmonic Orchestra. I designed labels for the CDs and inserts for the jewel cases, and spent yesterday afternoon printing labels, stamping them on CDs, cutting inserts and stuffing the whole lot into jewel cases so Jerri could give them to the Chancel Choir before Christmas. Laurie and I listened to the recording this afternoon while cooking and working on photos, and it’s fantastic. The recording is raw, exactly as it was performed with no post-production editing, and it is really well balanced. the choir, soloists and orchestra sound animated and full of life. This was the first time Laurie had heard the choir outside of singing in it, and she was quite surprised, and thought the recording sounded better than the “professional” version we currently have (I had been telling her how good they sounded for weeks before the performance, and she just thought I was being nice. Me be nice? Like right!). After listening to the CDs I was really happy I took the time to put them together yesterday so the choir members could have this wonderful gift of music for Christmas, especially after all the hours and work they put in preparing for the performances. The quality of the performance also speaks for what a great director Jerri is. She takes anyone who wants to sing in the choir and gets amazing results out them.
We went to fabulous performance of Stella Nuova by Música Antigua de Albuquerque tonight.
Tristan and David had their annual Solstice party tonight where we all sat around waiting for the end of the world and then reflected on it — it didn’t happen — AGAIN! The end of the world and all that is getting to be a bit of a bore — Firefox, Cat’s yellow kitty, was mad about it, Gia thought she saw it, but was mistaken, and Firefox gave me an appropriate “Blah!” Cat celebrated, Gia consoled the kitty, then she peeked around the corner and gave me a nice smile. After having a lot of fun we all finally had to go on our merry ways until the end of the world comes again.
We were working out the lighting for the Christmas Eve services, and while I was practicing following people walking down the aisle, I photographed Jerri with camera in one hand while tracking her and manipulating the spotlight with the other hand. I guess all those “drive-by-photos” have honed my skills at taking photos while doing other things.
On Christmas Eve there will be three services at Central United Methodist Church with music and drama in the 8:00pm and 11:00 pm services — I’ll be manning one of the spotlights at those two service. I’m playing guitar for the first service at 1:00 pm, and the fact that I only have two arms that are each a little less than a yard in length, playing guitar at one end of the sanctuary and operating a spotlight from the balcony at the opposite end of the sanctuary stretches way beyond my ability to multitask, so whoever shows up for the 1:00 pm service with only get the added drama of listening to me improvise while the congregation lights their candles, then I’ll play accompaniment for “Silent Night,” which, by the way, was written for guitar.
A clarinet and xylophone duet played for St. Martin’s Hospitality Center’s Holiday Breakfast as part of the NM Philharmonic Orchestra’s gift of music for the homeless and disadvantaged members of the community. I was invited to drop by photograph them playing for the breakfast. The music was excellent, and the place was packed and swarming with activity. I managed to put together a panorama of the activity, but it was one of the most difficult panoramas I photographed and successfully stitched together because of the constant activity, the room configurations, and the extreme differences in lighting from on side of the building to the other. But I think the resulting photo show the activity and how many people St Martin’s was feeding this morning. St. Martin’s is just one of a handful of shelters and churches that feed and clothe the homeless and other people who need help in the Albuquerque area.
A storm rolled through today, dropping the temperature signficantly. The Sandias were mostly covered in clouds this morning, while the clouds were breaking up to the north over the Jemez. By noon, when I photographed the 1959 Pontiac Catalina parked on the street, the clouds had been cleared out by a cold, biting wind.
After falling in trenches in the dark and tripping over piles dirt for the past three weeks, PNM finally connected power to the new pole Hammack Electric set for our electrical service upgrade, and installed a new meter on the pole. That allowed them to remove the meter from the well and disconnect the power lines to the pole at the well, as well. So the first phase is done, which moved the meter from the well to the new service pole. The next phase will be connecting the house to the sub-panel Hammack installed on the west side of the house, and then we can have the power disconnected from the pole that currently feeds the house, have all the overhead power lines to the house removed, and take down two power poles. In the end we will have consolidated two electrical services into one, and provided enough power for a new HVAC system, which needs more power than we had, requiring the service upgrade. Hammack won’t be able to connect the house to the new service until January, so we will now wait until late spring or early summer before we have the new HVAC installed. We started on the service upgrade back in September, but figuring out how best to do the upgrade and getting all the permits took until the end of November. Hammack set the new pole the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, then dug tenches to the well and sub-panel, ran the wires, the following Tuesday, but the had to leave the trenches open for the inspectors, and PNM. Now that the new service is on-line, and the trenches are filled in, we should be able to walk to and from the cars without twisting our ankles or getting our shoes full of dirt. However, Laurie said that having gotten used to negotiating trenches and piles of dirt, she twisted her ankle and got her shoes full of dirt on the freshly backfilled trenches tonight.
One my way home tonight, I noticed a car dealer had the emergency flashers blinking on alternating cars on the lot. I suppose it is was supposed to be festive looking, but I was just trying to get by it before it sent other drivers into epileptic seizures. The old uncovered, covered wagon with lights on it is much more creative and festive. The traffic was as thick as molasses tonight, unlike the morning traffic which was surprisingly light when I photographed the hazy mountains. Speaking of molasses, Laurie said she couldn’t find any in Walmart, and when she went to ask the floor clerk, the clerk was deaf, and Laurie didn’t know how to “sign” molasses. I told her I thought that making a rodent face and pointing at her butt might have sufficed to get the idea, but alas, neither mole asses or molasses were to be had. Stretch was in a state of disbelief when he heard they didn’t have mole asses as he thought they would go well in his idea for almond, watermelon cookies — Stretch is quite the gourmet for a cat. While on the subject of cat food, I can understand that flavors like chicken and gourmet beef, seafood, etc. are cat foods that people can stomach buying; but I really think they should make cat food in rodent, bird and reptile flavors, flavors that cats would really go for. The cat food makers could get clever and give the cat food names that people could deal with more easily like Mole Ass Mole, Rotisserie Robin, Mouse Mousse, Rodent Ratatouille, Lizard Linguise and so on. Back to the molasses melodrama, Laurie found some organic molasses on the way home tonight that Stretch is happy with, and the almond, watermelon cookies look cute with the little tails sticking out.
This cowboy, lighted and leaning against a post is a nice symbol for an easy going holiday season.