Tuesday, December 25, 2018


As is our custom, we went to Mom and Dad's house (or Granny and Pa's, depending on who's describing it) for Christmas Eve, where we had our big supper, let the girls open one present, and started our traditional Christmas Eve jigsaw puzzle. Somewhere around nine o'clock we went home and managed to sleep for a very brief time before Elyse woke us up at 5:12 to see what Santa had brought. A little later went back to Mom and Dad's house for breakfast and to open Christmas presents.

Friday, December 21, 2018


Anna's in heaven--a book in her hand and two cats in her lap:

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Some Pictures from Today

This afternoon I went to Elyse's class holiday party; here are a couple of the bazillion pictures I took:

Elyse came home with me after the party, so she got home about two hours earlier than usual. She wanted to watch White Christmas (which we've already seen once this season), and so we are; it's on the TV as I write this. But, like most kids of her generation, she can't just sit and watch a movie; as often as not her attention is on something else. Here she is with her tablet and the cats:

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


This afternoon we went back to the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter to pick up our second kitty, Nosfurratu. She was not as nervous when we first got her home as Hale-Bopp was a couple of days before; Nosfurratu was ready right away to be petted and loved, and also to play:

She did venture upstairs, but Hale-Bopp was not very happy to see her, so we're going to keep her downstairs for a few days. We're sure that after a few days, Hale-Bopp and Nosfurratu will get along just fine--or at least tolerate each other.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Kitty Hale-Bopp

Today, after a month of having no cats living with us, we went to the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter to bring home some new feline companions. It's hard--even heartbreaking--to try to pick out a pair of favorites out of so many available cats, especially when you know so many have to be left behind. Fortunately, seeing how busy the animal shelter was this morning, with many of the visitors there also to get cats, made it a little easier, for me at least.

The first cat we were drawn to was an eleven-month old orange tabby whose information named her Mistletoe. She came home with us today, but her name in our house is Hale-Bopp (named by our still-astronomically-minded Elyse after Comet Hale-Bopp, which she wasn't around to see in 1997, but which she has read about and thinks is really cool).

Hale-Bopp (whom Elyse says we can call Haley, since she's a girl) is very sweet and loves attention, and also loves to play. She was nervous at first when we brought her home, understandably, but she never seemed scared of us and never showed any aggression, and it didn't take long before she was wanting attention from all of us. She spent a lot of time exploring downstairs, and seemed more nervous about her new surroundings than about her new family. Much to Elyse's consternation, it took several hours before she was comfortable enough in our house to go upstairs. However, as I type this at 11:00pm, she's upstairs sleeping on the bed with Anna.

Here she is getting her bearings in our house, playing with Elyse, and settling down to read with Anna:

Jessica was also downstairs with us some of this time, but she really prefers to be upstairs, so I didn't get any pictures of her.

And speaking of Jessica, the cat she gets to name can't come home to live with us until Tuesday, after her waiting period is over and she is spayed. Her name, when she comes to live with us, will be Nosfurratu, named after the famous 1922 German Expressionist horror movie Nosferatu. (Also, in Daniel Pinkwater's great novel The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, the audio book of which Jessica and I listened to a while ago, the narrator has a parakeet named Nosferatu; that, and having recently gone through my copy of Great Monsters of the Movies, are, I'm pretty sure where she got the idea of using that name.)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Journey to Bethlehem

Tonight Elyse and I went to Snellville United Methodist Church to go on their Journey to Bethlehem, a sort of hybrid between a Christmas pageant and a live Nativity. I didn't get any pictures along the journey--it was a little dark, and it seemed inappropriate when you're in a group of eight people heading to Bethlehem and hiding from Roman soldiers and trying to avoid paying your taxes and also encountering Mary and Joseph (and a real donkey) as well as the occasional Angel of the Lord along the way, to whip out the ol' cell phone--but here are some of Elyse messing around with the Selfie Station in the gym/waiting area, and also the two of us waiting, and also the gym:

Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas Tree!

Tonight we put up our new Christmas tree!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Elyse and Santa at Lowes

It must really be Christmastime! Anna texted me this picture this afternoon from Lowe's:

Friday, November 23, 2018

Anna and Jessica Return from Minnesota

This afternoon I went to the airport to pick up Anna and Jessica. I texted Elyse this picture of me by the baggage return carousel around 2:45:

It was wonderful to see them after several days away! They had a good time visiting family in Minnesota, but were glad to be home.

Here are some pictures Anna (or in some cases Jessica, using her mommy's phone) texted me during their stay:

(The quality of some of the texted pictures is not great; I think some of their pixels fall off as they fly through the air from Minnesota to Georgia. But they give a good impression of what Anna and Jessica were up to while they were there, even if you can't always make out many details.)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

I sent these pictures to Anna and Jessica from Granny and Pa's house:

(Elyse made the card.) 

(This is the pumpkin pie Elyse and I brought, in case you were wondering, though there was also a sweet potato pie for those who prefer it, like Pa.)

For whatever it's worth, this year Thanksgiving was the earliest it could possibly be. Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, which is also usually the last Thursday in November, but this year the month started on a Thursday, so there's a whole 'nother week of November following Thanksgiving, including a rare fifth Thursday. I'm pleased with this accident of the calendar; it makes the Christmas Season seem extra long this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Stone Mountain Night Pictures

Tonight, the second night that Anna and Jessica are away in Minnesota for Thanksgiving, Elyse and I went to Stone Mountain to do some star gazing and to visit the Stone Mountain Christmas.

First we went to the walk-up trail, hoping that would be a dark enough area to allow us to see the stars.

Elyse thought it was really cool that she could draw in the air with her flashlight during the long exposures my Canon made. Here she is drawing a star:

and a smiley face:

and spelling the word "pizza" (we had just had supper at Stevi B's):

(I had to flip this one horizontally, because she spelled it from her perspective, which made it backwards when you're facing her.)

Here are some of the star pictures I took:

Here's a picture facing the direction of the airport, which is a good 50 miles away. This is an eight-second exposure; the streaks in the middle of the frame were made by five airplanes that had recently taken off; they represent eight seconds of the planes' flight paths:

Next we went to the Crossroads area, to take in some nighttime Stone Mountain Christmas:

(You can't tell from these pictures, which make it look like we had the whole place to ourselves, but there were a lot of people there.)

The dinosaurs from the recently-ended Dinosaur Explore exhibition haven't been removed yet, they've just been dressed up for the season: