Thursday, December 31, 2009

Short Pump & Tuckahoe, Virginia
New Year's Eve
Short Pump

It seems fitting for Sadie to begin the last post of the year, she has appeared on this blog so many times.  It's my birthday and Sadie seems to sense something. She has shadowed me all day.


Texas de Brazil is a great place for a birthday celebration. Sam, left, Farris, center, and Alison, right, reflected in a mirror in the reception area of the restaurant await seating.

At Texas de Brazil waiters wander with hot skewers of meat — chicken, lamb, pork, sirloin, flank and filet mignon — carving off portions as they pass by. Sam samples flank steak, which was the favorite of the evening.

When you've eaten enough, you turn the token next to your plate from green to red. The tablecloth bears evidence of an exuberance evening.

Short Pump
Copperas Creek

Chef Farris, foreground, promises a special dessert for my birthday ...

... and delivers a delicious puff pastry with homemade chocolate pudding, fresh whipped cream and strawberries.

Midnight — the beginning of a new year, new decade — left to right: Farris, Sam, Dianne, Alison and Jenine celebrate the clock striking midnight.

Jenine made it past midnight, a worthy goal for a seven-year-old.
Photographs taken with a Leica M8

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Short Pump, Virginia
Daily Grind

It almost seems a cliche to take a photograph of Jenine in a hat. But here she is in another hat, once again striking a stunning pose.

Whole Foods

The master pizza maker at Whole Foods Grocery, Short Pump. We bought one of his pies for dinner tonight ...

Copperas Creek

... Dianne, right, declares it the best four-cheese pizza she has ever had. Toby, left, and Sadie, center, would give anything to confirm her opinion. (Moments after this photo was taken Sadie grabbed half-eaten piece out of my hand. While not commenting, she wanted more.)
Photographs taken with a Leica M8

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Short Pump, Virginia

Ken, left, and Barb, right, up from the "Rivah" for a little shopping and lunch at Emlio's, a great little Spanish place new to our area ...

... which includes tapas highlighted by flaming choriso and Paella de Mariscos ... 

... and a chance for Ken, right, and I — two old bulls — to reminisce a few days before my birthday. Some our best assignments as journalists have been together.*
*Photographed with an Apple iPhone by guest blogger Barbara

Daily Grind

Checking in with life at the Grind after being gone 10 days. Farris received a book on magic this Christmas. Today he put on a mustache to go with the book and later ...

... showed us a trick. The cards fly out in spectacular fashion, but just end up scattered across the floor. As a trick it needs a little work and has a ways to go. 

Jenine is always a force to reckon with. It's surprising how intimating a string and a borrowed hat can be in her hands.

Jenine is still practicing Sherianne's "wither" look. For comparison with the master, see ...

... Sherianne, right, throwing one on Christmas Day. Mind you, on a scale of ten — ten being the most devastating — the one above is a three!
Most photographs taken with a Leica M8

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bristol, Tennessee to Richmond, Virginia
Abington, Virginia

We find an interesting, independent coffee shop for breakfast. Zazzy'z is located on Abington's Main Street. As well as good coffee and breakfast goodies ... 

... it features art by local artists ....

... and is a bookstore.

It's worth the stop if you are ever in the Abington area.

Short Pump
Daily Grind

Almost home! Jenine, left, and Dianne, right, fill each other in on their respective Christmas holidays at the Daily Grind ... another great coffee shop with good things to eat, work by local artists and a lending library. Is there a theme here?

Copperas Creek

This time of year leaves are gone from the trees and we can see the lights of our backyard neighbors. Usually they are  house lights, but during the holidays there is always a Christmas tree glimpsed through the trees.
Photographed with a Leica M8

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Memphis, Tennessee to Bristol, Virginia
Cookville, Tennessee

Sign in a fastfood restaurant outside Cookeville. Just north of here is a community called Bangham Heights. It is named for a some-many greats uncle who moved here following the American Revolution in the late 18th century. 

Deep Springs, Tennessee

Golden light at the end of day north of Knoxville, Tennessee. the Great Smoky Mountains are in the distance.

Mohawk Crossroads, Tennessee

Sunset reflected off the rear doors of the a truck traveling north on Interstate 81 north of Knoxville, Tennessee. I preset my camera for these road shots, just raise and fire. I don't even look through the rangefinder.
Photographs taken with a Leica M8

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Memphis, Tennessee

Guinness, foreground, and Chi-Chi, rear, settle for the last night of our Harry Potter marathon. By the end of the evening we will have watched all the Potter films that have been released to date during our week here. The dogs are so patient.

One last look at this year's Christmas tree and it's canted top.
Photographed with a Leica M8

Friday, December 25, 2009

Memphis, Tennessee

When there is an eight-year-old in the house, Christmas morning begins early. There are presents to open and explore. Soon Max fills the air with sounds from a steel drum.

It's not just Max who is excited. Dianne reacts with surprise to her Kindle electronic reader.

Every boy needs a go at a skateboard.

Daughter Sherianne and son-in-law Casey arrive to join in the exchange of presents.

Max, left, daughter Shannon, center, and son-in-law Brian,right, amidst the carnage of Christmas. Wrapping paper threatens to fill the room.

We are not sure what to call this, but it is a breakfast tradition: a fresh-baked pastry filled with cheese and fruit preserves.

After breakfast Sherianne, left, Shannon, middle, and Dianne, right, work on another Christmas tradition, a 1,000-piece puzzle, while ...

... in another room another what I am sure begins another tradition. It has been a Wii Christmas with Wii Fit, Wii Games and Wii Sports.

Dianne, center, passes some of her crafts along to her daughters. Shannon, left, learns crochet while Sherianne, right, knitting.

Dinner is  ravioli we make ourselves. Shannon, right, shows Dianne how to fashion the filled pasta.

Brian, right, makes the dough into long strips which we fill with crab and ricatta cheese — or just cheese — fold and press into the traditional shape.

The ravioli ... ready to be boiled.

Chi-Chi surveys the result wondering if some morsel might fall to her.

The day ends with a steel drum recital. Children are so full of promise. Max loves music, art, reading and sports. One wonders what he will grow into.
Photographs taken with a Leica M8

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Memphis, Tennesse
Christmas Eve

Max and Brian work on a last minute Christmas card ...

... the house is decorated with packages under the tree ...

... the Advent selection has been read ...

... and Christmas is only hours away.

To all our friends who follow this blog, click the link below for a Christmas message from Bill, Dianne & grandson Max:

Merry Christmas to all ....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Memphis, Tennessee

It is a drizzly morning and a curious neighborhood cat comes calling ...

... only to be met by Chi-Chi, usually intent on defending her territory. The rain must have tempered her zeal giving way to curiosity on both sides of the glass.

Los Compadres

Max in window light while we wait for a table at a favorite Mexican restaurant.
Photographed with a Leica M8