Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Parties

A typical Christmas for my family as far as what we did, yet it somehow manages to get more wonderful every year. We all grow older and wiser, and the love grows sweeter.
The kids in our extended family are now a married man, a college senior, a HS senior, and a 'tween--and they've merely become older and taller and smarter versions of how they were as soon as they could string a sentence together.
Bless them for keeping unnecessary drama to a minimum, but nobody's perfect so I get plenty of chuckles out of what they do.
Even when my vodka was "borrowed" last year. We found out and replaced the alcohol in the water bottle with...water!
I love how every generation thinks it has new ideas.

This is an overview of the party at my house on Christmas Night.
My fire pit is in the center, but instead of the fancy and pretty and expensive ones you can buy at Target this is just an old galvanized washtub set on cinderblocks, which are on a pallet. My brother welded together a grate to hold up the wood using expanded steel mesh, rebar framing, and railroad spike legs.
He's a genius and a rocket scientist and a clever dick who I love dearly, and I was overjoyed that he and his GF were able to attend our annual party this year.
2007 saw many potential guests knocked down by the flu. Most of those who were AWOL this year had much crappier excuses.
On the right is Sylvia's new chiminea--a truly perfect gift from Julie and Eddie who also brought some nicely seasoned wood to burn and some fine chili.

Last year my closest friends and family were sick--not so in '08.
Not only did Mike & Amie make it along with Ken & Deri, but the musicians in Bliss also stopped by and in fact Rikk and Steve were the last to leave. I love being in a band that has a "family vibe". (A slightly drunk family...)
The photo above shows the amazing multi-instrumentalist Florin Sanchez playing my guitar and singing for everyone's enjoyment. It was enough of a treat for me that he even showed up, let alone provided some entertainment. It was a relaxed and special moment that surely set a high mark that'll be hard to beat in parties to come.
The very best musician I have worked with during my 28 years in the music business.

Never one to be outdone by some youngster, the family patriarch takes his turn on my guitar and amp. This is the very first time that Jesus Cantu ever played an electric guitar, and I was honored that a man in his 70's would entertain my guests with his lovely songs.
He'll tell you that he sang better as a boy, but my band members (and everyone else) preferred him as he is now--a man who's lived a long and sometimes difficult life who put family above all else and can now sit back and enjoy.
The compliments on the authenticity and style and tone of his voice keep coming in.

This is the middle generation of sisters who all have names starting with S.
Mine is on the left.
Somehow we managed to shoot this without the matriarch catching-on, just before Christmas Eve Mass (with bonus Children's Nativity Play).
I warned them to be dressed up and ready when we arrived and used a wireless flash hand-held.
Their mother was so busy making sure everyone was ready to go to church that we got away with it in only a few minutes.
Giving her the framed 8x10" print on Sunday night--there was a point when we all choked-up and tears were issuing threats, much like the photo of her grandkids in 2007.
Having some technical skills and an occasional idea when it comes to photography can be extremely rewarding when you concentrate hard on what your audience might want.

And it was good...

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