Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

(Above: My youngest sister Sonya putting the final touches on her exquisite Thanksgiving dinner table. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)

This year my youngest sister Sonya and her husband Vipin hosted our family for Thanksgiving in Slippery Rock. Their house was once my parents' home ... the place in which I lived from 3rd grade until the end of high school. Lots of Thanksgiving dinners took place here ... but it was a totally new experience this year!

(Above: Vipin, Grandma Baker, and Sonya in the kitchen before dinner ... appetizers!)

Why? Well, Sonya and Vipin are incredible hosts, have impeccable tastes, and also introduced us to a new Thanksgiving tradition .... TURDUCKEN!

(Above: Mom and Steve getting ready for Turducken.)

What's a TURDUCKEN? It's a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with cornbread and a hen! It was delicious. I made a video of Vipin carving this exotic bird. It is HERE. Vipin also popped the cork for champagne.

We all had a blast ... especially since the evening included a slide presentation ... images from 1953 - 65 ... taken by Grandpa Baker in fabulous Ecktachrome color and all carefully labeled. It was a walk down memory lane and a most memorable Thanksgiving!

The photo above was taken with my camera resting on the table ... using the automatic timer.

I tried all sorts of "strange" things during the course of the afternoon ... including CRANBERRIES! They weren't horrible ... but they are still the one food item that I despise the most ... even if they are layered with truffles!

Unbelievably, they weren't too bad ... even though the thought of them sort of makes me dizzy!

Above is Mom and Grandma ... sampling shrimp before dinner!

(Above: Mom, Steve, me and Sonya.)

(Above: Grandma, Mom and Dad at Thanksgiving!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Review from England!

Mathias and Laura-Jane were both mentioned in a review! Read it HERE!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Back from a trip to Pennsylvania and England!

(Above: Mathias and Laura-Jane ready to dance in David Bintley's Carmina Burana, Birmingham Royal Ballet. Click on any photo to enlarge.)

It feels like I've been out-of-town for a long, long time. Yet, I actually wasn't even away for a full two weeks!

First, Steve and I went to Pennsylvania for Father's Day weekend ... and to celebrate my sister Wanda's 50th birthday. Wanda and her husband Reinhard were visiting from Munich. I took several photos of us relaxing at Lake Lenzelhof, my parents' "private" 10-acre lake ... but I'm saving those for another post. For Father's Day, my youngest sister Sonya arranged for a lovely brunch at the Foxburg Inn, a beautiful place along the banks of the Allegheny River.

It was quite a spectacular day.

The dinner was great. The gift shop was nice. The view was crystal clear.

We saw a water snake....

... a giant pincher bug ...

before going on a family SEGWAY tour with Segway of Western PA. Sonya arranged the package ... with a golf cart for Mom and Dad and segways for the rest of us.

Of course, Sonya was prepared too ... with the perfect shade of lipstick!

We drove to the stables on the Fox Mansion ...

...where we got to see the horses ...

... and the collection of antique carriages ...

... and sleighs ...

... and finally arrived in the section for our individual segway instructions! Steve was the first to be taught how to operate these two-wheeled vehicles that are programmed to respond to one's shifting weight.

Before long Wanda was ready to go from "snail" pace to the whopping 12 miles per hour maximum! (We were "upgraded" for speed on the final stretch of the road back to the stables! Boy was it FUN!)

Vipin and Sonya looked fine in their protective helmets.

Mom and Dad looked fine in their golf cart too!

The "Heritage Tour" took us past the Fox Mansion and all over its property ...

...including a guest house ...

... and an aviary where we saw strutting peacocks ...

... to a barn ...

...with all sorts of antique machines ...

... and a wine press. Foxburg does have its own winery too.

On the grounds were small buildings for alpaca and miniature donkeys.

Dad would have like to take this firewood shelter with its great chopper home!

The birdhouses were even fancy!

The outhouse was cute too!

At one point we got off the segways to enjoy this view to the Iron Bridge over the Allegheny River.

Our guide took our photo there. It was a great weekend.

From Pennsylvania, I flew on to Manchester, England on Monday. I spent most of Tuesday exploring the Weaste Cemetery and a church in the suburban town of Bury. I collected several epitaphs and made a few great grave rubbings on fabric. Then, I took a train into Birmingham.

It is wonderful to have a son and his girlfriend with their very own HOUSE ...

..and a car ... so I never had to drive on the wrong side of the road.

Ballet dancers stay very busy ... especially with laundry.

They've hung a few of their framed pictures ... including this hand colored wood block by my friend Jeff Donovan.

I insisted that they take my camera back stage for these photos. Above is one of the casts for Allergi Diversi. Naturally, the guys are still in their "warm-up" pants.

This is Mathias and Laura-Jane with their friend Oliver.

(Anther shot of the three friends.)

Yet, the performance that I most wanted to see was David Bintley's Carmina Burana. It is undoubtedly my very favorite music of all time. Obviously, Mathias was one the seven seminarians. The ballet showed the trials and tribulations of three of them ... lust, anger/gluttony, and spiritual weakness. Mathias danced a role called "Boiling Rage". It was in the section about gluttony. Laura-Jane was obviously part of the section on lust. Ex Cathedra sang with live music. THEY DANCED FANTASTICALLY. Laura-Jane was featured in her role for all six shows. Mathias danced his principal role in three of six performances. The English audiences are usually quite subdued ... but not for this production. It was an honor to finally get to be part of a standing ovation.

Now ... to catch up a bit. Above is the photo from the Birmingham Royal Ballet's tour blog featuring Chi Cao, Nao Sakuma, and Mathias Dingman in their "The Dream" costumes. (Basically Midsummer Night's Dream). This was taken while touring Japan.

Also, above and below are two photos from Jamie Schumacher's college graduation day! I simply forgot to post them but know family members will enjoy them!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Artista Vista and Runway Runway with family

I took hundreds of photos during the past several days at my I do / I don't installation and at Runaway Runway. Most will be in Flickr sets, on my "Art in Stitches" blog, and/or Facebook. Yet, there are some that just have to have their own post. This is it!

My Mom and youngest sister Sonya surprised Steve and me completely by showing up unexpectedly for the weekend! They booked a room at the Sheraton that came with all sorts of food coupons, shuttle service in the downtown area, and free drinks at the rooftop bar. The view was great ... but I forgot to snap that photo!

The photo above is my Mom, Steve, Sonya, Amanda (Jamie's friend who graciously provided hair and make-up services for our group of models), Jamie and her mother/my first cousin JoAnn. The photos was snapped at the "after party".

Above is Steve and my Mom looking into the installations at 927-929 Gervais Street. The first room, just before my installation, was Marius Valdes' The Unwantables Zoo Project of little Sculpty formed figures with screen-printed boxes.

Well, Sonya's extremely well behaved Yorkshire terrier Lulu had come to Columbia too ... and Sonya and I worked really hard to get these adorable photos! Enjoy!