Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Recent Arrivals

Pinkie, Sam & Strawberry You know how things often seem to occur in threes — plane crashes, celebrity deaths, etc.? Well we had a good threesome — packages that brought new arrivals.

The first was a care package from Mizuki's friend in Japan. She often sends Japanese food that we cannot obtain locally — and this time she included three new members for our family. We have named them (left to right) Pinkie, Sam and Strawbeary (hmm, also a threesome).

It was a very thoughtful gift — but it does add to our stuffed animal population problem. You see, we have some 59 of the little critters running around according to the most recent census count — and they take up so much space on the bed that we are running out of room for the people who live in this household. But we love them all — and they all have names (but please don't ask this old guy to recite them all).

Quilt The second package was an unexpected delight. First, please let me backtrack a bit. For the regular readers of my little essays, you will recall that my mom and her quilting guild have been sewing quilts for the kids in their local shelter for battered women.

When I was in Hawai`i, I thought of them and their good deeds and did a bit of shopping in the local quilt shops — looking for fabrics that the kids would like but which would not likely be available in Maryland. So I sent them a bunch of really cute fabrics and, to say the least, my mom and her quilting sisters were absolutely delighted. And they sewed up a storm and made a bunch of these child-size quilts to donate to the shelter.

Little did I know (slow down, you're getting ahead of me) that they decided to make one for Mizuki and me. Yep, that was the second package and you can see that the Hawai`ian fabrics were just perfect for their intended purpose.

Mizuki fell in love with it and now uses it when the A/C makes her chilly in the evening — just perfect to cover her legs while working on her computer.

Quilt Detail: Hawaiian Here is a close-up photo of some of the fabric squares with kids doing the hula, playing the ukulele and carrying pineapple.

Quilt Detail: Japanese And this photo shows some of the Japanese influence in Hawai`i — aren't they cute?

Photographing People The third package was a book — but not just any book — this one was the result of collaboration by my fellow students in the Photographing People workshop that I attended in Santa Fe back in July.

In case you don't know, there are services that will publish a book — complete with photographs — for very reasonable prices. We decided before leaving Santa Fe to publish a memory of our class for our instructor, John Weiss, and our class assistants, Nate and Tricia.

The book contains photographs of each of us (taken the first day of class) plus two each of our favorite photos that we took through the rest of the class. Kudos to Erik for coordinating the effort and producing such a professional publication.

I know that I will cherish mine forever — and I suspect the other students will as well.

What what did John think when he received his copy. Here is his email to each of us

Photographs from our book My friends, my students, my fellow photographers -

When my cat went running away from the front door, I knew something was up. She always does that when UPS delivers a package.

What I didn't know was how amazing the package would be, how amazing the images would be, how fully my first look would re-kindle the joy of the glorious week we shared.

I am so deeply touched. So deeply touched. I can't tell you how much joy is overflowing my heart right now.

This is a gift of a lifetime.
This is an astounding gift.
But it's not just a gift for me.
It's a gift to each of you for what you made happen during our time together. It's a celebration of what you accomplished as unique individuals and as members of a collaborative enterprise of mutual support for, and goodwill toward, one another. If ever there was a book that was equally owned by each participant, this is the one.

I also want to share how I took my first look at this lovely book. I saw the title and put the book down. I went to my studio and put on a pair of cotton (photo) gloves. I took the book to a room of comfort and light and carefully sliced it open. Then, very slowly, page by page, I took it in.

It's so well done, so beautifully well done. And I am so grateful to have it. This book will NOT go on my bookshelves.
It will be in a central place of honor so that I can see if as I walk through my life each day, opening it up now and then (but not too often to dull the effect), and think of you all with such big smiles on my face.

Thank you, so very much.

jj aka jdog (formerly jjdog)

 Life is good.

 B. David