Tag Archives: Holiday

The Angel and the Duckling: A Holiday Story (okay, not really)

There was a time when I had very few ornaments. Now we have far too many to actually put on a Christmas tree, but there are two that I’ve had since I was a child that always grace the tree and will always do so as long as I have the strength to decorate a tree. They are also the ugliest ornaments we own. And truth be told, one is not really an ornament.

ugly angel ornament
The Christmas Tree Fairy (click to get a good look at what is left of her rash-inducing hair)

The first ornament was, at one time, the angel that sat on top of the tree when I was a child. I loved that angel. It was beautiful. It had the softest, whitest hair I’d ever seen. To me it was Christmas — or the promise of Christmas.

One year my parents gave into my begging to take the angel to bed with me. I held her tight and slept with her all night long. In the morning I awoke to a bright red itching rash on my face, neck and arms. At first my parents didn’t know what was wrong, but eventually figured it out. The beautiful angel’s hair was made of spun glass and while I slept, bits of it must have broken off and pierced my skin, leaving the rash.

ugly duck decoration
Kevin’s first gift to me. Don’t bother clicking — it doesn’t get any better looking at a large size.

I still loved the angel, though, but never asked to take it to bed with me again. As the years went by the angel lost much of its beauty, including most of its hair and both wings. When I moved out on my own my mother gave me the angel for my tree and we always put her near the top of the tree just before we add the Christmas Fairy to the very top.

The second ugly ornament was, at one time, a fluffy duck with googly eyes. It was the first thing my brother ever gave me. He didn’t know he gave it to me because he’d just been born. My father picked it up in the hospital gift shop so I could have a present from my baby brother. I must have played with it a lot through the years, it must have meant a lot to me or why else would I have kept it once the eyes fell off and the bill wore away?

This ugly ducking is always one of the first decorations on our Christmas tree each year and, like the rash-giving angel, will continue to be placed on the tree for as long as I am around.

I love most of my Christmas decorations, but these two will always have a special place in my heart.

Opinion: Google+ Gifs (or My gifs to You)

Warning — if you are at all sensitive to quickly moving animations, turn your images off now….

Back sometime in late June or early July I noticed something strange on my Google+ photos: many of them moved. And they were not videos. I did some investigating and discovered that Google was making gifs out of my photos. Without my knowledge or permission. Not that it was that important, but I really hate animated gifs. I thought they were ugly in the 1990s and I think they are ugly in 2013. They are distracting and take away all semblance of professionalism.

What Google was / is doing is taking photos that were shot within seconds of each other and stitching them together to make mini-animations. For instance I took a bunch of photographs of various family members holding my grand-nephew at a family picnic and when I saw them on my Google+ page the photos were all part of a new photo/animation/gif. (although the photos were there as well)

Jill and Preston with grumpy Dean int he background
Jill and Preston with grumpy Dean in the background
Jill, Preston, Brandon, Ashley, Steven
Jill, Preston, Brandon, and Ashley

When I took a lot of photos of the flower girls and other children dancing at a wedding Google+ made a rather cute animation. (okay, not all the gifs are bad)

Dancing flowergirls
Dancing flower girls
Dancing flowergirls
Dancing flower girls

Then, a week or so ago I took a photo of Rupert in front of a snowy scene. What did Google+ do? Made it snow in front of Rupert. In the house.

Rupert in the snow.
Rupert in the snow.

A few days later I took a photo of a Christmas tree in Bethesda. Google made the lights twinkle. (okay, that was kinda cool).

Estrogen Alley tree
Estrogen Alley tree

I took a photograph of our Christmas tree, and again, Google made the lights twinkle.

Christmas tree
Our Twinkly Christmas Tree

So, while I don’t like most of the stitched together gifs, I don’t mind the twinkles.

Merry Christmas!