Monthly Archives: December 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is New.

The leaves of the old year blaze forth in a last burst of color. But among the old, at first almost unnoticed, are already the buds

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that, as the last old leaf drops away, await the new year!

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(Magnolias, Central Park, New York City)

Happy 2013!

Christmas Lights

By Vladimir Brezina

We always get our Christmas tree only a day or two before Christmas, barely hours before the Christmas-tree vendors in the streets pack up for their migration back north. We do this not just because we procrastinate (we do), but because Johna follows an older tradition. According to Wikipedia,

Traditionally, Christmas trees were not brought in and decorated until Christmas Eve (24 December) or, in the traditions celebrating Christmas Eve rather than on the first of day of Christmas, 23 December, and then removed the day after Twelfth Night (5 January); to have a tree up before or after these dates was even considered bad luck.

So, even as our neighbors’ Christmas trees are already out in the street for removal, our tree is only now reaching the peak of its transient glory—

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Our 2012 in Pictures

By Vladimir Brezina

The last weekly Photo Challenge of 2012 is—My 2012 in Pictures!

It’s been impossible to select the best photos. There are just too many photos to look through—I’ve posted more than 2,000 on this blog in 2012—and it takes more resolution than I am capable of at the moment to cull them severely. It’s like killing your children…

So here are, by no means the best photos of 2012, but just 12—one for each month—that in future years may remind Johna and me of some of the memorable stories of 2012—

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The stories and more photos are here:

We hope that 2013 will turn out to be equally memorable and picturesque!

Happy Solstice, Festive Holidays!

By Vladimir Brezina

This morning we passed the Solstice of December 21, 2012, otherwise known as 13.0.0.0.0, and we can be cautiously optimistic—I am, on the whole, an optimist—that the world as we know it will continue…

So it seems safe to wish everyone a Happy Winter (or Summer, as it may be) and Festive Holidays!

And safe to respond to Ailsa’s photo challenge, which this week, very appropriately, is Festive

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Surprise.

Kayaking around New York Harbor, we see many surprising things. And one of the most surprising, hidden in a narrow Brooklyn creek, is the wreck of an entire, respectably-sized submarine. The Yellow Submarine of Brooklyn has a fascinating history—involving a crazy but surprisingly well-developed scheme to salvage valuables from a famous sunken ocean liner—that I’ve already written up here and here. So I’ll just post a few photos—

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Emergence

By Vladimir Brezina

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… like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.

Philip Larkin, Best Society

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But, contrary to Larkin, the best society is not always solitude…

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(St. Pete Beach, Florida, December 2012)

Travel Theme: Transportation

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Transportation.

It’s amazing how much stuff can be transported in a sea kayak! When setting out on a kayak expedition, there’s no need to leave the creature comforts at home. Compared to a multiday backpacking or bicycle trip, a sea kayak expedition is a positively luxurious experience

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… until each morning, when all that stuff has to be fitted back into the kayaks

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We put off the packing as long as we possibly can and stand around drinking coffee

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It’s such a relief to have the last bag in the boat, to snap on the sprayskirt and push off into new waters…

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(Photos from our 2011 Albany to New York trip and our 2012 Long Island circumnavigation)