7 Days Winter 2008 -- the recap

Another 7 Days of Self Portraits project has come to a close. Having 7 Days happen during Christmas brings its own set of challenges: getting pictures done on a daily basis, getting comments in on everyone's pictures, and trying to find the time to get it all done while you still have some "chipper" left in your mood can be quite difficult. But this isn't really about the pressure as much as it is about the inspiration and camaraderie, which of course were present in spades yet again. I had some inspired moments, as you may see from what's coming up, and in the aftermath, I'm once again driven to improve my photography (and perhaps make progress to upgrading my equipment, no thanks to kvon who just picked up a Canon 5D Mark II. We can dream, can't we?

Anyway, on with the pics, starting with Day 1:

7days - Day 1: Wintery City
On the way home from ultimate tonight, I cruised through the city looking for a good vantage point to get some city lights in the background. But given that it's -15C out there, I didn't really stand around too long.

Sail out the basin directly behind me for two or three days and you'll wind up in Bermuda, which now that I think of it, sounds like a nice idea.

7days - Day 2: Solstice
Solstice isn't something we celebrate in the "traditional" sense, but it is something we recognize. Because it's so cold and dark these days, you'd be hard pressed to not look forward to the growing days and the promise of not starting and ending your workday in complete darkness. Every day brings a little more light. And the cycle continues.

Personally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, my spiritual awakening occurred some time between high school and university. I started paying closer attention to my natural surroundings, and took profound notice of its magnificence -- the mountains, the vast prairies, the ocean, the weather; recognizing that these surroundings were what comforted and inspired me. I hope that we can instill and support those same values and respect for nature in our boys.

7days - Day 3: Quitting for the night
Today started with 100km/hr winds, 20cm of ice-crusted snow on the city, an impromptu shoveling session at 0630, and a slow, convoluted commute to work. After work was a whirlwind trip through the grocery store to prepare for a winter / holiday cocktail party at our place.

By the time it was all over, I was more than ready to hit the "command + Q" on my day and get some sleep.

Winter. It is here.

7 days: Day 4 - Butternut Squash Soup
The story of Butternut Squash Soup

Helpful tip! Never try out a new recipe remotely close to Christmas, lest you be asked to reproduce it on Christmas day, for eighteen guests.

Large picture: Find possible candidates for butternut squash soup. Hint: Start with butternut squash, that tall drink of water on the left. You may need another in case you don't get enough squash from that gourd. Or if you're feeding 18.

Top row (left to right): Selecting your squash; You'll need to add two leeks (just the white part, sliced and cleaned) and 4 tsp of minced ginger; Roast your gourds for 1hr @ 400F; Chop leeks and mince ginger furiously.

Middle row (left, right of main pic): Sautee leeks and ginger for 10 minutes; add roasted and cooled (if you're a wuss) squash and 4 cups chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Bottom row (left, right of main pic): Puree until smooth; add back in pot, add 2 more cups chicken stock and 1tsp of salt (seriously? 1 tsp?).

Not shown: toast remaining squash seeds and chop cilantro or parsley for garnish.

Yield: 4L of soupy goodness.

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

7 days: Day 5 - With care
Not really much challenge in the "where am I" theme, but by the end of the day today, I was plum out of ideas for my submission.

This year's hearth conversation was slightly less humourous than last year, when we were informed by the older boy that lighting a fire in the fireplace would surely make Santa come out.

7 days: Day 6 - Irish and the lake
One of the Christmas traditions my late father left us was Irish Coffee on Christmas morning. Not very religious, mind you, but it certainly gets a person out of bed and into a good mood expeditiously. And after the first one, the ratio of whiskey to coffee gets much better.

The background here, some may remember, is my sister-in-law's place on a lake just outside the city.

7 days: Day 7 - Buried in playmobil
Just adding to the neverending Playmobil saga -- we received a boat load (really, including the viking boat) of Playmobil this year. Pictured is the youngest directing all the Playmobil people into the safari/dinosaur hunter cage, soon to be accompanied by a rather vicious prehistoric beast. He also received a police paddywagon which would have done the trick, but there you have it. I'm actually playing the part of police man with canine companion, perhaps checking out a viable alternative to the 'wagon.

a quickr pickr post

Posted bythemikestand at 7:54 PM  

4 stepped up to the mike:

CityStreams said... 8:09 PM, December 28, 2008  

You had great photos this go around! It was fun catching up with all of the 7 days veterans. Incidentally, I know that you're always featuring guest bloggers over here. I'm starting something similar over at my blog. Let me know if you'd like to take a stab at it. I'll even let you come up with a nick-name for the guys since blogista sounds a little girly.

HalfAsstic.com said... 9:43 PM, December 28, 2008  

Good shots, Mike. In the first one your hair kind of blends into the distant tree branches and for a second I wasn't sure where it stopped and the tree started.
The butternut squash soup recipe sounds really good and seems like the perfect comfort food for a long cold winter.
Are those taro cards in the pic that you(?) are fooling with.

Sizzle said... 2:12 AM, December 29, 2008  

I complained about a foot of snow and temps in the low 20s. Please forgive my pansy assness.

I had a bit of Baileys and later whiskey in my morning brew on Christmas too. Good tradition!

SRH said... 12:17 PM, December 29, 2008  

Great pics!

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