December 31, 2010. Here's my last sketch of 2010- a cartoon of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the movie Inception. As you know, this is the inception of a new year, and I desire you all to have a good start to it. The older I get, the faster time passes. Make this year count. Love those that God has given you. Leave behind your failures. Cherish your memories, but don't linger back there. Run your race to the finish line, eyes straight on. Happy New Year!
December 30, 2010. I had never heard of a museum happy hour, but apparently some museums in Basel have an hour a day that they let penny-pinchers like me in for free. The Kunstmuseum in Basel does just that. In fact, they filled their large entrance area with ice and then loan out skates and let people skate around for free. Free skating and free museum entrance? Where have I been? I noticed they even have these little folding stools that you can take around the museum, and I think.... they're free too. Can it be? That means I could get off work, fill my tank with cheap Swiss gas, take my sketchbook to the museum, grab a folding stool, and have an hour to sketch masterpieces. All for free. Not a bad deal.
December 29, 2010. My wife and I were married 20 years ago today in Fresno, California. We spent the day hanging out together. We visited the Vitra Design museum store, then headed into Basel to walk around, drink some coffee at Starbucks, (where we saw this young couple madly in love), then visited art museum during "happy hour" which is the last hour of the day when you can go for free, admiring Albert Anker, Monet, Gaugin, van Gogh, Hans Holbein and others. We then finished up by having dinner at the Fünfschilling Restaurant back in Germany, topping off the night playing Quiddler with our kids.
December 27, 2010. Instead of a vacation, we're saving money this year by just taking our kids up to the mountains a few times to go snowboarding. We can be up at the slopes in about an hour, and sleep in our own beds. My wife and I just hang out in the ski lodge and drink coffee. She reads while I sketch what's going on around me. The kids come back now and then to report on their latest adventure, get a hot cocoa, or just warm up. The Feldberg ski area was packed today. I took a good long walk up the mountain to enjoy the fresh cold air and watch the kids go down. Beautiful day.
December 26, 2010. I took my camera down around town today and filmed some scenes of Kandern for you to see- some of which show you the locations where I have been sketching. As you can see, we had a white Christmas this year. Believe it or not, my first one. It was pretty quiet here in Kandern, as you can see in the video. We had no visitors from the States this year, but it was fun just being together, the four of us. Well, five, with our little dog. And, with the wonders of Skype, we were able to "be" with some of our loved ones back in California for a little bit. Not the same as really being together, but sure better than nothing. Have a great week, and drive safely.
shepherds.5, originally uploaded by Rob Carey2.
December 25, 2010. "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." Merry Christmas everyone!
December 21, 2010. We took our kids up to Feldberg today, along with my daughter's violin teacher, Miss Musick to play in the snow. My kids went snowboarding, while she tried skiing for the first time. My wife and I stayed in the lodge, and I kept from getting bored by sketching my daughter and the scene out the window, then writing this poem about the event.
December 20, 2010. Well, the weather outside is frightful- sloppy, slushy roads, sleet, yuck. We got a couple errands done out there, but it's a good day for in. You get the fire going, find a good book, a cup of Joe- good to go. My kids are all geared up to go snowboarding tomorrow- got all the edges sharpened up, waxed, finding the right goggles- all that. Oh, to be a kid again. Oh, to have good knees again!
December 19, 2010. We live in what some would call a townhouse. There are four family dwellings connected together, each one with four small floors. We live in one of the middle ones, so we get the benefit of being heated on both sides. Today all four couples got together to celebrate the season. We had coffee and cake at our house, then went over to our German neighbors' house for dinner. It was really a wonderful time together, and would make a great annual tradition. The time went so fast, we couldn't believe it had been five hours.
December 18, 2010. I guess it's inevitable. Eventually, everything concealed is opened to the public. The internet offers the best and the worst of everything. We teach our kids to use it, (or rather, they teach us), then we warn them to watch out for it. You can now pry into every dark corner you ever imagined, and never wanted to imagine. TMi (too much information) is now WTMi. (Way too much).
December 17, 2010. We had quite the blizzard last night and this morning in Kandern. My car got stuck just trying to get out of my driveway. We then drove my student teacher to the train station and said goodbye, as she heads off to Munich for a short vacation before heading back to the States. She'll be a great teacher wherever she ends up. After it stopped snowing, I parked my car on Hauptstrasse and did this little sketch to celebrate the end of the semester and the beginning of Christmas break. It was even difficult for me to maneuver main street, as it looks like no one has cleared the roads, so I decided to head home and stay put for the rest of the day.
December 17, 2010. I realized that I had never posted the completed painting of this bridge before it was delivered, so here it is. This was sketched and painted on location, then completed at home. It now hangs in the home of some friends who live in Basel. As of today, I am officially on winter break. The last day of the semester was yesterday, and my classroom is quiet for a while. There was a snowstorm last night, so we awoke to a winter wonderland.
December 8, 2010. We're definitely into the muck of winter already. There's half-melted snow all over the place, everything is either wet or frozen, our wood stove has been going every night, everyone has a runny nose or cough, and nothing sounds better than finding a warm place to sit and reading a good book. I did a real quick sketch of one of my students at the end of the day, enjoying a good read before the bus came.
December 2, 2010. I don't remember having this much snow this early in the school year. The Black Forest is draped in a white blanket. I was sketching my students today in the classroom, trying to capture all the snow gear drying on the radiators and my student wearing his snow pants in class. It is beyond beautiful outside, a world of God's wonder. Tonight we head into the town square to enjoy the Christmas music and delicious treats and hot drinks, while standing around the burning logs. This is a favorite time of the year.