(mostly) daily photoblog

Posts tagged “Christmas

Seafood anyone?

matahari 1

matahari 3

matahari 2
Our friends took us to this great beach-side fish restaurant in Bali. We ate on the Jimbaran beach as the sun set. It was beautiful. What was really cool was that, as a patron of the restaurant, I got to pick out the fish that we ate. I walked to the front resto, talk to the fish…uh…guy…and pick out which fish, which shrimp, which squid that we wanted grilled for dinner.

I come from Vancouver, BC, Canada, and we have a lot of fresh fish that I’ve eaten. There was something indescribable about this experience, however. Maybe it was the beach. Maybe it was the warmth. Maybe it was Christmas Day and I was experiencing something I’d never experienced before.

Whatever it was, it was definitely an experience that I’ll not forget.

Bali flower

flower water

We’ve been in Bali for a week now, and it’s been a beautiful Christmas holiday.  We stayed in a number of places, but our friend who did much of our bookings knew we wanted to stay in places that captured what Bali used to be like.  We’ve stayed in two different Taman Sari villas, one near to Ubud called Puri Taman Sari, and another along the north coast called Taman Sari Bali.  The owner of these resorts has worked hard, and succeeded, at making them resemble a Bali that doesn’t really exist anymore.  He is working at recreating the Bali village community.  Check them out, if you’re in Bali.

This flower was growing in the water at Puri Taman Sari.  Does anyone know what kind it is?

Jineng Villas

the villa


This is where we stayed for our first two nights in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia during our Christmas holidays.  There are villas listed from A through O, and each one has its own pool, separate bedrooms, and living space.  It’s beautiful.  I don’t know how we ended up in this spot, but I’m pretty amazed.

It’s been a pretty nice way to start Christmas holidays in Bali.

the villa 2

It’s the night before Christmas…LATE NIGHT SHOPPING!

late night shopping

I don’t know which Hindu god this is, but he might be battling a dragon for better deals for Christmas Eve shopping.

This is one of many gods we saw on our way into the city of Kuta, Bali.  The fact that the “late night shopping” sign is in the background just adds a post-modern materialistic context to a very old religion.  Hmm…I wonder what the rest of our trip will be like?


sunrise palu 2


I had a lovely date with my wife tonight.  We went Christmas shopping.  That has nothing to do with the photo.  I’m just happy and felt like sharing.

I hope you like the photo.

Merry Christmas!


We hung decorations in my school yesterday.  It was fun.  We played Frank Sinatra and climbed on ladders and chairs and suspended Christmas balls from the ceiling all down my hallway.

Merry Christmas!

It would have been easy to snap a photo of a neatly wrapped package sitting under the tree, but I decided to test my ability to hold my camera steady.  I failed, quite spectacularly too, on most of my shots, but this one turned out.

Well, it turned out in a sort of abstract art kind of way, but that’s the way I remember most Christmases.  Abstractly.

Oh.  Merry Christmas.  I hope Santa was good to you.

Snowflakes + Star Wars = AWESOME!

I love Christmas Holidays.  It gives me time to “craft”.  And…

Ha!  Hahahahahaaaa….no seriously.  I don’t “craft”.  I take photos.  That’s my hobby.  But when some evil genius designs Star Wars snowflake templates, I jump into action.  For my son…yeah…not for me…my son.

Here’s the details.  Anthony Herrera, a graphic designer, has designed a bunch of snowflake templates that appeal to the Star Wars geek in me.  If you want to download the designs and spend hours meticulously cutting them out with a scalpel and a self-healing cutting mat, here’s the link:  Star Wars Snowflakes.

BTW, if I’ve not said it already, Anthony Herrera is AWESOME!

Can you feel it?

There it is.  Just in the offing.  Holidaaaaaaaaaays…

Sorry.  Tomorrow is Friday.  THE Friday.  The Friday before Christmas Holidays.  I’m a little happy about that.

Oh, and the beach photo?  I don’t know.  It just seemed appropriate.  We’re not going away to some place sunny.  It’s just that I’ve got that “happy-sunset-on-a-beach” feeling with the holidays coming up.

The power of a sunset

Took this a couple of nights ago.  We’ve been having some uncharacteristic sunny weather.  December is usually a cooler, wetter version of November in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.  Not snow.  Rain.

This year?  It’s been sunny and cool.  The sunsets have been phenomenal, even though they’ve been at 3:45 p.m.  I guess that means it must be close to Christmas.

Maybe I don’t understand Christmas…

This is in Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, BC.  Now, I consider myself pretty steeped in Christmas tradition.  I know who Saint Nicholas was.  I know where the modern images of Santa Claus comes from.  I’m pretty sure I know the pagan origins of the modern Christmas tree.  I get that lights on the tree used to be candles (can you say safety hazard?).  I understand the Christmas story well enough to know that the Magi should probably be somewhere in your kitchen if your nativity is in the living room because most accounts have them showing up to Mary and Joseph and Jesus sometime between the birth and second birthday of Christ.  I know that shepherds were the lowest of the low, making them the perfect messengers of the message that the savior of all had just been born.

What I don’t know how to explain is the freaking huge horse above.  Oh, I get that it looks like a rocking horse and that it might be a traditional Christmas gift, but who thought, “Hey, it’s Christmas.  We should build a gigantic horse and let parents and children ride in it.”  It seems like something that should be at a carnival, not in a Christmas display.  Why not a giant Rudolph?  Or a rocking sleigh?

Maybe I just don’t understand Christmas.

You think you’ve had a bad day?

Luke, quick!  Your lightsaber is just off to your left.  Just use the force and you’ll be able to avoid the scary Wampa heading your way.

Uh…I might have a little too much psychologically invested in Star Wars.  Thanks a lot, George Lucas.

My son got a lot of Lego for Christmas and all of it was Star Wars, which is to say I got to live vicariously through my son as we, I mean he, got to build all of it.  Awesome!

How big are your nuts?

Is that title too suggestive?  I don’t think so, given that this fellow, a nutcracker, was taller than me.  I’m over six feet tall and I definitely had to look up to him.  He was standing guard at the entrance to the kids area at the Vancouver Christmas Market, a traditional German market where you could learn about chocolate, eat bratwurst, and drink beer while checking out handmade crafts and fruit preserves.

I’m not sure why he’s on guard duty.  I guess the Rat King keeps trying to go into the kids area to make his own chocolate Santa lollipop.

Color matters, but sometimes it does not.

I was given colored icing and sugar cookies and given the responsibility to decorate.  By the end of the session, I guess my mind wandered and I started to think only in literal terms.  I used blue icing, so I wrote BLUE.  I used pink, and PINK came out.  Have you ever had that moment where your brain and hand are synced?  Where your brain is only moving as fast as your hand?  I had that moment.  There is no deeper message, no heavy symbolism here.  No “rainbow coalition” of the cookies.  Just a slow brain and a dull imagination.

Although, the yellow one is pretty cool.


Christmas cookies are AWESOME!

I was reading through my Grandma’s cookbooks and came across a bunch of recipes that I remember her making.  One of those recipes, from The Mennonite Community Cookbook, was for sugar cookies.  Honestly, what you get for all the work you do making sugar cookies is barely worth it.

I mixed a ridiculous amount of shortening, sugar and flour in my mixer and added the milk and vanilla and watched as the dough took shape.  Then I refrigerated it for about four hours.  After rolling it out, my children took to arms with cookie cutters and had some fun cutting out hearts and stars and trees and angels and…well, a whole bunch of different shapes.  This, below, is the aftermath of the first round of cookie cutter-ing.


After baking and cooling the cookies, the Bergen family went at the task of decorating with enthusiasm.  We have a lot of fun making all kinds of different designs, and no design is turned down.  Here are a few results of what we decorated today.


I’m sorry that I can’t share them with you.  If they look good to you, I’ll post the recipe and the instructions for the icing.  Let me know what you think.

All aboooooaaarrrddd…

…the gingerbread train.  First stop…Peppermint town, followed by SmartieVille and Royal Icing City.

Whoo, whoo…chuggachuggachuggachugga…

I can’t say I like gingerbread, but it is fun to see what my kids come up with every year.  We skipped right past the house and went for the locomotive this year, and Hannah took the lead on the engine while Ben decorated the caboose.  Hannah went for traditional red and green of Christmas, while Ben decided that a circus caboose more accurately captured his own feelings about the season.

Gathering snow.

Photo Friday challenge this week is “Gathering”.  Tonight, as I tried to digest an immense amount of food ingested during a wonderful family Christmas gathering, snow started to fall.  It’s been getting colder as the week’s gone on, and the drizzle turned to very light snow.  The snow never really gathered significantly anywhere, but there was a gathering of snowflakes in the air.  Does that count?

Christmas concert season is well under way

In fact, Christmas concert season is pretty much over.  Haha.  After two concerts on Wednesday and two this weekend at church, we’re done.  Now, all I have to do is make it through this last week of school and I’m free.  It’s not that I don’t like Christmas season, but it sure is nice when it’s over.

It gets dark early – Christmas must be close.

The sun is setting earlier these days and with daily savings taking effect earlier in the year it seems that I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark and all the daylight hours are reserved for other people.  The early dark does mean two good things:  Christmas is near and I don’t have to stay up late to get good dusk photos.


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