Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

December 20, 2010

Calendar Storytelling

For the past three years, I've put together a pet-centric "family" photo calendar to give as Christmas gifts to Wine Guy's parents and my mom. At first I found the whole process of collecting and sorting photos to be an overwhelming chore. But this year I hit my stride. So much so, that I ordered a few extra copies to give to family members who might be less inclined to unconditionally love anything I place before them.

The trick? Good old-fashioned storytelling. With the right assemblage of images and a few well-placed captions, I captured a year in the life of the DT/Wine Guy household, which includes "one perfect dog, two semi-perfect cats, and two all-too-human humans."

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll remember what day it is.

If you follow my blog, then you know 2010 was hardly a year I should would want to remember. So I wasn't exactly eager to comb through my digital album month by month. But these days I'm all about hope (what choice do I have?) and there's nothing more hopeful than flipping through a brand-new calendar with nothing in it but potential (and photos of some damn cute pets).

In previous years I found myself swamped by ideas and images, but little direction. This time out I decided to begin by identifying and organizing the themes that kept popping up in my photos. And since we (thankfully) don't take pictures during funerals, emotional meltdowns or screaming fights with loved ones, the themes I found were generally joyful or, at their worst, merely innocuous.

Though they didn't all make it into the calendar, the list of themes I came up with was eye-opening to say the least. Through candid shots of what I thought was a miserable year, I discovered a family that takes joy in the simple things, and humor in each other. In a way, the calendar became a Christmas gift to myself.

Here are the themes I found from our 2010, in no particular order:

Wet dog at the beach
Pretty scenes of San Diego
Friends at the dog park
Working in the home office
Being silly
Beauty shots of Luna (the dog)
Gopher holes
Togetherness - pets and people
Luna meets her long-lost puppy
Wine tasting
Wine Guy holding dogs
Palm Springs

Though the cats may disagree, it sounds like a pretty good year to me.

Wishing you all a New Year full of hope -- and a nice long list of whatever it is that makes your assemblage of humans and creatures a family.