25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!


Wishing one and all a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

18 December 2012

End-of-Year Chess Meet

I know, I know.  Chess again.  This one is the last tournament of the year, thank goodness.  This was a long one on Sunday.  We were there from 9am to 6pm.   Chris was at a trade show, so it was just me and the two kids.  Zoë was quite the trooper for hanging out with us the whole time.  She colored, sketched, snacked, did some worksheets, read, snacked some more… and kept me company.

Each player had seven rounds.  Josh won five and lost two and came in 6th (out of 47 players).  He was very disappointed that he did not get a trophy.

I tried explaining to him that he actually did quite well, especially considering the fact that he started chess lessons only this summer and for him to come this far this soon is pretty good.  He’s been improving with each tournament he’s joined. 

On Sunday, the 1st place winner had seven wins; the 2nd place winner had six wins.  Between the 3rd place winner and the 8th place winner. all of them had five wins each.  It was just down to the tie breaks (Buchholz system), which were determined by adding the raw scores of each opponent you played and multiplying that by the your own raw score (your number of wins). 

Anyway… he countered that I was telling him all that only because I’m his mom.  That said, he told me to still sign him up for all upcoming chess tournaments.  He still wants to play.  He is determined to get a trophy or a medal.  He is getting competitive.

Well, my dad will be here for a couple of weeks and Josh will get plenty of playing time with him, so that should help and it will boost Josh’s confidence if he could win against my dad, who always plays to win.

16 December 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday | Sparkly

Oh, I missed not having joined Scavenger Hunt Sunday for the last two or three weeks. I really missed playing along.  Life has been busy.  A good kind of busy, so I’m not complaining. 

I did manage to go out and shoot some Christmas-y photos with my friend during our photo walk.  Because she was feeling under the weather and because we were a little pressed for time, we just went around the mall and played around with different white balance settings with our shots.  I am really glad that we do a photo walk together once a month and get to experiment and learn from each other.

Except for the shot of Zoë below (which was taken on Monday), the rest were all from our photo walk a couple of days ago.

1. Sparkly


2. Door – Wouldn’t this look nice as a door?


3. Decorate

4. Stripes


5. A Few of My Favorite Things


11 December 2012

Another Tournament

This is what Zoë did while hanging around,
waiting during Josh’s chess tournament on Saturday.

Josh came in 4th in his category this time.  It was a rather unique experience.  In the entire tournament, there were only six players in the 6-8yo category, only four players in the 9-12 category, and 13 adult players.  Out of the nine rounds, Josh never got to play with any of the other players in his category (6-8yo), but rather with two players in the 9-12 category and seven adult players.  Maybe because of the total number of players entered, the organizers had to play everyone against each other, regardless of category.  Josh was not very lucky with the draw, but it was a really good experience for him to be able to play against older and better players.
A whole day tournament coming up on Sunday.  The last one of the year.  I think this one should be more a ‘regular’ tournament.  There will be seven rounds in all, with each player getting 30 minutes per game.  Not sure if they will be required to write down their every move, though.  I’ll have to check on this, because Josh has never done this and will have to learn to do it properly if he’ll be required to do so. 

Just as Josh is learning with each tournament he joins, we find that we’re learning about the world of chess meets, too.  I’m learning to read ranking cross-tables, learning about Swiss style vs blitz, learning about rules and illegal moves.  Interesting. 
I wish I could take more of an interest in chess, so that I could play with Josh more.  I know how to play the game, but I’m not very patient and Josh now beats me whenever we play.  Josh has to play with Chris to get more of a challenge.  We’re looking to my parents’ visit over the Christmas holidays, so that Josh can play with my dad (who first introduced the game to Josh).  My mom tells me that my dad has been practicing; he doesn’t want to lose to a kid.  Hahaha!

10 December 2012

When I first got a renewed interest in photography, one of the things I’d noticed about the photos that I admire is that blurry background that most of them had, how the subject/s remained sharp, but the rest of the background was soft and blurry.  I didn’t even know that ‘it’ had a name:  bokeh.

For some reason, I find that I get bokeh more easily when I take pictures of plants.



I somehow need to work harder to get bokeh in my portraits…
and truth be told, sometimes it’s purely accidental.




The Christmas holidays would be a perfect time to get in more practice, though.  Below is my first attempt (tonight!) with Christmas lights bokeh.  Zoë, of course, is my willing model.   I’m going to try to do shaped Christmas lights bokeh before the holidays are over.  That would be a fun thing to try.  In the meantime, I’ll have to be content with this and work on improving. 


The Creativity Project is a monthly blog circle with a new theme each month.  This month’s theme is Bokeh.  Please head on over to visit Sharon (The Covert Lens) to see her bokeh photos (which will be gorgeous, I tell you!).  You will get a prompt from Sharon on whom to visit next.  Do hop along to all the ladies in the group and say hi.  We’d also love for you to share with us your bokeh shots on our Facebook page.

04 December 2012

Chess Month

December is turning out to be quite a busy month for us this year for a new reason.  Chess meets.  Josh has a total of three chess tournaments all happening within two weeks (!). 


He just finished the ‘nationals’ on Sunday –his second ever chess competition and first nationals ever, –and he came in 7th overall in his category. SO proud of our little man.  They played seven rounds, out of which Josh had 4 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw.  His losses were to the eventual 1st and 2nd place winners.  He did manage to beat the 3rd and 4th place winners, one of whom was the champion at the first chess meet that Josh joined.


Another chess meet this Saturday and another one next Sunday.  The one this Saturday is going to be a ‘new’ one for him, because he has never played blitz before.  There will be nine rounds and each player gets only 10 minutes per game.  He will have to be quick and decisive with his moves, but not too hasty that he becomes careless.  It’s going to be interesting to see how Josh will do.  No matter what the outcome, though, we are very proud of how far he’s come, especially considering that he started to really learn it only this summer. 

Go, Josh, go!

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