The most stolen gift

Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

19 people bought a $25 gift. 19 people put their wrapped gifts in the middle of the family after Christmas dinner. Each person drew a slip of paper with a number from 1 to 19. The person with #1 picked a gift. Then the person with #2 could either steal #1’s gift or pick a wrapped gift. This continues until all 19 people have stolen a gift or selected one of the remaining gifts. Then, at the end, the person with #1 gets a second turn. Marcelo was able to steal anyone’s gift.  He stole a book of photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravo from Keith Kenney. Sooooooooo close, but . . . . The most stolen gift was a remote-controlled helicopter.

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A multicultural Merry Christmas

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

We all thank Tamaz Jalagania and Nana Imnadze for sharing their homemade Georgian wine.

Before we left Tbilisi, Tamaz and Nana gave us a 2-liter Coke bottle of his brother’s red wine from Kakheti, Georgia. Tamaz wrapped it and wrapped it and wrapped it some more in plastic so it would survive the long journey to Brazil. In order to show our appreciation for their generosity, I gathered the family together and took this photograph before we ate our delicious Christmas dinner.

Missing from the photo is Edith Schisler, the matriarch of the family. The day before Edith was supposed to leave Rutland, Vermont, to fly to Brazil, she slipped on a banana peel in a parking lot, fell, and severely hurt herself. As a result, she missed her family reunion. But we used Skype so that Edith could join us. Edith said the prayers for our Christmas dinner. Everyone cried.

In the photo you can see Edith’s four children: Debora, Susanna, Kennedy, and Millard. In addition, you can see Debora’s husband and their two daughters and one of their daughter’s boyfriends; Susanna and her two sons and one of her son’s girlfriends; Kennedy’s wife and their three children; Millard’s wife and two of their children. I’m taking the photo. Also missing are two of Millard’s children with their spouses and children.

From all of us, to all of you, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Clay Office prepares for Christmas

Nato Eristavi. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Thank you Susanna Melo, my better half, for writing another blog post.

Christmas is nearing, but here in Georgia this special occasion is not just celebrated on December 25th, according to the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox Christians keep to tradition by following the Julian calendar (used in ancient Rome), so Georgians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, too!

The Clay Office ceramicists, like Santa’s elves, have worked diligently day and night for weeks to create ceramic wares, sculptures, ornaments, and keepsakes for the gift-giving spirit of this time of year. Lali Kutateladze placed floating angels adorned in gold to the side of cleverly painted small bowls; Lia Bragationi created practical, block-shaped candle holders of all sizes and designs; Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi) made slim, statuesque angels with interesting facial expressions and golden wings. Gigisha Pachkoria had fun making the tiniest Santa Clauses with curly mustaches, not unlike his own. These jolly Santas were actual containers in which their future owners could hide a small treasure.

Georgians also have two New Year’s celebrations: January 1st, according to the Gregorian calendar, and January 14th according to the Julian calendar. Ceramicist Nato Eristavi seized the opportunity of the 2012 Chinese New Year of the Dragon to make intriguing, swirling, and stylistic white glazed dragons on stands painted with black, oriental-looking designs.

Keith and I purchased a couple of small angels to remind us of these hard-working, creative Georgian artists when we celebrate Christmas back in the U.S. next year.

Malkhaz Shvelidze (Kopi). Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011

Lali Kutateladze. Copyright Susanna Melo, 2011

Lia Bragationi and Gigisha Pachkoria. Copyright Keith Kenney, 2011