Thursday, August 23, 2007

Up close and personal

Originally uploaded by christyc730
This is my middle DD's hand feeding a big old giraffe. Actually, she's a teenager, in giraffe terms, not old at all. I just felt like sharing one of my very favorite pictures from our trip to South Carolina. Can you believe you can actually feed the giraffes? We also fed goats and llamas, but they were way less exciting. The whole zoo is sort of set up to look like the animals aren't really enclosed. Now I don't know about most people, but me? I like the lions behind very sturdy bars. The illusion that they're roaming free is just a little unsettling. I had to investigate and they really are behind a fence - an electrified one at that, but it was freaky to see the lions, tigers and bears just lounging around, with the appearance that if they decided to walk across the rocks they could roam the zoo.

This picture is one of my photographic screw-ups. I tried to explain it to Tom but he doesn't really get it or see the big deal. I shot this - in absolute broad daylight - at ISO 1600. Because we'd just been inside and I was taking pictures of the tropical aquariums at that ISO. They turned out great. I forgot to switch it back to 200. So beautiful outdoor pictures like this are now full of noise or grain. I'd say lesson learned, but I had just done the same thing on our first day walking around the river. I have tons of cool kudzu growing on weird things shots that are all grainy. And when we went to Punta Cana in November, I went from our hotel room (1600) to the beach without changing ISO there too. So I don't seem to have learned anything. Maybe now I will. Yeah, I'm not hopeful.

And I can't believe I forgot. Do you know what happens one week from tonight? Oh, yeah. College football, baby. Looks like I"m going to be forced to watch the team that totally whipped my team in the Sugar Bowl last year when I'd rather watch the Rutgers game, but I'm so excited that the season's starting again that I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Counting down...

Only six more days until school starts. That means six more days where I don't have to stress about where we need to be and when in the mornings. I'm a little worried that I've taken on too much this year, at least three days a week. Miss G's preschool starts at 9 and Mr. T's school starts at 9:20. I have to take them both to both places. They're only a few miles apart, but the hurry-up part will make me a little crazed on those mornings, I think.

It's been rainy and cool here for the past couple of days. I'm starting to think fall, even though I know it's just a tease and will likely be nasty hot by the weekend again. I love fall. I love back to school. Tom thinks I"m insane, but I really love the newness and the whole fresh slate of possibilities. Even now, as an adult who hasn't even been to college in seven years, I can't help but think of all the new things I can do and create. Fall inspires the crafter in me. I always take on new projects this time of year. And get sudden bursts of creativity or organization that just overtake me. On Saturday, I emptied out our very cluttered kitchen to make room for the projects I'm going to want to do. I don't even know what they are yet. I just know that once fall settles in, I'm going to want to create. Something.

Also on Saturday, I bit the bullet and just bought the whole list of school supplies. I'd been trying to buy a little bit along the way so it wasn't all at once. But my memory is kind of crap and I kept forgetting to take the list with me. And of course, I couldn't remember anything on the list except pencils. Yeah, got those. I took the list and bought everything. But I don't mind. I'm actually (not so) secretly happy to have a reason to buy school supplies again. I love them. In years past, I've always bought myself new pens and a notebook or two. Just because. Who doesn't love a fresh notebook and pretty pens?

I'm trying to decide if we're going to shop for back to school clothes. We don't have a tax-free day or anything this year, so there's no incentive there. And Mr. T hasn't really grown so much that his clothes from last year don't fit. In fact, they still look quite nice. And the weather, today's rain excluded, will be warm for at least another month. I'm thinking of waiting until it actually does get a little cooler and trying on his winter clothes to see what he really needs. And Miss G really only needs new tights, since she wears dresses year round. Lots and lots of new tights. Most pairs only get worn once before they have a hole ripped in them.

The last thing I'm thinking about is our trip to the beach. I haven't expressly told the kids yet, but Mr. T is a smart cookie. I think he's figured it out from listening to adults conversations. Miss G and Baby S are going the whole week of Labor Day with my mother. My dad and Mr. T and I are driving down for the weekend. I have these visions of getting loads and loads of stuff done around the house. I think reality is going to go a lot less ideally. But getting some things done will be nice anyway. Now if I can just avoid the black hole that is the Internet.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I need another vacation...

So far, my week back at home is not going well. I washed all the kids clothes from our trip without checking my son's pockets. Of course he had a crayon (or three) in one of them. Every item of clothing is blue, red and yellow. At least we had to back to school shop anyway. Actually, most things came clean after a few turns in a hot washing machine cycle.

Then today I was at the library because I needed brain-free reading material. I have a cold (who catches a cold in 110 degree weather. Apparently, I do) and can't really concentrate on anything, so I thought a little mindless reading was in order. I grabbed a few super-cheesy romance novels (normally, my romance novels are not remotely cheesy), returned my intellectual choices unread and picked up a few knitting books. I like to preview them to see if they're worth buying. Most aren't. Then in the parking lot, I knocked myself out with the car door. Well, not completely out, just backwards a few feet and induced the whole starfield simulation screen saver effect. I sat down and drove to my next errand, except I couldn't remember where I wanted to go. So I just went home. I'm sitting here now alternating typing and icing my increasing head lump.

I so need another vacation.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

24 hours in our car

Our First Sonic
Originally uploaded by christyc730
We drove to Columbia, SC to see my brother-in-law get his Ph.D. It's a 9 to 10 hour car trip that we managed to do in 12 hours. Each way. So in the past week, we've spent over 24 hours in our van (at least that, since we also drove all around sight-seeing). While there, I saw my first actual Sonic. We see their ads on tv around here, but we don't have one (probably there is one someplace, but I don't know where it is). I HAD to try it. It was a little disappointing. Not worth driving twelve hours to get to.

Mainly our trip consisted of a culinary tour of Columbia. I was a little frustrated. I didn't drive half a day just to sit in a hotel room until the next meal. I wanted to go out and do things. But we were there with a large group (pretty much Tom's entire family went down) and it was difficult, if not impossible, to mobilize everyone. It wasn't until it was just us five left that we did anything interesting. We crammed several days worth of local fun into one day. We went to the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens in the morning and the (air-conditioned) SC State Museum in the afternoon. Because - good god it was hot. Way too hot to be outside in the mid-day. The coolest temperature we saw was 91. At night. Mostly it was 100 or above during the day. The hotel pool wasn't even refreshing. It was so warm it was like swimming in sweat.

Monday, August 6, 2007

97 cent yarn

Red Heart Hunny
Originally uploaded by christyc730
I found this cute, super soft yarn at Jo-Ann's on clearance. Who can resist 97 cents for such pretty pink yarn? Not me, obviously. I bought it to knit something (a hat?) for my cousin's baby, who is due in October. Thing is? She doesn't know if it's a boy or a girl. I've pretty much confirmed that it's a boy. My instincts for baby gender prediction are 100% inaccurate. I made my friend an altered notebook/baby journal. The morning of her baby shower, I noticed that I had made it pink. She did not at the time know what she was having. Turned out to be a boy. This is not the only time my instincts have been off. I was wrong on all three of my own children, both my, pretty much everyone I've known who was having a baby, I guessed wrong. I now pride myself on my 100% inaccuracy rate. I buy pink yarn, I tell my cousin she's having a boy. It's practically a guarantee (watch her have a girl now).