Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I have been accused of having a spoiled puppy. Sure, she barks and I come running, but it's not like she gets doggie ice cream (only that once, when we went to the ice cream parlor... really. It had bacon bits.) She doesn't get cookies all the time, only when she goes into her crate (so at least 2 a day) and treats on special occasions. I could spoil her a lot worse, the way she begs for food. But she LOVES her toys. She is very good about keeping them intact and actually still has every single toy she's ever gotten. Maybe that's why it seems like she is spoiled.
This is Petunia the Manatee. I got the stuffed animal from Erin last Christmas, and Ruby decided she really liked it. I tried to keep her away from it, but I get more use of it this way.She really loves the squeaky ones. She will sit and squeak for hours. Especially while I'm on the phone. The yellow spiky ball is squeak-squeak and the pink octopus is Vernon. She also has a turtle named Everett.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
When I was in 11th grade, I wrote this essay for Mrs. Gentry, my AP english teacher. The rest of my class did not appreciate how hard she pushed us, but I loved it. I found this essay as well as a few others while I was throwing stuff out for the move. I took some liberties with it, but the majority of it is true.
The back yard
“You can’t catch me!” I yelled at Erin as I streaked around a corner of the hallway. Her giggling came from close behind me and I could sense the vibrations of her steps through the wooden floor. Emily suddenly popped around a corner and I let out a screech.
“go play in the yard,” my mother called from the kitchen in a restrained tone. So Emily who is four years ahead of me, Erin who is two years my senior and I marched onto the back porch in a grand parade. We stood there; swatting at flies and looking out over the acre of land that was our backyard, trying to decide what to do next.
Along the perimeter of the backyard sauntered a haphazard fence of hog wire, which enclosed our usual area of play. The real purpose of the fence was to keep was to keep enterprising dogs and wildlife out of our garden and chickens, but for me the fence stood as the boundary of civilization, the only separation between me and the wild animals that prowled and growled in the night. Inside the fence sprawled a barn, four trees, a swing, and a playhouse. Of course, to us those things were not just ordinary objects but mystical things.
The barn was a haunted and magical structure wallpapered in spider webs. Inside were the biting but somehow sweet odors of mechanical grease, dry hay, and horse feed. The barn was a graveyard for tools frozen by rust, artifacts of bygone eras. I would never ventured in it too far; for fear that scratchy hay on the back of my legs was really an imagined ghoul. My sisters, of course, never discouraged these fears and often fed them with stories.
The four trees that were scattered around our house not only provided tranquil and relaxing shade on a scorching day, but also a wonderful natural playground. The rough bark of the live oak provided traction for climbing. In the winter, the orange tree gave us succulent, tangy fruit that made our chins and fingers sticky. The avocado tree was mammoth and acted like the bank when the backyard was an imagined town. We never ventured near the key lime tree, which was the wicked witch’s tower to us, with all of its thorns.
The rubber swing hung prominently between the oak tree and the orange tree in the dead center of the back yard kingdom. We used it as a vine when we played Tarzan, a rollercoaster in our theme park, and under unusual circumstances, as a swing. I could sit under the trees as cool as lemonade, listening to the twitter of birds above me and the hum of the dragonflies. A few feet away, I could smell the baking grass and practically see the heat rising from the ground. And yet, I could sail through the thick air like Peter Pan on the swing, the wind on my face.
The last main object in our yard was of great importance to the imaginative careers of our minds. The playhouse was a very sturdy little hut built to the size restrictions of small children. It was the last remaining link to my grandfather, who built it for my second Christmas and passed away not a year later from leukemia. He fashioned the outside of rough boards painted muddy brown and smoky gray shingles. Inside the rough little divided door there was a brightly colored plastic Fisherprice kitchen set that I received for my fifth Christmas, and a tiny table and shelf for things deemed precious by children. On either side of the house, a window was cut into the wall complete with shutters. Outside was a red brick stoop my father laid out with flowering marigolds along the sides. The playhouse was the center of my creative universe. Here I played house through rain or shine and the food I cooked was almost real enough to taste. I could be Snow White living in her cottage or a rancher out on the range. Often I was a pirate and the house my ship. My imagined world was so real I could take days to play out a character. And this sprouted from a single tiny brown building.
When I moved away from those wide-open spaces eight years ago, my heart was shattered. The new backyard did not hold nearly the allure of the old. It seemed barren with no trees or playhouses. But as people do, I accepted the change, and in doing so changed myself.
When I visited my old house recently, I noticed my old backyard had fallen into decay since I last ran in it. The trees are diseased and dying. The little playhouse where I preformed my dreams had all but rotted away to a pile of trash. I mourned the passing of my young childhood spot until I realized that the summer days I had experienced there were not over. My old physical back yard is now just a place for discarded dreams, but my real backyard, the one I played in and dreamed in will always live on in vibrant color in my memories.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Before I leave I have to have dinner with:
Aubrey & Charlie
Hannah, Will & Joey
The Eubanks (Both sets)
The AEC gang
Jodi and the girls
Places to see / things to do:
Millhopper State park
Melrose (yay Thanksgiving!)
Fishing (hopefully Thanksgiving)
Canoeing/Kayaking on Springs/River/Gulf something water related
bats (the campus bat house)
Urban Thread (Ok, so this is shopping... a little different)
Hopefully I will get to everything on my list. I have a lot of stuff to do and not a whole lot of time. If you think of anything else to add or would like to help me accomplish anything on the list, let me know! I will try to put up pictures as I go along.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
People who are nice and don't have to be. I was leaving work one day last week and on the stairs of my building a girl passing me said "I love the color of your sweater! It looks so good on you!" Out of the blue. I've never seen the girl before. Makes me go "aw, people are all right. Humanity is going to be just fine."
I should really do this more. Occasionally I will tell the random stranger that I like their bag or shoes or dress. I usually get a shy smile of surprise and a quizzical thank you. But mostly I think it in my head and never voice my positive thought. It feels good to have people acknowledge you. Other random good deeds also qualify under this, like: holding the door/elevator for some one, returning a dropped item, letting people cut in the grocery line. So basically I am awed at common courtesy.
Free trips. Yay! I get to go to DC for 24 hours! for free! Oh yeah, I do have to interview for a job in that time period. and explore the city to see if I can mesh with it.
This is the first post in my + (positive) running list. I might add a -(negative) running list, but I have to think about it. I want to think good thoughts and highlight what is right in the world. But I might want a place to rant. We will see.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I just discovered a service that is offered in some cities: Greeters. Greeters are residents of a place that volunteer their time to show a visitor around. They introduce the visitor to their favorite local haunts, explain public transportation and, most importantly, personalize an otherwise overwhelming place. And it's FREE! (at least in NYC).
With this type of service available, it would be much easier to explore a new place that you are not familiar with. This is also a great PR tactic for cities with tarnished reputations. If you have friendly people showing you why they live in a place, it's hard to form a bad opinion.
There are Greeter programs in New York City, Chicago, Fairbanks, Houston, Toronto, Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Thanet district in Kent, England; Paris and Nantes, France; the City of The Hague, Netherlands; and ShenZhen, China. I think I will try to utilize this service if I ever find myself in a place that offers it.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Ruby wishes I was a cooler mom. I can see it in her eyes every time we go to PetsMart. "Why can't I have the squeaky? Why am I not allowed to lick the little girl? Fargo's mommy would let him eat the treats off the bottom shelf."
Monday, September 29, 2008
While Emily was out of town last week I got the opportunity to take her spot in the family. Of course there is no substitute for Mommy, but I tried. Kaity, Will and even John were all relatively well behaved. They listened to me for the most part and didn't throw too many tantrums (well John had that one... but I gave him a beer and he was ok).
Monday, August 11, 2008
In my living room, we hung a collage of internationally-themed items. The large tapestry to the left is of Blue-Footed Boobies. It was a present from Anna, from the Galapagos Islands. The big plate I brought back from Mexico. The fish (on the wood plate) is from the Virgin Islands. The other items are just random things I had.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
the abcde's of travel photography
5 essential tips for the budding travel photographer
How to take better photos of landmarks
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Spike the Spider
I spent the first half of my childhood in a house that was ancient by Florida standards. It was 100+ years old, built in the cracker tradition, meaning it was lifted 3 feet off the ground, had windows for cross ventilation, a nice wide porch, a tin roof and was built from pine and cypress. It also had no heat or AC.
The house had plenty of character, but unfortunately, this also meant there were plenty of cracks and crevices for creepy-crawlies to get through. We constantly had visitors and learned at an early age to just ignore them. Our mother taught us that spiders (especially wolf spiders) were our friends, hunting down and eating the nefarious cockroaches (Mom also instilled a slight panic in me when it comes to roaches. Thanks Mom). So we learned to live with our friends the spiders. One in particular sticks out in my memory: Spike.
Spike inhabited the corner of the living room behind Dad's chair. He was probably the same size as the palm of my hand now, so just imagine how giant he looked to a 6 year old girl. He would climb the wall and hang out right above the paneling, where the wood was painted so you could see him really well. It seems like he lived there forever although it probably wasn't very long. I just considered him another one of our many pets, and he contributed by eating bugs. It seems like we eventually figured out Spike was a girl because of an egg sack. Which brings me to another encounter...
Bathing with babies
Another memory that is pretty vivid is my experience with a mother spider and her young. I don't know how old I was, but I was taking baths by myself so probably around 8 years old. I went to fill the bathtub, and there was a big spider in it. Showing the values my mother instilled, i went to shoo it out of the tub. Well one behavior of wolf spiders is that they carry their egg sacks and their young. This spider was a particularly good mother and very productive. babies started streaming off of her, what seemed like thousands. They went EVERYWHERE, and really surprised/scared me. That is a shocking sight, if you ask me! Remembering still makes me shudder. Here is a good mother with her babies:
Mom is probably groaning that I'm telling the world that we lived with spiders and all sorts of things. Next on the memory parade: The snake and the bathtub.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I've told myself since I graduated high school that I would get a puppy once I was out of school and somewhat settled. Well that time has come. When I started looking for my new apartment in Gainesville, one of the requirements I had was the ability to have a dog at some point (along with a washer and dryer). I've been scoping out the rescues in Gainesville to see if there were any dogs that really caught my eye and my heart. I had decided that I wanted a dog, not really a puppy. I also wanted to get it from a rescue. Well fate had different plans and I found the cutest puppy on craigslist.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Sam's family lives on the sound in Perdido Key, so the water is literally a few steps from their back door. In addition to eating delicious food all day, we played in the water. The neighborhood association set up a giant slip'n'slide which we adults warmed up before the kids got there. Here is Miguel going down. It ended in the bay, and like all concerned citizens we diligently asked about the soap they were using to make it slippery and slidey. It was eco-friendly boat soap, so no harm was done to the bay. We checked the traps on the neighbor's dock and found a couple of these rather ugly crabs.
The water was beautiful and on Saturday Sam and I used a seine net to see what we could catch. Some little pin fish and a baby sheepshead were all that got scooped, but we were accompanied by a group of stingrays zooming around us. They seemed very curious and got really close.
It was a very relaxing weekend, filled with good friends and laughter. We didn't really do much, but it was one of those times that you will always remember and will be telling stories about when you get together 30 years from now.
As we all go our separate ways, I have to wonder how often we will get to do this in the future. As we move away, start careers, get married and start families we will see each other less and less. But I know we will always have a bond to keep us together. I was lucky to find such a wonderful group of friends to make my college years special.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
It was great people watching if you didn't let the crowd get to you. There was plenty of tie-dye and hippy stink (patchouli), but also a great variety in people. It amazes me how people can appreciate such different genres of music and get along so well. The standout performances of the night included Julie Black, a local blues/torch singer, Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, a traditional jazz and blues band that practices in the the Subway, Rocket 88, a rockabilly group from Orlando with a crazy show, Soul Rebels, a brass band from New Orleans with hip hop influences. There were many many other great musicians, but these stick out.
So what did I do to celebrate the return of my faithful laptop? Why road trip to Alabama of course! Hannah had a job interview (still crossing our fingers to hear the news) and I didn't have much to do (besides finish all those freelance projects!). So I tagged along for the 8-hour trip. Hannah is persistently pushing a move to Birmingham for me. Of course others are pulling for the frozen tundra of the North. I will go where the jobs lead!
Birmingham was really nice. The weather was unusually cold, and there had been tornadoes in the area, but it was still very pretty. The hydrangeas were blooming everywhere as well as the dogwood. All the people we met were extremely friendly. I don't know if I would know how to react to every shop/restaurant owner exchanging pleasantries with me.
This is a view of downtown Birmingham from Vulcan park.