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.