Thursday, July 31, 2008

Class Catch-up and A Big Duh

As I've mentioned, I'm taking a couple of classes at BPS. I'm loving them! I'm taking Photography 101 with Barbara Carroll and also Have More Fun with Stacy Julian. They also just released a FREE class, 10 Summer Photos To Take Right Now, that's instantly downloadable. Sah-weet! Check it out, it's fun. Since I was sick and then our internet was down, I have a lot to catch up on!

And I thought I'd share one of my "Oh, duh!" moments. I've always been a cheapskate when it comes to printing; I don't really know why this is. I'll download something and just look at it on the computer and then it will stay there forever on my hard drive instead of as a hard copy (which is not necessarily a bad thing--I'm all for saving trees!). But with the photography class I found my eyes glazing over after each page... it's a lot of new info to wrap my little brain around; aperture and shutter speed and ISO, oh my!

So I decided to print out the lesson and then refer back to it over the course of a couple of days. HOLY MOLY! I liked having those hard copies in my hands so much, and I looked at them so frequently, that I decided to print out the handouts for Have More Fun, too. HOLY COW! Wow, I'm actually doing the assignments because I can take the handout with me to my workspace instead of running back and forth to the computer and getting distracted 18 times along the way! Imagine that!

So, yeah--DUH. {Insert slap on forehead here.} Today I printed out 52 pages of handouts and e-mails. That is more than I printed in the entire year of 2007, I would bet. And I can't wait to go through them all!

Notice in the above photo how the title on the "Photography 101" page is more in focus but the edges of the pages in front and the title in the upper right are less in focus? That's because I set my aperture to as high as it'll go on this lens (which means the smallest number) so that I had a shallow depth of field. Holy crap I'm learning something! I was beginning to wonder if aperture would ever sink into my brain!

Lots to do today. See you domani for Favorite {Photo} Friday! And let me know if you're playing along with Stella and Kerry and me!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Buzzing Around

I'm not even going to pretend that this is a good shot, but I still love it. I put out this hummingbird feeder mainly because when we went to the garden store to get critter food I saw these feeders for $1.50. So what the heck? After the squirrels started attacking my bird feeder I had Jason move it and I hung this up from the hook on the deck in its place. And about a week later this little dude found it and has been stopping by many times per day. Of course any time I see him and move to a window he flies away but I just happened to have my camera next to me and got this one through my dirty sliding glass door [note to self--Windex, dude] with the camera on the wrong setting. Now we have two that flit around... the other one actually flies while eating (drinking?) and is more brightly colored while this dude is a lazy bum and perches. Is this a male/female thing or an adult/adolescent thing? Anyone know anything about hummingbirds? Maybe I'll Wiki it. Anyway, I love these little guys as much as our cardinals and they make me happy. Whenever I see any of these winged friends I speak softly to them through the window... "Hello, beautiful little one, thanks for stopping by..."

Today I'm catching up on the forty-eleven-zillion e-mails that piled themselves up in my inbox while our internet was dysfunctional, and I'm zooming about like this little hummingbird. Two weeks of feeling like butt and not getting anything done means lots is weighing heavily on my mind and shoulders and needs to get DONE, DUDE. A friend that I used to babysit might be stopping by for a visit later this week which would be super cool... trying to not be shocked that she is a full grown adult with a job and a life and a car and is fully capable of driving from New York to North Carolina all by herself and stopping by here on the way. How the heck did that happen? Whoa.

Break time's over. Duuude... let's move!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm Not Dead!

I was so sick for a while and then I just went so completely MIA that unless you've been reading my tweets, you probably think I'm dead. Luckily, I'm not! {Yay for me! And Jason's pretty happy about it, too.} But my internet connection is dead (as of last Friday). I hate Comcast! Four days and three+ hours on the phone later I have an "appointment" tomorrow for a technician to drop by "some time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m." Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Comcast sucks *$#@+ {fill in expletive of your choice}. What other business could get away with this?

[Deep, cleansing breath.]

Now, if you disbelieve me that Comcast sucks, or if you just really need a good laugh and/or a good "stick it to the man" story, check out this story. Read the whole thing. Mona "The Hammer" Shaw is my hero. :) {Don't worry, Mom, my hammer will stay in the garage... at least until I'm 75 and can get away with it!}

Luckily I have an aunt and uncle who live not too terribly far away, so I drove over here today and let myself in so that I can download the handouts from my online classes and do a couple other molto importante internet tasks. I was even super smart and brought along a thumb drive with the photo and blog for Favorite {Photo} Friday!, so that is post-dated and up! :)

Now if I don't leave this very minute I will be stuck in the afternoon exodus from D.C. and it will take me 14 hours to drive 25 miles. Bye! And hope to see you soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday #7

Yesterday I mentioned the cool Dr. Kang, with whom I talked about South Korea and some of its many glories. So what better for today than a favorite photo from South Korea?

Jason and I volunteered for him to go to South Korea for one year--without me!--so that we would have our choice of "follow-on" assignments; it's how we got to Italy. I went and visited him in South Korea twice for a month each time. This photo is from my first visit, during August. I would not recommend South Korea in August. But then I'm from Oregon where humidity is a foreign concept (in Oregon humidity falls from the sky and is called rain).

In any event, while Jason was in South Korea that pesky SARS virus was floating around Asia so we weren't permitted to leave the country. Our plans to visit Thailand were foiled, but we did get to travel all over South Korea, which is gorgeous. Whoooooo, baby, I mean gorgeous! It is a beautiful, beautiful country, with wonderful food and kindhearted, helpful people and scenery to die for and out-of-this-world shopping and and and... I love it there. I would love to go back some day.

One of my favorite things about South Korea is just how different it is from America. And this meal that we're having in the above photo is a perfect example. Please forgive my posture, I was trying to lean in for the photo and also I was slighly preoccupied with what was about to happen, which I think you will understand in just a moment. We were in Pusan (or Busan, depending on which map you look at or where you look), which is on the southeastern shore of the South Korean mainland. Jason had been there before and was dying to take me.

So we wander down to the waterfront and into this huge circus-tent type building which is just a huge fishmarket, with stall after stall of aquariums with live fish and other sea creatures. Jason finds the vendor he went to before (because he speaks English and is nice) and proceeds to show me all the fish in the tank and starts ordering different things to try--rockfish, octopus, squid, huge tiger shrimp. And the guy reaches into the tanks with a net, pulls each thing out, chops it up lightning-quick, and serves it to us raw on a plate. Can't get much fresher than that!

Now, here is my favorite part. The octupus was still moving on the plate. So we picked up the wriggling parts with chopsticks, dipped it into the sauce--which was convenient because the wriggling ensured that the piece was coated--and then ate it. We learned quickly that you had to bite into it right away, otherwise the tentacles would latch onto your teeth or tongue. Yup.

A bit after this photo was taken a nice Japanese man who saw us there bought us a sea urchin to try, which is apparently a real delicacy. They crack it in half and all of the spines are still moving while you spoon out the insides and eat it straight. It was even weirder than the octopus, but being that it was a gift--and we were representing America!--we ate it up and thanked the man graciously. :)

There's so much more I want to say about South Korea, so expect more SK Favorite Photos on future Fridays! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Better To Hear You With...

To say that I've had "ear trouble" in my life is akin to saying that Michael Jackson has had "pigment trouble" in his. Except that my trouble started at birth. And also, is not self-induced. And, okay, maybe that's just a really bad analogy. Blame it on the cold meds, alright? :P

But "ear trouble" in my life? Ummmm..... YES. If there is anything more boring than listening to someone talking about their health troubles, it's reading someone's writing about their health troubles. So, let's not go there, 'kay? :P Let's just keep it at this: ear pain is the worst pain I've ever experienced (I'll let you know how it compares to giving birth when I, you know, get around to that), and because of my ear "issues" I am on high alert regarding my ears. High Alert, let me tell you, at any change whatsoever when it comes to my ears. So when I woke up on Tuesday I was 100% confident that I had an ear infection. Which sucks. {And--what am I, three?} What doesn't suck is finding a doctor who has never seen me before but can get me in that same day and be kind and actually listen to me and prescribe me antibiotics and a nice cough syrup to help me sleep. His being from South Korea originally and wanting to hear all about my travels and experiences there--and telling me about a great new South Korean restaurant here!--was just a big fat bonus. Go, Dr. Kang! Thanks, Dude! Kamsahamnida!

So. I am on the road to recovery. But I'm still on cold meds, which means my brain is not really firing on all cylinders, and my ear is still all plugged-up feeling, which makes me anxious, which makes me tired. I know that so many people are dealing with such worse stuff than a silly old summer flu and ear infection, but/so/and I can't wait to just kick this thing in the rear and get back to myself! Thanks for all the e-mails and comments and thoughts. See you tomorrow for Favorite {Photo} Friday!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #6

It's Friday so you know what that means!!!

If you are a normal married person (or half of a couple, in any case) then you know how hard it can be to find another couple that makes a great group of four with you two. When all four people get along and have fun together, it's a wondrous thing. When all four people get along and travel well together it is a miracle on this earth and you praise the heavens and travel the globe together. Or at least a chunk of Northern Italy and Southern Austria. :) Such is the case with friends Keith and Katie. I adore and treasure them.

Jason met Keith about a zillion years ago (or, okay, ten) at one of those Air Force training things to which they both got sent. Later that year we met up with Keith and some of his friends for a group trip down to Mexico where we all rented a house and drank Coronas and went to Papas and Beer and one of us bawled her eyes out over a beautiful little girl begging on the streets at 3 a.m. Ahem. I wonder who that was? Anyway, fast forward eight years or so.

Now is a great time for a tangent. And that tangent would be my theory that Boys Don't Stay In Touch. An unmarried man floats in the breeze, unattached, and we never know where he is or how to get ahold of him unless and until he happens to bump into someone we know, or gets married. It is the women who send out e-mails, "We've moved! Here we are now, come visit if you want!" and Christmas cards, and birth announcements. Women keep things connected, I say. I am in touch with wives of our male friends and oftentimes I haven't even met the woman yet. But her husband is connected to us so there she is, holding all of those strings of connection, and if he says, "I wonder how ol' Duncan is doing," she can say, "Oh, his wife just sent out an e-mail, they're moving to Tampa and she's pregnant." Is it just military wives who do this? I sent out--no joke--175 Christmas cards last year. One hundred and seventy-five. And I knew each and every person to whom I sent them (you get to know a lot of people living the military life!). Women are all about connection, I say. But back to the story.

So we lost touch with Keith, as you can imagine from my tangent. Then one day Jason is sitting at his desk in his office in Italy and who should walk through the door but Keith. Half a world away from when we last saw him. He and his wife, Katie, lived a couple of hours away and he was in town (or on base, as the case may be) for business. So there you go; reconnection. Since then we've traveled all over with Keith and Katie, usually doing outdoorsy things like backpacking in the Chianti region or hiking up killer mountains or skiing. And by skiing I mean, of course, that Jason and Keith and Katie went skiing, while I lounged in the sauna or read a book or swam in the indoor pool or went shopping in the cute and overpriced little shops present in every ski-resort town in the world. :)

This photo was taken in the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy, just a couple miles south of Austria. It is not a great photo because it was taken with a pocket point-and-shoot camera on self-timer at dusk with snow all around us. :) But I still love it. I love it because when I see it I remember the rush of sledding down a crazy mountain trail right after this photo was taken--it would never be allowed in the States, there'd be too many lawsuits, that's how fun it was--and having such a rush at the bottom that I made Jason go on it with me again. I remember the saunas at our hotel, and our friend Phil's "towel treatment" that I had forgotten to warn Katie about (but that's a-whole-'nother story!), and Keith and Jason making fun of Phil at dinnertime for it. I remember all the other fun and amazing trips we went on with them.

But mostly I chose this photo for Favorite {Photo} Friday today because it is 96 bloomin' degrees here and I am sick as a dog, but in the photo it is freezing cold and I am feeling alive and wonderful. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Out of Office

We had a busy weekend last weekend and my introverted self crawled into a hole for a couple days to recover a bit and accomplish some tasks. Just as I was coming back into the world, I woke up yesterday feeling sick. And it got worse. This nasty illness has been going around Jason's office and we saw some of them over the weekend so I'm assuming that's where it came from. My whole body aches and my throat hurts and I have a headache. It probably didn't help my case that I did Pilates on Tuesday for the first time in two years... so between my using muscles I haven't used in ages and the general body aches, I had to have Jason help me sit up out of bed to take my pills! So I'm staying medicated and drinking fluids and having Jason run to the grocery store on the way home for all the "sick food" supplies. Thank goodness for kind neighbors who have Top Ramen in the house and gave me access to their house today so I could have lunch (thanks Roxanne!). :) I hope to do Favorite {Photo} Friday tomorrow but other than that I will probably be MIA for a bit. Everyone at Jason's office says that they were down for about a week so I guess I will have plenty of time to catch up on bad daytime TV and any movies I haven't watched! :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #5

I mentioned before that missing Italy comes in phases. Although I always miss certain things about living in Italy, I'm not in an intense "I'm really missing Italy" phase at the moment. But today two things happened. First, my friend Angela, who is still in Italy, sent me an e-mail about going to the local market and the hilarity of attempting to try on pants in the back of a huge van with one of the back doors opened; she said it made her think of and miss me, which is awesome and also pretty hilarious in and of itself, right? Then I read Deborah's post about her trip to Italy. So here I am back to a photo from Italy for Favorite {Photo} Friday! :)

Here we are in Venice once again. I particularly love this photo. I love how the metal grate is out of focus but you can still see the "Elegant Decay" that is Venice. I love the light and the shadows, which are ever-present in Venice with all of the tall buildings and narrow alleyways. I love that I can remember squatting down on a bridge and blocking foot traffic (Venice's equivalent of a major party foul) to take this shot. It was worth it. ;)


Clean-clean-cleaning the house today. Not a lot of fun but WOW what a load off knowing it's done! Still working on a bunch of things I mentioned in my last post... lately I feel like I am doing a bit of swimming upstream; lots of work and not a lot of results. Bummer, but hopefully over with the mega-cleaning jump-start today! Enjoying both Photography 101 (which I think is going to be a lot more work than I'd anticipated--but in a good way I suppose!) and Have More Fun (which is super fun BUT I haven't kept up with the assignments!) over at BPS. Going to another party at Kerry's tonight, yippee! And I've had a sudden urge to rent a power-washer this weekend and do the outside of the house. We'll see how that plays out.

Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm a Winner!

Yes, indeedy, I am. I don't know what's going on in the universe to cause such a cosmic shift, but I have started winning things. There are a few Truths about me, and one of them has always been, "Cameron doesn't win stuff in random drawings." And that's fine, I've gotten really used to it (although I suppose it has contributed to my "overzealousness" in non-random giveaways... oh, yeah, baby, I rock at Bridal Shower games, bring it on, I want that bubble bath gift set!). :P In fact, whenever I've been at a gathering that included random give-aways, I've always told my table-mates that they have a better chance of winning since they were sitting with me. And then they are all shocked when everyone at the table wins something except me, and I just laugh. Truly. It's happened!

This cosmic shift started at Inspired, where I won an alphabet sticker set from Rusty Pickle during a class with Lance, Mr. Pickle himself. Sure, it was just a couple of sheets of stickers, but I hadn't won anything in so long that I was really thrown for a loop. I felt like I was on Candid Camera or something... surely this must be a set-up? But despite a cursory search of the room, no camera crews or Allen Funt could be found (which would have been really scary, considering he died in 1999). I had actually won something!

Next, I won a seat in Stacy Julian's Have More Fun class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking. That was super cool and amazing, and I could've sworn I blogged about it but I just went back and searched and searched and couldn't find it, so I must not have. It is a great class that just started last Thursday and I'm having fun already! It's an $85 value and that is way more than a couple sheets of stickers, let me tell you! But it was a random drawing that required the purchase of another class (see below) on a certain day, so I thought I just happened to be one of the only people who met the qualification so I won by default. :)

But THEN I entered a random drawing with INO Records, and I won that, too! I didn't even blog about it when I found out because I wanted to make sure it actually came in the mail. And it did!

I won five CDs by Sara Groves, whom I adore! Holy cow! I can tell you what--dear Sara will sound even sweeter, because every time I play these CDs I will remember, "I'm a winner!" :)


Tonight: Heck yeah, Shear Genius is on! Heck yeah, I planned leftovers well so that I don't have to cook (except for onions and peppers)! Heck yeah, I'm finishing up a couple of projects so I can FINALLY mail something to a couple people, including Sooz (please don't hate your cute redheaded friend, Sooz, it's coming! :)).

Tomorrow: Super excited to start my photography class over at BPS!
AND I have a bunch of projects finished that I want to post domani (including the Art Deck, Sooz, will wonders never cease?). AND I plan to finish my catch-up game with Scrap Your Day. AND I still want to tell you all about the fab time I had with K-k-k-Katie and company. [For cripes sake she was gone for a week and she's already blogged about it, make me look bad why doncha, Katie? :)] AND I will mail myself my new journal, Wreck This Journal, on Katie's advice to send it to myself before I wreck it in many other ways. AND maybe I will explain what I am talking about. AND there is some of that pesky housework to be done. I have a spider living in the bathroom off our entryway. I have never seen him/her, but there is a little web in the corner under the counter and a steady collection of dead bugs on the floor. Which makes me want to clean up the dead bugs and leave Mr. Spider there... obviously he is doing a good job of killing all the bugs that somehow enter {shiver}, so I think I will grant him clemency and allow him to stay unobtrusively there. So dead bugs and etc. will be vacuumed, and Mr. Spider will hopefully not be. AND I will hopefully think of a name for him, as long as he's going to be a long-time resident/employee here. Clarence, maybe?

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Could've Done THAT

Catching up #4--Holy cow, this is a record or something!

My cool friend Lisa (see previous Dave Matthews Band post) gave me a starter for Amish Friendship Bread. So I made it on Saturday! It is more like a yummy doughnut in a loaf shape, coated in cinnamon and sugar.

After I took the two loaves out of the oven and let them cool, here is the conversation that happened in my kitchen:

Jason: What are you doing?

Cameron: Trying to figure out how to get this bread out of the pan...

J: Here, let me do it. [Grabs the pan and turns it upside-down onto the cooling rack.]

C: ...without getting cinnamon and sugar all over the clean counter and smashing the top of the bread into the cooling rack.

J: Oh.
After cleaning up the counter again I took this photo and mused that at least it had nice cutting guides now! :) And it still tasted yummy! Ha ha. :)

Snow White

Catch-up #3--It looks like Aimee's not the only Snow White around here!

Last week we went to the garden store. You may recall that one of my goals was to get a bird feeder because I love watching the great birds we have here in Northern Virginia. If you've been bird-feeder shopping lately (and who hasn't?), you will know that there are 801 kinds of feeders, and 800 of them say, "Squirrel Proof!" Which made me laugh out loud, because the reason that we were actually at the garden store? To buy food for the squirrel-feeder that Jason's Dad made him for his birthday. Yup, we actually try to feed squirrels in this family!

And the squirrels love Don's feeder!

I don't know much about squirrel lifestyle, but this appears to be a family with two adults and two youngsters. One of the adults sits up on the feeder and eats and throws stuff off while the other adult eats from the ground and the two little ones run around and chase each other and stuff their faces in between fights. Here are two of them on the ground under the feeder:

They're terribly fun to watch. And frankly, I don't know how they are all not 15 pounds each by now, because they eat constantly. They never run away to bury things for winter, they just sit and eat and eat, and will go through five pounds of food in a day and a half. For crying out loud, I am a full-grown adult human and if I ate five pounds in a day and a half I would gain eleven pounds; where can I buy the metabolism of a squirrel?

Anyway, notice all the yellow things? That's corn, and apparently squirrels don't like corn. That'll come in handy in a minute.

When the food runs out, we can't restock it right away... I mean, jeez, squirrels, do you think that we're made of money around here? For crying out loud, it's not like squirrel food grows on trees or something! Oh, wait.... acorns? Hmm, so, actually, it does. Anyway.... So when the food runs out, the squirrels come over to my bird-feeder because they are greedy little things:

So it was for this reason that I had my camera out and was taking pictures through the sliding glass door into the back yard (the bird feeder is hanging from a hook attached to the railing on the deck).

Now, let me say that we do not live in the woods. We live in suburbs, more or less, 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C. We have an H.O.A. and everything; we just happen to have some undeveloped, wooded property behind our house (which was a major factor in our decision to buy this house, actually). So imagine my surprise when all of a sudden this lovely appeared!

To give you an idea of perspective, here is a wide-angle view that includes the lines in the sliding glass door and the deck railing:

Holy canoli! What an awesome surprise! She just stood there and looked at us as we looked at her and said, "Holy crap!" and "Oh my gosh!" and "Wow!" over and over to each other, until a squirrel running up and down the tree behind her startled her and she wandered off.

And I must admit, watching the deer and the squirrels and the myriad of birds flouncing about (can birds flounce?), I felt a bit like Snow White. Jason even started singing, "Hi Ho, Hi Ho..." I almost got out our broom and sang while I danced around the kitchen sweeping. Almost.

We think that she was attracted to our backyard by all the corn on the ground under the feeder. Needless to say we will not be changing the mix for the squirrels! :)

"Dave Matthews Band" or "I Am Becoming My Mother"

Catching Up #2--Dave Matthews Band Concert!

We went to see Dave Matthews Band with our friends Lisa and Steve. It was a "surprise" for Lisa so that made it extra fun. But at the concert it became very, very obvious that I'm becoming my mother in yet another way. I've never been all that claustrophobic, and I'm usually fine with crowds (up to a point, anyway, since I'm an introvert). But I just about lost it at this concert!

We sat on the lawn, which was fine while everyone was, you know, sitting on the lawn. But when the band (finally) came on, throngs of college-age kids who were drinking Jim Beam and smoking pot (and wearing really, really, really bad outfits) started dancing around and pushing to be up front and walking on our blanket and generally just causing chaos in my brain. ACK! Jason helped me escape to the fringes where I could get some air ('cause I never would've found my way back on my own in the dark!), where I sought the advice of a licensed nurse (my mom) and decided to take half of a little pill I keep in my purse for situations exactly like this (i.e. anxiety). Ten minutes later I felt a lot better and ten minutes after that I wanted to take a nap. :)

Besides that, this concert made me feel old. I kept saying (or at least thinking) things that only an "old person" would say. Things like, "Since when did they start charging ten dollars for a can of beer?" And, "Doesn't she realize that she looks like a hooker in that outfit?" And, "Why do they say the concert starts at 7:30 if they know they're not going to start until 9?" And, "Why are they making every song ten minutes long?" And, "Who would pay $35 for a t-shirt? Do they think we're insane?" And, "What makes them think they can have a concert and not play their most famous song?" And, "It's going to take us forever to get out of here, maybe we should leave early." I know, totally "old people" things, yes?

Indeed, it did take us forever (1.5 hours) to get out of there, thanks to the police officers busy texting on their cell phones, leaving the actual directing of traffic to a bunch of high school kids who probably don't even have their drivers' licenses. Inefficiency chaps my hide so much that had I not been zonked out in the back seat I probably would have gotten out of the car to direct traffic. It's happened before!

So I think that my next concert should be Johnny Mathis or Neil Diamond; I might fit in a little better, don't you think? Then again, I hear those Baby Boomers can get a little wild... maybe I'd better just stay home. :P

Catching Up #1--Rock Band!

Whew! I uploaded a TON of photos to the computer last night and there is a lot to catch up on... also a lot to catch up on around the house so I'm going to try a quick blog, quick work, quick blog, quick work pattern today. Let's see how it goes!

A few weeks ago Jason and I got a chance to play Rock Band for the first time, with cousins Aimee and Aaron. Holy cow what fun! This photo is crap not good but it's the only one I have. I can totally understand now how addictive this game can be, and I also understand how people get caught up in it. Before playing I thought, "Okay, you do realize that you're not actually playing an instrument? That you are not actually making music? That you are not, in fact, a Rock Star?" Yes, my High Horse was very high indeed. Because once I started playing I realized, of course, that players are making music. If you screw up then it sounds awful... if you rock then it sounds awesome. Just like real music with real instruments!

I am not a video game-type person. I'm not very good at them and having people watch me suck at something isn't really my idea of a fun time. But since all four of us were in this thing together, and since Aaron--who is a TOTAL Rock Star (helpful since it's his game)!--was all about having fun and playing together (and never knocked Jason and I for sucking), I gave it a go anyway. :) I played Bass Guitar most of the time because I think it's easiest. I tried out Drums but I was horrible; I mean, truly dreadful. Not only was I not good at it but I just felt like a total idiot, like my hands and my brain were not connected to one another; it was awkward and uncomfortable. Jason said that he felt the same way, and we decided that there must be some music gene that Aimee and Aaron have and we don't, because they both rock.

At the end I actually did vocals for a couple songs and apparently I am best at that because I got 100% on Blink 182's All The Small Things and 98% on Enter Sandman by Metallica, for crying out loud! I didn't even know all the words! Which kind of confirmed a secret suspicion I've always had... I don't have a good singing voice but I do have an ear for pitch... since I think that's what Rock Band measures. Finally, an environment (albeit an artificial one) where I rock! No wonder people like this game! :) Oh, and the fact that my avatar looked like a super hot cartoon version of me didn't hurt, either. :) If only playing Rock Band would make me actually look like my avatar... :P

More later!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #4

Well. Fireworks. 'Nuff said, yes? I like this photo because it is Fourth of July on a Friday and that means I get to choose a firework photo for the day, yay! Just kidding. Mainly I love this photo because the whole time I was taking photos on base in Italy in 2006, senza a tripod (senza means without in Italian, which is similar to sans in French for all you word dorks like me out there) my dear husband kept saying, "Those are never going to turn out. I don't know why you are even bothering." About 30 seconds later my batteries gave out so I didn't have many to choose from, but I still dig this shot because my dear, dear husband has eaten his words. :) Looking back two years later I'm not as enamoured with this photo as I once was... but it's still my favorite fireworks shot to date, and I'm still a heck of a patriot and I can't imagine posting any other favorite photo today than this one. :)


Today: I get to see Katie! Jason and I are braving D.C. craziness and heading downtown to see her fam. She is finding it hilarious (and also useful, I think) that I know when and where everything is occuring and where the best locations for viewing are and that I already have my bag packed and loaded with sunscreen, my camera and extra batteries, two maps, a schedule.... we have said more than once that "opposites attract" (did I mention that she forgot her cell phone charger on this trip?). Also have a couple of goodies packed that I am so excited to share with her and Oliver... I love giving gifts to people I love!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Have a safe and happy day, and enjoy your Independence!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

K-K-K-Katie, Beautiful Katie...

I can't tell you the number of times I heard this song when I was growing up, usually from my grandparents and their friends (since the song is from 1919!). Then when I started high school I went through a big ol' change (what better time for an identity crisis than age 14?) and started using my middle name instead. Which had absolutely nothing to do with the song, and is a story entirely unto itself.

What does have to do with the song, however, is that I have a wonderful friend named Katie, and I GET TO SEE HER TOMORROW!!!! I'm a teensy bit excited. And the song keeps going through my head over and over. I figured that as a prior Katie myself I could get away with giving her all of the Katie-things I use to get... but last time I wrote "Katie-did" in an e-mail to her, her response was, "Katie-oh-no-you-di'n't!" Which made me literally laugh out loud. But I still can't stop humming, "K-k-k-Katie, Beautiful Katie..."

Katie and I met the last night at Inspired in a mini-class... I just happened to sit next to her because there was a seat open and I'd been loving her hair every time I'd seen her the previous few days. As luck would have it, there was a CRAZY lady in our class. (She was the only crazy or negative person there; every other woman there was so cool that it was amazing. Donna Downey is like a cool-person magnet!) But I say that it was lucky that there was a crazy lady, because Katie and I laughed our asses off bonded over it and exchanged e-mail addresses. Then we started this back-and-forth exchange over e-mail that was really... well, crazy! Talking about all kinds of things, typing for an hour at a time about our pasts, loves, laughs, lives. I have to admit, when I met two people at Inspired who said they met via their blogs and are now best friends (even though they had just met in person for the first time), I thought they were kind of nuts. But now I totally get it, because I adore Katie, and she is one of my best friends, even though we only hung out for about an hour in person. When I went through a little crisis recently, she was right there with me, sending e-mails encouraging me and asking all the right questions and saying all the right things. What's better than that? Not much, I tell you!

And this weekend she is in D.C. with her family, and I get to see her tomorrow! I get to meet the famous Oliver who sent Kal these button flowers and then since everyone loved them on her blog he did this cool tutorial. Hello? He is definitely the coolest and most famous five year-old I know. And I get to meet her husband (Oliver's dad), too. But obviously I am most looking forward to seeing, yup, sing it with me: K-k-k-Katie, Beautiful Katie!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Just Doing Some Laundry...