Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Armadillos: 7
Live armadillos: 3
Poo Conversations: 24
Deer: 50
Mosquitoes: 4
Flies: 4 thousand
S'mores: 10
water moccasin: 1
buzzards: 7
raccoons: 3

Indian Names:
Cliff: Eats Fly Smells Like Butt Wampum
Teresa: Eats Snacks Takes Naps Wampum
Jon: Growls at Inanimate Objects
Lydia: Pencil Under Shoe

So our camping trip was a whole lot of fun! Here's the run-down. (And go to Teresa's blog for another perspective and more pictures!)

It all starts with our house full of things to take camping. We push and shove most of it into our car, but some just won't fit. No worries, we think. Cliff and Teresa aren't bringing much, so we'll put the rest in their car. Not so. Cliff and Teresa arrive, and their car is as jampacked as ours. How much stuff does it take for 4 people to go camping?? A lot!! We cram most everything in and headed on our way, stopping to see Cliff's old stomping grounds and to grab some barbecue for lunch.

The campsite is really great. We have a perfect spot, near the showers and the office, and it has two trees just the right space apart for a hammock! We set up our tents, our hammock, our laundry line, and the many bins of food. Jon starts the burgers, and we enjoy the evening. We don't see many mosquitoes at all! We have our first experience with the "breezy" compost toilets.

The next morning, I wake up early, and head off to find a good spot for breakfast and Bible study. I pass the dumpster, which is guarded by several buzzards. When I get back, I head to the hammock for a nap, and then it's time for the Gorman Falls tour! Cliff stays behind to rest, but the rest of us head off. It is amazingly beautiful. The falls are spring fed, and the water is crystal clear, a far cry from the muddy Colorado.

Swimming was one of the reasons I picked this park. I found it in a list of Top 10 Texas Swimmin' Holes. There are three waterholes of spring water at the end of the park. We'd been told it was about a couple hundred yards from the office, so we start off on foot. A couple hundred yards later, we come to a gate. Figuring we misheard, we decide the "couple hundred yards" must start here. We continue. It starts raining. We don't mind so much, because we're dressed to get wet anyway, but it's hard to walk, and really not that much fun. Besides, we've definitely gone a couple hundred yards and haven't seen any sign of a spring. We find a hole in the vegetation that lines the path. Being a curious person, I poke my head in, and it's a tree whose limbs drape all the way to the ground, and vines hang down to form a canopy, and a pretty dry one at that. We duck in to wait out the rain. After awhile, Cliff heads out to see just how much further the spring really is. He doesn't come back, and a family coming from the spring lets us know that he's going to stay. We ask how much further it is, and they say, "Just beyond that tree. I'd say a couple hundred yards." The rain is slackening, so we head off.

Well, several hundred yards after that (and I mean several), we finally see the springs. They're beautiful. The water is clear blue, and floor of the pool is limestone, slick with use and algae. We have tons of fun, lazing around and exploring all the pools. We do see one water moccasin. I'm sure he is as scared of us as we are of him, but we aren't going to stick around and test it out. We enjoy more time at the main pool, then head back for hobo dinners.

By this time (Sunday evening) most people have packed up and headed home. We find out the pros and cons to that very quickly. Pros: We can go wherever we want and be as loud as we want. Cons: The flies have no one else to attract them, and we seem to be their sole food source. It's nasty.

On Monday, the rain starts around 2:00pm. Hoping it will be short and sweet like on Sunday, Jon and I wait it out under a large tree. The previous campers under that tree said it was a good cover, "just like it's not even raining." We enjoy it for about the first 2 minutes, and then we are soaking wet for the next 30. Cliff and Teresa had sought refuge in their car, and had driven around a bit. At one point, the rain stops, and we dry off enough and got in our car as well. But the rain starts up again, and eventually, we're all in one car, heading to Lampasas, an hour away, to wait it out. We decide to eat dinner there and get back just in time for bed. Our plan works just fine--it's not raining by the time we get back--except that everything in Cliff and Teresa's tent is soaked.

This poses a problem, because the forecast calls for more rain, and right now, we're down to one tent, one set of sleeping bags, one set of clothes.... We realize that C&T aren't going to get to sleep in the tent that night, so in the light of evening (and later the Coleman lamp) we pack everything up, drying it as much as we can before shoving it into the two cars. Everything's a wet mess, and our cars are in need of Febreze. We leave camp at 10:15pm, with lightening confirming our decision to go. C&T stop for the night in Waco, and we head on home. We hear an emergency announcement on the radio about tornadoes and heavy rains in the area where we left. I have a fleeting thought of the Park Ranger coming out to warn us, only to find that we've been "swept away," with not even a box of matches left behind.

We pull into our driveway at 2:15am, leaving everything in the car but what we needed that night. We both take showers in hot water, enjoying the feeling of clean, then sink into our bed about 3am.

Today, I'm glad I'm at home for my last day of vacation. We slept in, then unpacked, and we'll have the day to do laundry before I have to go back to work. It was a great vacation. We shared a ton of laughs with some of our closest friends (my stomach actually hurts from laughing!), and we made lots of memories.

To see the pictures full-size and leave comments on them, click on the Picasa link. To turn off my captions, click on the green thought bubble in the lower left-hand corner of the slideshow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saying Goodbye

Jon and I are getting together all the photo lab equipment I have. A professional photographer gave it to me several years ago, and I've held on to the hope of using it someday. But we keep moving it from place to place, with no real hope of having room to use it. It would require a room (with running water) all to itself, which means a very large bathroom we couldn't use for anything else, or maybe a basement. Either way, labs are dying off, and pretty soon the only supplies I'll find are the ones in my own boxes.

So...we're doing inventory today to see if I could sell it--maybe I could make enough off of it to buy a semi-professional digital camera. A new camera plus the software I already owns gives me the same quality as the boxes and boxes of chemicals, tubs, timers, lamps and beakers that I have now. Still, going through it all (and remembering how complete it is) makes me want to keep it. And, it's sad to realize that what is literally thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies will probably sell for a fraction of that.

As you can tell, I'm really struggling with letting it go. The man who gave it to me did so in good faith that I, an aspiring photographer, would learn and grow from it. I feel like I'm betraying his faith in me, though (if I want to rationalize) the money would be used for the same purpose. Selling it is a recognition that I can't dive into every hobby I enjoy. I loved spending hours in the darkroom in college, smelling the chemicals as I entered, and seeing the magic of a perfectly-exposed image appear on a clean white sheet of paper. I like working with my hands more than with a mouse and keyboard. And I'm a nostalgic kind of person, who can appreciate that a master has worked with this enlarger, using these tubs and tongs, to make great things.

However, I also remember the hours I spent to get one print right. Even if I did have the basement, I don't have that kind of time. And it's not a good idea to move these things around until I do.

So, despite my emotional attachment, it really must be sold. I'm already regretting it, yet at the same time I know it's the right thing to do. I can't hang on to everything. I'll still enjoy photography, only digitally. And my garage (and anyone who helps us move in the future) will thank me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Doodle of the Day

Testing the Blogger Widget

Just testing out the Blogger widget on my dashboard. There's no place to add photos, which isn't as fun. But still a good way to jot down quick notes.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vacation Time!

Everybody needs a vacation every once in awhile. Jon and I took a vacation in January, and really enjoyed it. But that feels like it was forever ago! The call of summer has been loud and clear. Jon being a bum all day hasn't helped. :) The problem is that 1) I'm trying to actually save vacation days, instead of having nothing left each year to roll over, and 2) a vacation that doesn't include a visit to family is expensive! So, we've decided to take a long weekend (only 2 days off work), and go camping!

Colorado Bend State Park is our destination. It's in the Hill Country of Texas, just north of Fredericksburg. (Check out that picture!) We're going to stay there three nights, the longest I've ever been camping, I'm pretty sure. There are lots of trails, waterfalls, and caves. The park was listed in the Top 10 of Texas Swimmin' Holes, so we'll definitely be swimming, as well as fishing and canoing.

The best part is that Cliff and Teresa are coming with us! A little over a year ago, we went to Austin together. It was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. This trip will be our last before they move, so I'm glad we could squeeze it in.

One thing about this trip, though, is that we'll really be roughin' it. No electricity, no normal bathrooms with showers, and water in a central location to all the sites--not at each site. When I found that out, I called Teresa to make sure that would be okay (I'm not a seasoned camper, so I would have probably backed out pretty quickly). After talking about it, we both realized we'd all been overseas and handled squatty potties; we could do this. Plus, Cliff has a portable shower. (How random is that?!) So, with the comfort of the portable shower in my mind, I made the reservations.

I only remember camping once when I was a kid. My mom made bacon, and then scrambled the eggs in the bacon fat. Yummy....I always wondered how she knew to do that, when we'd never been camping. And why we didn't go more often. My dad is a natural outdoorsman, and would camp with the Boy Scouts, but we only camped as a family that once. I also remember racoon tracks, and playing games until our eyes were blurry. That was so great.

Jon grew up camping. His family would camp all over the place, and kept their gear ready, so they could leave on a whim. Jon says they had the reputation of taking the rain with them. Walter jokes about offering to hire themselves out to drought-stricken areas--their record for rain was so good. :) That hasn't held true with our camping trips now, so it must be another member of the family who holds the curse.

We've been camping overnight twice with our class from church. Both have been really great times, and I always wish we could stay longer. Now we get to! I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to the break, and the time to spend with friends.

Did I mention that I'm the only one who has to take off work? Bums.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fireplace Innovation

The fireplace is the least energy-efficient part of most homes. Our fireplace leaks when it's raining, so we guessed that our heat and cool air whoosh in and out as well. We decided to make an insulating board to cover up the fireplace. Jon took some measurements, we made a couple trips to Home Depot, put on a couple layers of paint and some glue, added insulation on the back and weather-stripping around the side, and voila! A pretty, yet efficient, fireplace cover.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fabric Fabulous-ness!

Last week, KarenD and I went to Hancock Fabrics, because it was closing. I just wanted to look around, and didn't have anything in particular in mind. However, while we were browsing, I found the best fabrics! They're fun and trendy, and I thought they'd work perfectly for LMNOvations, Leanna's and my craft business. So, after sending Leanna some pictures, and talking it over, we ended up buying 45 yards of fabric. It was perfect.

So, it's been sitting in my house for a couple of days, and I realized how much I loved the fabric. It would never go in my house, because of the very traditional blue/maroon/beige flowered-y couch that we have. Then, someone suggested a very good idea to me: why not cover the couch! We've tried a slipcover before, but those things are always sloppy looking. However, if I cover it myself, and cover each cushion individually, it will not only stay in place, but also look nice. So that's the goal. And I've picked out a coordinating fabric for curtains.

KarenD saved the day today by getting the fabric for me at Hancock's. She called me at the cash register, and the girl had rung the fabric up wrong, so it was going to cost me over $100. However, Karen pulled out her haggling skills, and in the end we got a good price.

Here's the amazing part. The fabrics were originally sold at $16.95/yard. Then, because they're being discontinued, and the store was closing, we got a great price. I bought a total of 75 yards (yeah, I'll be sewing...a lot), which would have originally cost $1,376.89. How much did I spend on it?

Sixty bucks.

And half that is LMNOvations costs, so my couch and curtains are $30. Sweet.

Monday, June 04, 2007

World Market

Margie and I went to World Market a couple of weekends back. We spent 3 or 4 hours in there (we lost track), and touched literally everything they had. Are looking for something specific? Ask us, and we'll tell you if you can find it at World Market. They do have lots of international instruments, which were tons of fun (and very loud and annoying, I'm sure). Here are pics!

Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm Organized!

So today, I (finally) found my Organizing for Life book. You'll never believe where it was! Did I stick it in the refrigerator in a (not so) momentary lapse into absent-mindedness? The dresser drawer, mistaking it for a pair of socks? Maybe stashed among the pile of work that invades the table? Nope. All good guesses, but none of these places.

It was on my bookshelf! It turns out I am slightly organized, but didn't expect to be. I was looking for something different when I found it. Hooray! My quest for organization can continue!