Saturday, June 30, 2007

Digital/Polaroid


OSdudes
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I stumbled upon several tutorials on about.com on using Photoshop Elements. The first tutorial showed you how to make your digital photos look like polaroids.

Smart guy Mensa Boy asked if they show you how to make the photos look lumpy and bumpy from the layers of paper not sticking well together.

It is kind of funny that you would want to take a new technology and make it look like something produced with old, but it was fun learning how to work with layers.

This was taken some time ago. Mensa Boy and mini-mensa boy were playing with scissors and paper.

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Photo Scavenger Hunt


bassmailbox
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Not a good photo, but it came to mind this morning as I was surfing through the Digitial Photography School forums. There is a thread that is a scavenger hunt. It's been going on for several months now. You post a photo and then tell what kind of photo you'd like to see next. A guy posted a "romantic" photo of a red rose and asked for an ornate mailbox. This isn't exactly ornate, but it's what I had. I asked for a photo that makes me think "heat."

It's been hot here. And somewhat stormy. Today it's only supposed to get to 85, but it's 72 already at 7:34 a.m. So I doubt it will considered a pleasant day. I haven't been outside yet.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

To Answer the Question...

If I'm not a Nerd? What am I?

52% nerdiness, 30% geekosity, 34% dork points - Pure Nerd

According to this test:
OkCupid! The Nerd? Geek? or Dork?

(For Kristen)

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Scoring Nerds


I am nerdier than 27% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gone But Not Forgotten


SixMileCemetery8
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Today I will be writing a story for the paper about a new Presbyterian church that is starting here in Indian Land. The new church is fortunate because it will be on some prime land right on the major highway that cuts through our community. The property belonged to the Presbyterian church already. There is an old church and cemetery on the site now. The old building and cemetery will retain the name Six Mile, but the new church will be called Faith Presbyterian.
This marker says "Gone but not forgotten." I think that pretty much sums up the old Six Mile church.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Farm Dinner


PastaSquashGoldenBeets
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Last week our meal was inspired by The first fennel of summer in our farm box. Tonight's meal was inspired by the golden beets and green & yellow squash.

And "Fine Cooking" magazine.

Before I left for the farm, I decided to see what Fine Cooking might have about some of the produce I expected to get in my box. Sure enough, this recipe for "Rigatoni with Summer Squash, Spicy Sausage & Goat Cheese" was on page 44 of the July issue.

In my family, any pasta and any sausage goes over big. They are all guys, after all!

The beets were roasted in an open casserole lined with foil. I cut off the tops and bottoms, cleaned off any hanging debris, and placed them in the casserole dish, drizzling them with olive oil. I baked them at 400 for around an hour, took them out, and let them cool.

Right before serving I pulled the skins off the beets, sliced them, and tossed them in a warm skillet with butter.

The pasta dish was simple too. I squeezed hot italian sausage out of its links and browned it in a skillet. Removed that to a plate, and then sauteed shallots and a little more than 2 1/2 cups of diced squash until the squash was just starting to turn translucent. I then tossed everything into a pot of hot, cooked penne pasta (I didn't have rigatoni). Oh, that was a one-pound box of pasta.

After heating it all up again, I removed the pot from the stove and tossed in 4 oz of feta cheese.

We garnished with parmesan at the table and I tossed ribbons of basil from my herb pots on top. (The recipe called for flat-leaf parsley, but I didn' t have that.)

A very satisfying meal. Check out this month's "Fine Cooking." There are other nice pasta recipes in there, all very quick, it appears.

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They Did This


Taylor&Fred
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
As I pulled into the driveway this afternoon I was met by these two.

Later I heard one say to the other, "I'm going to keep my helmet, but there's nothing I can do with my body."

Don't we all feel that way sometimes?

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When You are Cut Off from All Your Toys


SkyOverIndianLand
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
As I mentioned earlier, we had no telephone, no television and no internet access yesterday for a while.

And so some of us went outside. The guys to play, me to reflect and read and whatever.

You notice stuff when you are cut off from computers and phones. We had a cool sky last night.


But then, I also noticed stuff INSIDE the house: SOMEONE had dialed the thermostat down to 76. Goosebumps on my arms were my first warning sign.

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Essential Elements


EssentialElements
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I've always loved my charcoal chimney starter, but never more than in the past few weeks.

Many essential elements that make our home happy and healthy have been breaking down recently.

Our oven. Yep. The same oven I've complained about off and on for the last 5 years. That's about it...it's off and on. It just decides not to ignite.

Our refrigerator. Not a breakdown, per se, but a loud noise we are are hounded about periodically...about once a year...where it sounds like an airplane taking off (and believe me, my career as an Air Force kid and as an urban housewife living under a major metropolitan airport gives me plenty of qualifications to tell you what sounds like an airplane taking off).

My cell phone. Just didn't come on one day last week. That ended up costing me another 2-year agreement with the service provider I love to hate. And a new phone.

My computer. With it's fragmented registry.

And our wireless network, to which I tweaked the security and subsequently brought down our entire internet connection for half a day.

And finally, a breakdown that had nothing to do with our own equipment, but a breakdown nonetheless...some construction people chopped through the communications line to our part of our community and knocked out phones, internet and cable TV for about 12 hours yesterday.

So this charcoal chimney starter? It's been a lifeline for us. It never fails. Sometimes the charcoal itself is a problem, but the starter always performs as expected.

My older son and I are creatures of habit. We like things to stay the same. We don't roll with the punches very well. The other two find each glitch to be another fascinating pothole in the road of life that needs to be poked and prodded and explored. Nate and I like our essential elements to continue as they should.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Patterns and Shadows


CurtainShadows
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Good morning!

For some weeks now I've been lurking in a photography group on Flickr called "D40/x Challenge." The group is exclusively Nikon D40 and now D40x users who like to play and work with their cameras. Each week a challenge is offered and the last couple of weeks I've submitted entries. Actually, I should clarify...there are challenges and then there are opportunities to just show your favorite (whatever the theme is). Last week we submitted photos of just our favorite photo of the week. Sometimes they are favorite summer photos...whatever strikes the group's fancy.

Last week the challenge was "Patterns." So I submitted this one. It was by no means even close to being one of the better entries, but I enjoyed walking around with my camera looking for patterns to shoot. This is of the end-of-day sun shining through my kitchen window onto my island cupboards. So of course it was rather low in the sky...the sun, that is... I have curtains on that window, after a fashion. They are kitchen hand towels with pictures of vegetables on them. There are 4 of them and I have them just thrown over the rod and tied with a ribbon in the middle.

So now I've spent way more time on that subject than I meant.

This weekend I saw three movies. All good, two excellent.

The first was "The Final Cut." Now, this was an excellent movie! Starring Robin Williams, the story takes place in the future, when many people (but not all), have microchips implanted in their brains that record every single moment of their life. Williams' character, Andy Hakman, is a "cutter." When a person dies, the microchip is removed from their body and Hakman uploads everything to a computer and goes through it all to make a video of their life for the family. The video is viewed during a "rememory" event.

Of course, he sees all the good and all the bad of each person's life and has to figure out what to keep and what to delete.

But Hakman has a part of his own past that he is tormented by, (a shadow, if you will indulge my attempt to tie today's entry to today's photo) and during one assignment, he sees a clue about it in the other person's life.

This was a fantastic movie! But very creepy. And an unexpected ending.

I'll have to tell about the other movies later. I've already spent half and hour on this post and there are things to DO!!!

Have a great day!

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Story Wrinkle


DosingGuantanamo
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Amazing what a little wrinkle can do to a headline.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Family Communications, Part Deux

"TAYLOR!"

"what?"

"TAYLOR!"

"WHAT?"

"TAYLOR!!!"

"WHAAAAATTTTT??????"

"COME HERE!!"

shuffle... shuffle.... "what?"

"It is customary, when a parent calls and doesn't say anything in conjunction with your name, for you, the 'call-ee' to come to the parent, the 'call-er,' and then to ask 'What, dear parent, may I do for you?'"

[[grin]]

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Friday, June 22, 2007

My Mail


CocoaAlmonds
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Anyone who spends any time on my blog knows by now that I have cool friends.

I have one that lives in Rochester, MN. I went to visit Julie in February and managed to snarf down most of a box of Cocoa Almonds she had on the counter in her kitchen. She bought them at Trader Joe's in Minneapolis.

We don't have a Trader Joe's. For a year I've been driving by the little mall where the Trader Joe's is supposedly going to be, but it never seems to appear. Just the same sign taunting drivers that it is "Coming Soon!"

Julie has kept me in Cocoa Almonds by mailing me boxes of them. I hoard them, allowing myself only 5 each day. She seems to know when I am just about out. The box that showed up last week was when I was down to around 10 left (I skip days to make them last longer).

Julie is indeed "She Who Makes It So!"

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A Day of Play


SixMileCemetery
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic

Yesterday was pretty much a day of play for me. Enjoyable from beginning to end, it was much-needed. But of course today I will need to nail myself to the desk to get caught up.

I began the day with a massage at 10 a.m. I went to a new person that is a neighbor of my friend Tambri. Rose was wonderful and didn't hurt me! She was quite sensitive to the tightness of my muscles and worked out quite a few knots. I can feel it still today...where she broke up some of those. Doing a bit of jazzercise and some yoga last night and this morning has helped. And of course the gallons of water I drank yesterday. I will definitely go back to Rose. The overall muscle tension I've had for the last several weeks is much better.

At 11 my friend Nannette had a massage too, and then we met Tony for lunch at Amazing Wok. I love that restaurant. I've not had a bad meal there yet. And I don't come away thirsty from all the sodium. They must not use too much MSG. But the best part of it is that they do right by the veggies. They are always crisp.

After a very short break at home to check email, Tony and I went to the site of an old, closed Presbyterian church to interview the new pastor that has been sent to Indian Land from the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.). The new church, to be called Faith Presbyterian, will probably start meeting this fall. They will take over the property of Six Mile Presbyterian. Tony and I wandered through the cemetery there while waiting for Pastor Bender and there is this lovely cemetery there. I shot just a few photos. I'd like to go back at sunrise or sunset one day.

After another brief time at home, during which I invited our local cable company in to fix our cable television FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS WEEK, I went to Jazzercise. My entire posse of close friends were at this 30-minute "express" class and we had a great time.

Then our class and the Rock Hill class converged on Los Aztecas in Fort Mill to enjoy the longest day of the year over margaritas and dinner. I'd say there were probably 35 or 40 of us on the restaurant's deck. We had a great time, but of course my brain shut off around 8. I was glad to mindlessly follow Tambri and Rena home...letting them set the pace while I just followed the brake lights.

And so this morning I leave you with this news story that has become fodder for many dark jokes these past couple of days. From the WBT news website: (the "maybe" instead of "may be" is their thing, not mine)

E Coli Outbreak In China Grove Restaurant Maybe Over Goat Slaughtered In Kitchen

AP-Health officials in Rowan County say an E. Coli outbreak can probably be blamed on a slaughtered goat.The goat was in the kitchen of the Captain's Galley restaurant in China Grove after-hours one evening in May.Officials say the utensils used to slaughter the goat were then used to prepare food.More than a dozen people became sick, and an 86-year-old woman died last week after suffering from complications from an E. Coli infection.The restaurant had been allowed to stay open during the investigation, but it is now closed indefinitely.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The First Fennel of Summer


TilapiaandChard
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
In yesterday's box of goodies from my CSA farm, I received some young fennel.

I like fennel. Especially with fish. Especially roasted.

So I whomped up this supper last night.

Tilapia cooks fairly quickly, so I gave the fennel a bit of a head start. I put the sliced fennel in an oven-proof skillet with a bit of olive oil. Started it on top of the stove and when it got a sizzle on, I slid it into a 400 degree oven.

After 2 or 3 minutes, I pulled the skillet out and layered on my tilapia fillets, some thinly sliced lemon, crushed fresh garlic, a diced baby eggplant, and these halved cocktail tomatoes. A bit of salt and pepper, a little more olive oil and I slid it back into the oven for about 10 minutes.

Really you could do this with just about any veggies, but here are the reasons I chose what I did:

1. Cocktail tomatoes-these are the only fresh tomatoes I will eat when it's not local tomato season. They are expensive...like $3.50 for a little mesh bag of them...you get maybe 2 dozen for that. I had a few left over from last week and the lettuce is done, so I knew I wouldn't be having salad for a while.
2. Garlic-farmer Sammy has been giving us freshly-pulled garlic each week...a fist or two. This garlic is not dried at all...it's fresh and moist and packs a powerful punch. Using it is unlike garlic from the grocery store.
3. Baby eggplant-I used this more as a personal joke that only I knew about. Sometimes I open the box from the farm and find an item where there is so little of it that it's not even a serving. This week, nestled in with the squash, was this tiny little eggplant. About 3 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. By the time I peeled it and diced it, I had about 3 tablespoons of eggplant. Not enough to cause alarm with the kids.
4. The fennel-I explained that. Fennel to me speaks "give me fish." Don't know why. I should probably expand my horizons but I really only use fennel a couple of times per year.

As you can see, my accompanying side was rainbow chard. I love chard. Especially sauteed in a skillet with a little olive oil and garlic. The chard and garlic from the farm, of course.

Anyone who reads me on a regular basis knows I gain a great deal of satisfaction from a meal that is mostly from the farm. This was it!

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Playing with Slooooow Shutter Speeds


GhostNate
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
As I slowly learn what some of the different settings are on my camera, I get some kind of cool stuff. A lot of junk too, but that's the advantage of a digital camera.

The main problem I have is that I can't REMEMBER the stuff I learn. So I have a little notebook that lives in my camera bag with cheats about different situations and what kinds of settings to try. Even then I get a lot of wasted shots, so I try to shoot several photos for the paper using "Auto" as a back-up.

So last night Nate was going through many gyrations as I tried several shutter speeds. This is the slowest one. It's a question of endurance, too, as the shutter stays open for a very very long time...like a minute...so he had to keep up the motions for that entire time.



Here is Taylor getting into the act as he sits at his computer.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

In Honor of Father's Day

I thought I'd post a photo of "The Bob Family."

Taken last summer at the Bodie Lighthouse in Cape Hatteras.

Post production courtesy Greg Schneider. Thanks Greg!

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Kept Out


KeptOut
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic

Orkin works, I'm telling you. The bad thing is that whenever I open the front door in the summertime, I have to step over dead bugs. They come right up to the door and die. It makes it hazardous to walk out to get the newspaper barefoot.


This is just one of many flying insects that were not necessarily trying to get into the house. They were just attracted to the outdoor lights. I know we prolly shouldn't have them on all night like that, but it's a security thing.


Yesterday while driving home from Erskine I almost flipped the car off the road. WOOD TICK! On my ARM!


I am pretty good about bugs and animals and reptiles and kids. But wood ticks really give me the creeps. Of course, all the way home I kept imagining wood ticks crawling on my sandals.

Here's a photo of me that Nate took on campus yesterday.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

File This Under: Ya Learn Somethin' New Every Day


PatronsofHusbandry
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
This was on the edge of the town of Donalds, S.C.

"What are Grange Patrons of Husbandry?" You ask.

Per Wikipedia:

The Grange movement in the United States was a farmers' movement involving the affiliation of local farmers into area "granges" to work for their political and economic advantages. The official name of the National Grange is the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Some consider the organization a special interest group. Founded after the Civil War, it flourished until the end of the 19th century. Many small rural communities in the United States still have an old "Grange Hall" standing on Main Street. The word "grange" comes from a Latin word for grain, and is related to a "granary" or, more generically, a farm.

In 2005, the Grange had a membership of 300,000 with organizations in 3,600 communities in 37 states. They occupy a building in downtown Washington, D.C., an 11-story building they had built in 1960.

Full article

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Stuff I Learned From My Friends Today

"Quaaaar"--apparently the southern pronounciation of "queer."
"That's a quaaar one, Lucille."
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It is worth it to sit under the butt of a giant statue of a horse in a restaurant if you can look between his back legs to see Tiger Woods on the television.
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Divorce Battle Centers on Braves Tickets:

ATLANTA (AP) -- A divorced couple is feuding over tickets to see the Atlanta Braves. A psychologist -- Elizabeth King -- accuses her ex-husband, lawyer Charles Center, of breaking their 2002 divorce agreement to divide the four tickets they had shared behind home plate. The Atlanta couple owned tickets to 81 home games in a three-way partnership with other baseball fans. Every year King and Center had four tickets to 27 games. When they divorced, he agreed to take the first home game every year. Then each would get four tickets to 13 games. After one of the partners died last year, King's ownership increased to a full third: 27 games. The 82 season tickets are still in her ex's name, and he has been in charge of dispensing them to the partners. The couple hardly looked at each other during a court hearing yesterday. King testified that Center had gone out of his way this year to give her tickets to games that conflicted with her schedule. And she claimed 80 percent of the tickets he gave her were for day games -- implying he'd done it because he knows she has skin cancer. Center testified that the four tickets to 27 home games cost about six-thousand dollars. And he said he was distributing them to her the way he'd always distributed them, sequentially, according to a mathematical formula. He said he adjusted that arrangement when people asked or if there were conflicting schedules. So far, attorneys' fees come to about 13-thousand dollars. A frustrated Superior Court Judge Melvin Westmore -- after a hearing of two hours -- ruled that he would not cite Center with contempt and urged the two to settle it out of court.

*********************************
A discussion at lunch ensued about the funeral of Ruth Bell Graham. It's to be a public funeral in Montreat, N.C, the couple's hometown. Shuttles have been arranged to carry visitors from Black Mountain to Montreat, as there are less than 40 parking spaces at the funeral location.

Question at the table: "Would you go across the state, or across the country, to the funeral of a popular personage you have admired greatly?"

Everyone said "No."

Then this comment: "Well, maybe for Willie Nelson."



Can you see now why I have such powerful abs?

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Happy Feet


toerepaired
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
The toes are all reasonably happy today. The big one, with the most damage, is not really the painful one. The second one, next to it, and the third one, both sustained some damage and bruising. They seem to hurt a little more.

Incidentally, do you know how much SKIPPING is involved in the average Jazzercise class? Well...let me tell you, you really notice when your toes hurt.

The pedicure went really well. As long as I didn't look at her while she was working on the damaged ones, we were good. She was very nice and I'm going to go back to see her in July for a haircut. The salon is Salon Salon in Indian Land, SC. Yes...I think it's a dumb name too. But I like the girl, so why not?

Today I go back to the scene of the crime and take photos of the work the crews are doing. It's a good day for it...overcast. So the photos should have good color without glare. Then I need to write the story and send it all in.

There she is. Kathy my pedicurist (is that what you call them?) See how nice and pleasant she looks? I couldn't kick her.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Damaged Toe


DamagedToe
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
"Hmmm...wonder what it would take to get Karen to go for a pedicure?" My friends ask periodically.

Well. This. I fell up the steps to a house I was visiting while pursuing a news story. Other than the time I locked my keys in the car at an interview, this was the most embarrassing reporter's moment in my life to this date.

The toe hurts. So does the other one. Actually, I think the one "that stayed home" hurts the most.

I'm scared to touch it. But both toes need trimming. So...

On the way home I stopped in at a local salon. The salon that I did a new business story on last winter. The salon where the owner ended the interview by saying to me, "You should come in to see us. Your bangs are too heavy." Yup.

Why did I stop there? It's on the way home. They are having their Grand Opening. Maybe they will be nice to my pocketbook. And I'm not mired in depression anymore, so if they say some stuff about my hair I probably won't cry.

I might cry when they touch my sore toes, though. We'll see.

Maybe I'll see if they can teach me to put my hair in a ponytail for Jazzercise, too. We'll see.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rainy Rose


Rainy Rose
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
It's been stormy here the last few days. And it's a good thing. We've been parched, seriously parched. This photo is actually from a year ago, but my roses do look like this today.

I'm being plagued by computer problems these past couple of days. Unable to open both components of Photoshop Elements. The computer in general is acting a little sketchy. I'm concerned that I'm headed for a big crash. Perhaps a memory stick is going. This computer, bless it's heart, is 6 years old and really runs like a top. But it does blow out memory sticks every couple of years.

And so I've been trying to do one more backup (my last one is a couple of months old) before doing some maintenance and repair tasks. But my network is kind of hosed up too. I can see the other computer, but not talk to it. I need to get that fixed today so that I can drag the contents of my hard drive over to the partition on theirs that I've set aside for that purpose.

And work for The Clevelands. And go to Jazz. And have lunch with a friend. And go to the Lutheran's Bible study tonight.

So it will be a busy day. I'll need to stay on task!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You Do Whaaaat?


GI Joe
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Question of the day:

Brush your teeth before breakfast or after?

This came up in a conversation with my friend Jenny last night. She is going to do her weekly weigh-in this morning and I said, "So. Tomorrow morning you'll get up, brush your teeth, weigh yourself, and then get dressed."

"Oh my no!" She said. "I won't brush my teeth."

I thought perhaps it was a joke about weighing as unencumbered as possible...perhaps the toothpaste would add weight (yes, we are twisted). But no...she is of the school that says you brush your teeth after breakfast.

As my dad told Mensa Boy many many years ago, "That's just barbaric."

MB says he changed eventually because he realized he couldn't go up against the entire family. (yeah, he's joking)

He does admit that our family's penchant for showering at night before bed was a change he happily made. It just makes sense. Go to bed nice and clean. The bed stays fresh. Saves time in the morning. Yada yada yada. I do have to say our family's personal hygiene schedule really comes in handy when at the beach with his sister's family, or when we are camping. We have free use of the bathroom at night...no shower traffic jams, no problems with hot water, etc.

Truth is, I simply can't function in the morning without brushing my teeth first. Who knows what sort of mess I'd end up eating for breakfast if I hadn't brushed.

Whaddayoudo?

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Coming Attraction


ComingAttraction
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
This old, closed-up theatre in Inman, S.C. had this poster in front. I like the sense of humor.

Yesterday we drove 2.5 hours away from home and dropped Nate out in the middle of the country.

Does that sound like someone taking a batch of kittens out to the country to dump them? In a way it felt like that.

This bothered me more than his first day of kindergarten. This is the first time I've taken one of my kids to a place I've never heard of, dropped him into a situation where I don't know a soul, and I don't know what he'll be doing while he's there.

He'll be fine. But I felt bad for him, a little. Although he seemed to have a fairly good attitude about it. I sent him a text message this morning asking how he slept and he replied that he dropped off right away. He has a pretty severe sunburn from his day on the boat with his best friend's family, so I sent him with Tylenol PM for night and Naproxen Sodium for the daytime.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Store Wars (Vegetables Star Wars)

Peaceful Repose


PeacefulRepose
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
When I saw this photo I had to remind myself that this is Taylor, not Nate!
Today we drive Nate to Erskine College for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference. It will be a long day in the car...about 3 hours there, and then 3 hours back.
Yesterday was a usual day, with Jazz in the morning (although particularly fun because friend Tambri is back for the summer now that her dance school is on hiatus for a few weeks.), and then lunch at Jumpin' Java in Fort Mill. They really have fantastic salads. But I was so hungry yesterday that I went home after lunch and drank a big glass of chocolate milk too.
Speaking of chocolate milk, I've switched to Silk Soy Milk. I wouldn't say I'm particularly lactose intolerant...I have no problem with dairy products on the whole...but to drink an actual glass of milk does tend to wreak havoc with my digestive system. For several months Mensa Boy and I have bought Lactaid for ourselves to use, but it's just so darn expensive! So on a whim one day I bought a carton of soy milk, which was way cheaper.
It was pretty much just okay. So the next carton I bought was the vanilla-flavored stuff. Now THAT is good. I can't just drink a glass of white milk, so I always put Nestle Quik in it. I end with a sort of milk-shake-like flavor that way. Good stuff!
In the afternoon I went shopping for workout clothes. It was 95 degrees yesterday and both pair of my capris were in the wash. I had to wear long pants at Jazz and I really roasted in those. But I didn't have much luck with the shopping. It turns out that workout clothes are about as hard to shop for as street clothes!
I went to my friend Jenny's house after that and we drove with her kids over to Baxter Village to Alex's Lemonade Stand. The stand was up all day yesterday giving away cups of lemonade in exchange for donations to pediatric cancer research. You can go here to donate online.
Jenny wrote a story about the stand in last Wednesday's Fort Mill Times. She took a photo I am absolutely jealous of. Go here to see that(at least until the link expires).

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

I Just Like this Photo


Tambri
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I shot this photo last weekend at my friend Tambri's dance school recital. This is Tambri coaching her 3-year-old dancers through the song, "Mr. Sandman."

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Sometimes I Surprise Even Myself

This summer I suggested that we not push Nate to get a job. He needed something to keep himself busy, though. Just something to be productive.

Nate has been open to working, but each time we talk about actually going out and applying for jobs, he's had a somewhat violent reaction to it. Finally Mensa Boy said he thought it was the actual talking to strangers and asking for something that might be the problem. Nate is not terribly assertive. He's also expressed concern about boredom. He doesn't want to run a cash register for hours, or stack boxes, or make pizzas. He wanted something interesting. Boredom is really his biggest concern always, which my principal friend Kathy says is common with gifted kids.

It's been easy to knuckle under to his willingness to seek a job because any job he has will have a profound effect on my own life. I would be responsible for driving him to and from said job. And the job would probably take at least 20 minutes to get to, and 20 minutes back. Twice each shift. That's time I'd just as soon not spend driving around in the heat.

So I told him I'd give him a 'bye' on this job thing if he found a way to volunteer. I said he needed to find something that would occupy him 15-20 hours per week. And then I suggested the school.

So for the last two weeks, Nate has been going to our elementary/middle school and being an errand boy for the staff. He has sat with kids during summer school as they work on their reading, supervised bathroom breaks, served snack, shredded office papers, organized keys that have been turned in by the staff, and stacked textbooks.

One day last week the principal told me that they were all arguing about who got him the next day.

He's grumpy each morning...struggling to get up and have breakfast so I can get him the school by 8. But by the time I pick him up at noon or so he's in a good mood, feeling pretty good about what he's accomplished and full of stories of joshing with the staff. One day this week I dropped him off and asked my friend to be sure he got a ride home, as Mensa Boy and I were going to be gone for the day. As I signed him into the computer for the day, I entered his name in as "Dontleave Mehear" and he wore that nametag all morning. Kathy fed him Japanese for lunch and dropped him at home.

I think it's a good experience and will probably keep him occupied most of the summer. We have a lot of moving going on in the school buildings this summer as the high school moves to a new building, renovations begin on the old building to make it into a new middle school, and classrooms are shifted around in the current elementary building.

The downside to this volunteering is that Nate gets no money. For stuff. Like taking his girlfriend out to dinner when she comes to town (she lives an hour or so away), or just to buy things he wants.

One of the items that he kinded of needed was a new mp3 player. His was not compatible with Napster and it's pretty much worn out. It doesn't hold a charge very long. Nate will be going to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference at Erskine College next week and I knew he'd be missing that mp3 player by the end of the first day. It only charges by plugging it into a computer, which he won't have.

So I bought him one. I told him it was an "in-kind payment" for his volunteering at the school. And he's been a mother's helper for me in the afternoon, taking the little boys to the pool for a while most days, doing dishes, handling the bird feeders and anything else I can throw his way.

This is his last summer as a kid, I figure. And probably the last summer I'll have with him here. Might as well make the most of it.


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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Just a Day of Play


leafshadows
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Mensa Boy and I played yesterday. We went to Boone and kicked around in a couple of shops and had a nice lunch at Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock.

We enjoyed the shadows on this sidewalk and had to stop to photograph it.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hidden Treasures


Chris
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I shot this photo a couple of weeks ago at my friend Tambri's dance class. Buddy Chris was sitting at a table doing some bookkeeping and I started just shooting around.

This photo came out completely black. Normally when that happens I just delete it without looking at it. But for some reason I opened it in Photoshop and lightened it to see what I had missed.

And there she is!

Today Mensa Boy and I will drive up to the mountains for the day. He has to deliver a preview copy of the magazine to an office up there, so I'll ride along with him. We never had time last week to celebrate our anniversary, so we'll stomp around on some trails and have a nice lunch on my dad, who gave me 50 BUCKS to blow! Thanks Dad!

After we get back this afternoon, I'll go to Chris' (this Chris pictured) Jazzercise class. It will be my 100th for the year and she'll present me with my 100 Club shirt. Chris was the one that got me started with this kind of exercise a few years ago, so it will be fun to get my shirt from her.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Random Nitpicking


DennisAgajanian
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Here's another concert photo I shot at the Franklin Graham Festival in Virginia Beach a couple of weeks ago. This is Dennis Agajanian. I love his instrumental stuff. His vocals? Not so much.

And now for the nitpicking part: Here is some text from a Washington Post News Alert bulletin I received yesterday:

News Alert 2:15 p.m. ET Monday, June 4, 2007
Rep. Jefferson Indicted In Corruption Probe
List of 16 alleged violations could keep Louisiana lawmaker in prison for up to 200 years.

Hmmm....keep him in prison for up to 200 years...that would be a trick.

Yesterday as I was driving to home from Target I saw a sign that announced a new building in Blakeney would be opening the "1st quater of 2008."

And Saturday as I drove to the recital in Fort Mill, I passed the HomeArama location...several extremely expensive homes on a home tour...there was a sign tell visitors where to park for "shuttle's."

There's more. There's always plenty of nitpicking for me to do, but my mind is blank.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Secret Service Man


Secret Service Man
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Here's a secret service agent talking to his lapel at the Billy Graham Library Dedication on May 31.

One of Mensa Boy's colleagues came up to him and told him that he thought the secret service was working on a plan to have him removed from the event.

Yesterday in church a friend came up to Mensa Boy and said, "So! Big deal on Thursday, huh?"

"Yeah!" MB replied. "Did you know Thelma Lou from Andy Griffith was there?"

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ballet Vengeance


BalletVengeance
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Yesterday I hung out all day with my friend Tambri's dance kids as they rehearsed and then put on their recital.

Yup. Me.

Dance
Little girls
Make-up
Tutus

I know...I know. But I had a lot of fun. It was hard work, but not as much for me as sound technician and photog as it was for buds Tambri, Chris and Rena. They were wrangling little girls and parents. The only thing I wrangled were stuffed rabbits for the magic act.

This little girl is in the Wee Ballet class. The song is "Leavin' on a Jet Plane." I don't remember at all what part of this song needed this facial expression!

Friday, June 01, 2007

How Great Thou Art


How Great Thou Art
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Sorry about the heads. They made us stand up to sing this hymn. You can see a larger view of this photo, (and leave comments or see the others from this event)by clicking on it.

Last night as we lay in bed Mensa Boy said to me, "Did you ever imagine 25 years ago that we'd end up at an event like today?"

No.

Yesterday the Billy Graham Library was dedicated. The event was attended by 3 ex-presidents. There was a little music, a bit of speechifying, a LOT of praying. It was fun, despite the 94 degree heat. I think a good time was had by all 1500 of us. Mr. Graham did remark, however, that he felt like he was at his own funeral!

I can't imagine anyone not knowing who all these guys are in this photo, but just in case:

(from left) Franklin Graham, George Beverly "Bev" Shea, Cliff Barrows, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton. All singing "How Great Thou Art." Mr. Graham is seated behind Shea and Barrows.