Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blast From the Past #20

So this isn't really a blast from my past - but it is from the Huntsville Grotto's past. The Huntsville Grotto has been in existence now for 50 years as of 2005. We finally got around to having a celebration for the grotto this past Saturday. Jennifer brought a case full of old cartoons and photos from years past that get handed down from one newsletter editor to the next (I have a sinking feeling I'll get to peruse it next year once I finally give up my three-year membership post). There was one cartoon in particular that I just think is hysterical in its own little old-fashioned thinking and the style of the artwork is fantastic. Its a paste-up, so I had to take a few photos of it so you could get the whole picture without a glare.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Checking On A Lead

So last night I decided to take a deep breath and help check out a possible lead no one could fit in but me for some friends.
The photo looks like some sort of odd accident doesn't it? I've got the end of the rope tied around me just in case I got stuck. You kind of have to do a partial handstand to get down there; my helmet wouldn't fit, so I wedged it above me and borrowed the little maglight to check out the crack. It went on a little way - but only a pack rat could really check it out.


Friday, June 23, 2006

List #1: Happy Intangibles

Here are some things I like - just general everyday things - experiences - feelings - smells that make me feel warm and fuzzy, excited, at peace or just plain happy inside. None of these things can be bought sold or traded and none of them can be kept for any length of time, that's what makes them so great - they are only and all experienced.

1. Smell of baking bread
2. Smell of good clean soil
3. Cave smell
4. Dirty, tired hands from working outside or in the garden all day
5. A bath with a book and an hour to enjoy it - not a fast shower
6. Surveying Fern
7. The caving "piddle factor"
8. Going to a cave I've never been to (I'll be excited for many years to come with the amount that I stil have to see!)
9. Climbing Rope
10. Watching the birds and squirrels at the feeder outside my office window.
11. My dog being cute - I don't own her, she owns me.
12. Cooking with Paul
13. Baking B-day cakes for my fellow co-workers.
14. The funny conversations you have when your caving (that eventually turn into - where are we going to eat?)
15. Watching your very own vegetables grow
16. The bare trees on the mountains turning bright green in a matter of two days at the beginning of spring
17. Salt air from the seaside
18. The full moon through a telescope
19. Moon shadows
20. Being almost done with a really good book
21. Watering plants
22. A hand written letter
23. Surprise packages in the mail (sent or received)
24. Going to a flea market with my Dad
25. Listening to old family stories
26. Being home at Christmas
27. Making lists
28. Crossing things off lists
29. The completion of a long project
30. Old car smell
31. The smell of leather
32. Seeing my Mom and her two sister get together (they are hysterical together!)
33. The feeling you get on the top of a hill on a rollercoaster
34. Love
35. The perfect, cloudless, no humidity, blue sky day in October that just begs you to play hookie from work
36. Ancestry Research
37. The smell of rain
38. The downburst just before a storm where you can feel the excitement of a storm and makes you hurry inside
39. Open windows
40. Light that streams through north facing windows - because its the best natural light for any artist
41. Stacking all the bags of Recycling from work (we don't recycle at work, so I decided to take it home and turn it in) and home on the curb every Tuesday - because that's a few cubic feet that won't become landfill
42. Talking about travel
43. Traveling
44. Learning something new
45. Picking up useless knowledge and sharing it
46. Watching plants grow
47. Swimming
48. Dancing
49. Resting in a hammock
50. The feel and smell of a new book
51. A good hearty laugh
52. Getting off work Friday afternoon and having the whole weekend ahead of you (like an hour from now!!)

I'm sure there are many many more I can name, but these are the ones that were floating around in my head right now.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blast From the Past #19

What? All I'm going to say is that its a piece of Flagler College, and that Chris S. has a piece too. The people who have seen Flagler, and have lived there will know what it is.

When? My freshman year of college.

How? UM, I plead the 5th.

Where? Taped down to a page in one of my old journals that I decided to open after keeping it sealed for 10 years.

Why? Because you can see and remember history - but if you have piece of it to keep, you'll really remember it. A few more pages later in the journal I came across a hunk of melted plastic from the smoldering ash trash can that almost burned down the dormitory late one night! Maybe more on that story at a later date....But I'll give you a teaser for now - it does involve one of my best friends running back into "the flames of death" as she would tell it, screaming my name at the top of her lungs all the while flinging pink curlers out of her hair- very dramatic stuff ladies and gentlemen. I might even write a book one day on it and it and even more gripping and best-selling than the Da Vinci Code, involving cryptex door knobs and thrilling chases through blue halled dorms - just minus the albino - I don't think he'd look very good in pink curlers.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Handy Dandy #1

Ok, so according to the American Dental Association you should be changing your toothbrush every three months. But don't toss it in the trash just yet - here's a Handy Dandy idea for those old toothbrushes. I've found that toothbrushes are wonderful cleaners for the kitchen and bath. The tiny bristles do very well with tupperware seal groves and travel cup lids that rags and sponges can't reach. And they are excellent at scrubbing those tiny moldy corners and going at stubborn grout stains in the bathtub and shower.

1. Throw the toothbrush in with the silverware bin next time you run the dishes, the bleach in the dish detergent will kill off any ickies. Or go buy a new toothbrush for this little project.
2. Drill a 1/8th or 5/32 hole in the handle close to the end.
3. Thread the toothbrush onto a key ring (I bought two 1-1/2" key rings for 99¢ at Home Depot). You can also use the hinged binder rings available at office supply stores.
4. Let them hang out together under the kitchen sink or bathroom.

Hello Sizzix!

So my Mom got me a bit of an early Birthday present and I bought myself some goodies to go along with it. I found a whole font (Girls are Weird - Yes, that's the name of the font) for a 1/2 price at Hobby Lobby and some other cool shapes - like stars, hang tags, a cloud, a birthday cake, a bat of course and a tulip. Anyway I'm VERY excited about it. So I sat down and made some sample cards to try out my new Sizzix personal die-cutter. (Joy, AM and Laura - you might be seeing these cards a second time!) And I hope to sprinkle my friends and family with handmade cards for all their special occasions. Check out my craftyness...

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Spelunka-lite is Here!

Photo © Nathan Williams Photography

Here it is ladies and gentleman! The premiere of the Spelunka-lite 2006 in a brand new infomercial. A must see for cavers and spelunkers alike! Available at fine stores everywhere (we found it at Cracker Barrel and Target!)

Spelunka-lite 2006


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Blast from the Past #18

Here's my Dad and I in front of the wall that runs around Lake Mirror in Lakeland, FL. I love our hats. It was pretty hot out that day, but there was a nice breeze blowing off the water. My Dad is holding Mom's Mother's Day present - a bowed Psaltry - which is this really ancient stringed instrument. It has two octives and its played with a bow similar to a violin.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Iron Hoop #1

This past Saturday was the Huntsville Grotto's Horizontal trip to Iron Hoop. We had a total of 16 along. I'll post some more photos this evening. But for now I have a teaser video clip. Ever see a river of crystals?


Monday, June 12, 2006

Afternoon in the garden

So Paul and I's little box garden is really growing in leaps and bounds as of late. I'm especially excited to see the cucumbers! I've never grown cukes before and I forgot that they have scary little spikes on them, having only seen home growns ones once or twice. I must admit I kind of expected them to fully waxed and dark green like their no-spiked store bought cousins. We've got tomatoes and green beans (Laura!!!) and eggplant, okra and zucchini and onions. So far there are beans on the bushes, green tomatoes and bright yellow blossoms for the next generation of tomatoes to come and then the cucumbers.

Then we have our little bucket herb garden - two varieties of basil, sage, rosemary, spearmint, thyme and chamomile. Hopefully I can make my own cup of chamomile tea if I can collect enough blooms. There's also a blueberry bush in the large pot on the right - this year we have a grand total of two blueberries! And then I have my most coveted plant - a Mamey that I grew from seed. This plant is two years old now. I grew it from the seed after I ate the fruit my Dad sent me from a Tampa farmers market; sheltered it through the winter inside and then slowly weened it from shade into full sun again. The fruit is almost like a sweet custard, and definitely one of my favorite fruits. More on the Mamey

J. Jill Entry

So I drew something - finally!! Hadn't really sat down to draw in quite some time, but there was a T-Shirt contest that tempted me about a month ago so I made myself sit down with some blank paper and draw. The design is free form and kind of cutesy-cartoony, but its always fun to do something straight out of your head once and a while. The contest is for J. Jill - a totally cool girls clothing store that reminds me of a cross between a cooler Orvis/Patagonia and a stitch or two of Anthropologie. There are very few items of clothing that I don't like from J. Jill. My Dad drew up some great designs too and sent them in also.

And here's my entry:

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blast From the (long distant) Past #17

In 2001 I was able to peruse the archives of the Castillo de San Marcos, the fort in St. Augustine Florida. They have quite a nice collection of photography and other interesting historical maps and surveys. I was even able to scan a number of the photographic archives - all while wearing those nice white cotton gloves that you have to wear. There are a few photos that I can still picture in my head. One is an early photo of the fort with snow covering the ground, long before the Bridge of Lions even existed. But I think my favorite is the one you see here; Henry Flagler, Florida Railroad pioneer, hotel entrepreneur, ruthless businessman (so I've heard) enjoying a quite moment with his dog, Delos, an American Eskimo. Delos could even be a great great great great great great grand dog of my American Eskimo. The photo has no date, but I would imagine it had to have been taken between 1888, when the Ponce was built, and 1913 when he died. I've passed that very spot where he was playing with his dog in ages past dozens of times I'm sure when I was at college at girls dorm (AKA the Ponce de Leon Hotel) at Flagler College.

  • Henry Flagler

  • Flagler College

  • Castillo de San Marcos
  • Labels:

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    SERA Cave Carnival

    This event definitely put the carnival back into SERA - just like CAG (the Central Alabama Grotto) was saying. Tommy, Paul, Michelle and I drove to Buck's Pocket State Park for a day of caving fun on Saturday. There was a climbing competition, vendor goodies, some really funny exhibits (CAG's Believe it or not - a great spoof on Ripley's!), a cave trip to penitentiary Pit, a midway with a big top and various acts including some animals from the Birmigham Zoo, a sword swallower, and a fire juggler. They had popcorn, balloons, a few rides, a moonwalk, and of course people walking around in wacky outfits! CAG really outdid themselves with this. Enjoy the pictures and video!

    Here's Michelle climbing Penitentiary Pit - 90' sandstone Pit Saturday afternoon. The pit was about 15 minutes away from the State Park. This is my second time there, and its even prettier in the summer with all the ferns in the bottom.


    Mentos & Diet Soda

    So if you don't know already Mentos and diet Coke or Pepsi really do put on a show. I tried it a few weeks ago on a box of Mentos and generic diet coke. It works best if you use a beaker or a piece of PVC so you can line up the Mentos so they drop into the bottle fast - and you can get all 8 in the bottle at once.
    Check out what it does here!!

  • Diet Coke & Mentos Coolness

  • And then here is the basic experiment:

  • Diet Coke & Mentos EXP
  • Thursday, June 01, 2006

    Blast from the Past Thursday #16

    Here's a little flash back to some good times. The rush and craze of backstage - opening night - the curtain rising - the rush of adrenaline - the sweltering hot of the Winter Haven Women's Club - the nasty pancake makeup - Mr. Fritz's angry face and broken pencils - the late, late nights (long before any of us discovered coffee) - the laughter - the cast parties - so much to remember, so many friends to miss from far away.

    What? The cast and crew of the Neil Simon play, "Fools"
    Where? Back stage in the kitchen/dressing room of the Winter Haven Women's Club, a historical theatre that's on the National Registry.
    Why? We were just cool like that.
    When? This would be the summer after our freshman year of college, so 1997.
    How? I think there were probably a few stepped on toes