Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meyer Cave Trip

Just wanted to post a quick photo of Paul with his brothers and a nephew on their first caving trip today to Tumbling Rock. We spent about 5 hours in the cave - went back to admire the 396' Topless Dome. A good time was had by all!

Be sure and click on the photo above to see an enlargement.
Left to right: Glenn, Jim, Dave, Paul, Ted and Doug in the Totem Gallery

Photo courtesy of Nathan Williams. (thanks!!)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Trains (from Christmas still)

I still have a backlog of great things Paul and I did over Christmas. And since we just went to a train show this past weekend I thought I'd continue along the same lines. Plant City, FL has a model train club with some really impressive layouts, and I really need to stress - impressive! For one thing they have 3 rooms - one that shares a train museum and two large scale layouts of G and O, one that holds a modular N scale (so that club members can build a four foot section and add it anywhere - the tracks are all in the same place), and the last rooms holds an up-to-date digitrax HO model that's fantastic! (Here's a good link if you want to learn more about model RR scales.) We ended up visiting it twice so Paul could talk with the guys in the club some more, and I could take more photos....

One of the RR Modelers showing me the G-Scale (Garden scale) layout with various RR museum paraphernalia hanging on the wall behind him

Part of the N-scale layout

An N-scale detail

My Dad and Mom in front of the HO trestle

My Dad taking a closer look at the Plant City model circa early 1900's -HO-scale

An orange grove
The orange grove is one of my favorite details in the HO-scale model! We're planning on having a small grove and a citrus packing plant in our model.

Paul and Mom talk with one of the club members that helped build this HO model

Here's a view of the entire length of the model. The hills with the fall foliage are in the middle of the model - Mom and Paul are actually behind them.

Another set of nice details

Paul talking with one of the fellows about the digitrax control panel.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Trains, Medieval Art, REI & The LOVE Project

Today Paul and I went to Nashville to the Model Train Show, then we swung by the FRIST to see the Medieval Treasures Exhibit and finally ended up at one of out favorite Nashville stops - REI! Paul was a bit disappointed with the train show since they only had 2 vendors - lots of booths - but no one selling the fancy DCC engines and cars. They only had catalogs - which was lousy - because the whole reason we'd waited to go to the show was so we could see the items in person and not pay shipping fees. So, no DCC engine for the HO scale model we're planning on building. We did find several nice building kits for the industrial switching layout - and a cool gas station - a mobile home, an airstream and a citrus packing plant (I'm going to do an orange grove somewhere on the layout) one box car and a few small tools to help us in the building.

The DCC engine Paul in planning on buying.

The really snazzy Lionel booth.

Paul on Broadway Street in Nashville.

The FRIST Medieval Exhibit was phenomenal. I've seen my fair share of reliquaries for a while - which I'm really surprised aren't still in churches somewhere. There were wooden carvings, and ivory boxes and oil lamps, jewelry, several iconic images, an altar section depecting several stations of the cross. My favorite part was being able to stare long and hard at the Illuminated pages and several whole books of the most gorgeously gilt texts and pictures. It made my jaw drop - literally. They had a Book of Hours from Charles the Noble King of Navarre, ca. 1404 that was just... wow... words literally fail me in trying to describe it. And all I saw was the two pages upon which it was opened. I think my brain would combust if I had the chance to turn each page.

We stopped by REI and Paul got me a new left handed QAS, (for my new frog) and a few other supplies for caving and camping then we toodled on home. All-in-all - quite a LOVEly day indeed.

So this being the day of commercial LOVE (Buy a card! Send her flowers! Stuff your face with chocolate!!) I thought I'd do a little gentle reminding. Love without a price tag or any expectations. I had letterpress printed LOVE cards and bookmarks several days ago from a design my dad and I drew. I felt like I need to share so I did a little covert art installation at 7 locations in Hunstville and Nashville, posting them up in prominent places. Here are a few that I managed to snap photos of before I left them to the fates:

At the train show.

In a parking garage elevator.

At the post office.

Headed out the door of McAlisters.

A Happy Valentine's Day to You!

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Giraffe in Quicksand


Friday, February 06, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Past #6 (But wait - there's more!)

Ah yes - I know what you're thinking. Its February, right? But I've got a lot more fun pics from Christmas to post!

Christmas day wouldn't be complete without a visit with Nana (my Dad's Mom).

And then we ate lunch at the only place that was open on Christmas day - Peking Palace - and some silliness ensued when the fried noodles came out.

What's Christmas without being able to juggle oranges picked right off the tree in your own back yard - right?

Ah yes - and goofy parent pictures. Very important indeed. These photos make me laugh and feel every mile between Huntsville and Lakeland. They are the most wonderful parents ever.

Paul and I got to go to several Christmas parties. It was cool to catch up with friends after a year....

I got to see Elizabeth and her (as of New Year) sweet fiance Stephen (sp? Steven?). Hadn't seen her in years! That was way cool. And Kristen came too - hadn't seen her in years too. Again - very cool. She's liking it out in California.

We visited and ate and visited some more, Joys brother, and her mom and pop stopped in, some folks left, then we moved on to play Apples to Apples and finally spit up into teams to play Cranium.

Lea and Kristen were the Twilight fans...

Joy, Jennie and I were Team "Rope Jet" That would be a joke from a couple years ago....

Then we have the brother and sister combo - Chris and Kelli

And yes that does say "Team Sexy Mahatma Ghandi" - that would be from the Apples to Apples game when someone had a synonym of sexy - and the Ghandi card was slapped down.

Deep in discussion over one of the answers....

So Paul and I had our first taste of American Idol Karaoke Revolution on the Wii at Nick and Rebecca's house. The whole thing was pretty hysterical. I busted out a pretty good version of "Imagine" which happens to be one of my favs. But then bombed out on a Coldplay song. I now know never to ask Adam or Nick to sing. Ever. EVER. All the gals held their own pretty well. And then Paul - ha! - well he totally cleaned up on "Pinball Wizard" by The Who and won the game!

Rebecca has of a recording of this on her new camera. I was testing out the movie mode for her. Believe me - its a beaut!

For New Years we did dinner at Jennie's and then went to Adam and Roxy's to watch the count down. We played with fire for a while and toasted marshmallows.

I tried my hand at poker (with everyone's help)- on Adam's snazzy table with the nice speed cloth and cushy seats - and Nick's brand new poker chips. Ended up coming in third.


Still not done. There's more to come!!

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Monday, February 02, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Past #5 (The Final Ode to Chopsticks)

Fourth time's the charm!

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The Ghost of Christmas Past #4 (And More Ode to Chopsticks)

We were thinking third time's the charm here...

Didn't quite make it...

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The Ghost of Christmas Past #3 (More Ode to Chopsticks)

This would be round 2:

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The Ghost of Christmas Past #2 (Ode to Chopsticks)

So my Mom can actually play the piano by ear - she can just feel the notes out. Its really amazing. I, on the other hand, took lessons when I was young - but only retained very limited skills - and don't really remember how to read music anymore. We tried our hands at a chopstick duet one evening and fits of silliness ensued.

Round 1:

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The Ghost of Christmas Past #1

Oh wow do I have a lot to tell about Paul and I's trip to FL for Christmas. In the two weeks we were there we did a lot, drove a lot, saw a lot, laughed a lot, ate too much, hung out with friends and family and as usual it was all over way too quickly.

We went to a little dinner theatre that my cousins - Virginia and Dennis - put on for their church congregation.

I swear these were THE coolest Christmas trees ever. I have to make one of these tree costumes for Halloween!!

Some of my family on my Mom's side.

Paul and My Dad and I headed to Webster - the Monday flea market town. I love looking, haggling, and finding treasures. Flea markets are always so full of life and color and interesting people. Much better than a mall. You'll see the latest rage next to fantastic pieces of history. Webster is the only place I know of where you can you go to see ancient dinosaur fossils and "Jingle Jugs" (yes - this is a relative of "billy bass" - the singing fish - the items in question jiggled while music played - I couldn't believe my eyes! - I had Paul cover me while I took the photo but I think my hysterical laughter kinda gave me away) all in one place.

These bottles were just gorgeous - had to snap a pic.

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