Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm still here. . . .

but not a lot to talk about.  I haven't spent much time in the studio- I did spend several days horizontal, going through Kleenex at a very rapid rate.  I hate colds.

I do have a new toy.  I love my SLR, and have learned a lot about photography with it.  But I decided I wanted a smaller camera that I could carry with me all the time.  I did some research, picked several models that I thought would work for me, and started haunting the two used camera websites to see what they had.  I ended up with a Nikon S8000- a point and shoot that got decent reviews.

I've had it ten days.  I haven't played with it as much as I'd hoped, but I have done some.  So far, so good.  I've deleted a bunch of photos I wasn't happy with.  I do like this one of a sunrise- the sky colors were just amazing.

It has been slow or no going on the creative front.  I'm hoping to change that this long weekend.  I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family and gratitude.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Good Eats- In Person!!

Although I don't blog about it often, I think I would qualify as a bonafide foodie.  I love to cook, and raised three children who also love to cook.  Food TV didn't exist when I was growing up, but Shannon got addicted to it early on and turned me on to it.  One of the first Food TV personalities I watched was Alton Brown on Good Eats.  So when Sean told me that we were going to a book signing he was doing in nearby Branden, I did not argue!

Ignore my fisted hand, I have not a clue what I was doing or thinking!  

Unaware that the bookstore had been handing out numbered tickets for the event starting the evening before, we showed up at Books a Million at 5:30, and hour and a half before the signing started- and were handed number 287.  Oh joy!!  When Marly realized how many people were in line, and how long we would be there, her only comment was "Too many foodies in one place!!"

Staff arranged us in lines snaking around the store.  I had plenty of time to read several quilting magazines, and find a copy of "Where the Wild Things Are" for Michelle.  We talked to the people around us in line, and the three of us took turns staying in line while another walked Michelle around.  A two year old has limited patience for slowly moving lines!

At nine pm, the store closed the doors to the mall.  We were able to see Alton by this point.  A few minutes later, he strode away from his table and into the crowd, saying, "Where are the little kids?"  Next thing we knew, staff we going down the line, telling anyone with small children to move to the front of the line.  We didn't argue!!

I asked him to sign a book for a Christmas present, Sean made a special request for his.  Although it was brief, I can say that Alton Brown is pretty much the same in person as he is on TV- real, and funny!  It was a fun way to spend my last night in Florida, and to leave with a one-of-a-kind Christmas present.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

My Dolphin Tale

Well, I may not have made it to St. Augustine, but I did get to meet a couple of celebrities while I was in Florida.  Sean has lived in Tampa for ten years, and tells me he never heard of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium until I asked him about it after seeing the movie.

Monday afternoon we packed up the Michelle and my camera and headed over the bridge to Clearwater.  We found it easily, it was behind a fancy seafood restaurant where Sean took Shannon and me to dinner on our first trip to Florida in 2002.

If you've seen the movie, the aquarium is easily recognizable.  There's now a ticket tent in the parking lot, and there has been some remodeling inside, but it felt familiar.

Photographic proof of my presence there!  What I wouldn't give to be in 85 degree weather again. . . 

We wandered around the pools, wondering what we were looking at.  This is a rescue and rehab operation, not a place where the dolphins put on shows.  I finally asked  one of the staff where Winter was, and she pointed to a dolphin in the tank I was looking at.  

I learned that they would have a session with her later on, so we wandered around.  I watched a training session with a young rescue dolphin, saw some river otters, and stood entranced by a tank of sting rays.  I had no idea those creatures were so graceful when they swam.  Finally, we decided to snag our seats for Winter.

I thought she wore the prosthetic tail most of the time, but that is not the case.  Staff put it on her 3-4 times a day for about fifteen minutes, and run her through a series of exercises to strengthen the muscles that don't get used with her side-to-side swim motion.  It was fascinating to watch.

This is one of the exercises they did with her after the tail was attached.

It was so interesting watching the staff interact with the dolphins.

For those with deeper pockets than we had, you could meet Winter up close and personal.  I don't think this little boy knew quite what to think or do!!

I bought some tee shirts to help support the aquarium programs, and took tons of pictures.  It was a fascinating afternoon, one I'd gladly do again.