A love letter to the NC Aquarium: Part 2

 The entrance, which I forgot to put at the beginning of the first post.

2011_05_22_4739csThe large tank

I love seahorses.

The second floor porthole window is another way to see the large tank.

Jackknife fish


Shipwreck display

A gag (type of grouper)

Eel skeleton

Okay, I love jellyfish too - as long as they're not near me in the water!

A few seconds later, the lobster on the right pushed the other one off the ledge and then retreated back into its cave.

Close-up of the lobster on the left just before it got pushed.

Storm surge heights


 Turtles.  I love watching them dry their feet out in the sun.

An alligator approaching after one of the museum staff made an "alligator call" noise, which he said sounded like the call of a baby alligator.

The alligator stayed for a while.

New England Aquarium, Part 2

Younger son and I are both sick - with different things!  He's got a sore throat and mild fever; I've got a respiratory virus.  It's a good evening to share more photos from our trip last year to the New England Aquarium in Boston:

2010_05_31_5594cs Triggerfish

I love pufferfish.

Rockhopper penguins

One of the few group shots that didn't turn out too terribly blurry.

The sea turtle was being rather pushy.


The view from above the large tank.

Sea dragon

 Marine toad.


[Part One here]

New England Aquarium

From our trip to Boston last May:


Harbor seal (I think)

Sea turtle - in the sea turtle "hospital"

Moon jellies

I love watching jellyfish.  They're rather mesmerizing.

I love watching penguins too.

Lion fish


[There may be a part 2 if I get around to it.  I wasn't as familiar with my camera as I am now so I ended up with a lot of slightly blurry pictures.]

Charleston, SC photos

I sent one work project in last Friday, and I have another due in two weeks.  By the time I'm done working in the evening, I don't have a lot of bloggy energy, but I have been organizing photos.  Here are some photos I particularly like (but haven't posted before) from our trip to Charleston, SC last March.

We rented a small cottage (not in this photo) at Folly Beach.  Folly Beach probably is really busy in the summer, but it's nice and peaceful (and cheaper!) in early March.

The seawall in Charleston - one of my favorite places to walk.

Charleston is a wonderful place to go if you're an architecture buff.  If you're an architecture and photo geek, then you occasionally go off with the other architecture and photo geek in the family (older son) so as not to annoy the other members of the family.

A herd of kneelers sunning themselves outside St. Michael's Episcopal Church.

We had a delightful lady telling us about the history of the French Huguenot Church.

I usually work pretty hard at getting photos without people in them, or at least not close up - particularly if I'm going to be putting the photos on the internet.  I try even harder not to have photos with other people's children in them.  I also don't generally photograph other people's dogs, no matter how cute! However, I will make an exception if the dog runs up and barks in my ear as I walk past on the sidewalk while minding my own business.

The Market House.  I love the way the colors turned out on this photo.

That's the problem with blogging photos almost a year later.  I have no idea what store this was on.


The view of the Charles River Bridge from Adger's Wharf - one of our favorite places to sit and relax.


Favorite October, Blue Ridge Photos: Part 2

More favorite photos (Part 1 here):

2010_10_07_9771cs On this trip, we did more intense hiking than we've done in a long time.  This is the view of the top of Rough Ridge.  I've only been able to hike up to the boardwalk (pictured in the previous post) the last two years.  

The view of the boardwalk from the top.

The view of the viaduct from the top.

It was a windy day, and the waves were more intense than usual at Price Lake (Grandfather Mountain in the distance).


 Apples floating in the pond at the Cannon Gardens in Blowing Rock, NC.

Island in the Bass Lake, Cone Manor Park, Blowing Rock, NC.

Favorite, October, Blue Ridge photos

We had a wonderful time with daughter this weekend.  She got a ride back to Asheville late this afternoon.  I've been working since dinner, until I can't focus anymore, and I'm almost all out of words. 

Here are some of my favorite photos from our October trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains:


The Bass Lake at the Cone Manor is one of our favorite places to watch the sunset.  We usually go there the first day of vacation, and the last day, and often in-between.  Younger son is on a little "beach" below the level of the ground.  He's in mid-jump.


 Sunset Tees and Hattery has a wonderful selection of apples in the fall.  We get a bag and load up on different varieties, and often have some left over to bring home. 

View of Grandfather Mountain from the cow pastures in the Cone Manor.

Signs for sale at the Todd General Store.

Petunia sleeping on the front porch of the RiverGirl Fishing Co. in Todd, NC.  Unfortunately, it was closed for lunch.

 Dear husband and younger son sketching at Rough Ridge on Grandfather Mountain.  Dear husband's sketch is on his blog (the first sketch on the post).

While they were sketching, I was playing with camera settings.  This photo is closer to what I wanted.

 I'll probably post more another evening.

Asheville and Winston-Salem, NC on Labor Day weekend: Part 2

Part 1

On Sunday, we went to the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAFF) in downtown Asheville.

Refrigerator poetry on a large scale.

Views south...

...and north.  This is the point at which I started to get a little claustrophobic.  I'm not much for crowds (Dear husband took this photo).

Street performer

I loved Downtown Books and News - good overall, it also had a wonderful science fiction/fantasy section (and was a nice break from the crowds).

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville are right next to UNC-A, making them quite popular with students. 
As I just found out a few minutes ago, it turns out that their website says that wading is discouraged.  It must be only mildly discouraged because there were no signs there saying that, and there were a number of sets of stairs to help one get down to the water.


At least I spent a good bit of time on the rocks (dear husband, obviously, took this photo).

The Hayes Cabin.  We were busy talking so I didn't take many pictures.  It was a lovely afternoon.


On the way home:  Winston-Salem in the setting sun.

Asheville and Winston-Salem, NC and Tennessee on Labor Day weekend: Part 1

It's been a light blogging week.  I'm working part-time again, in a department I used to work for.  I'm glad the opportunity opened up!  I've been focused on that and on younger son, who's been sick.  Also, Typepad has had major problems the last week (particularly with photos!) so I decided it would be less frustrating to just ignore this blog for a few days.  

We had heard that UNC-Asheville had a lot of students that go home on weekends.  Daughter found out that that's particularly true the first weekend of the semester.  After a very quiet weekend, we were pretty sure that Labor Day weekend would be even quieter (we were right).  She didn't want to come home because that would keep her from getting used to it as quickly, which I really understand.  She welcomed a visit, though, so dear husband and I went up there last Saturday and Sunday.  Older son had lots of work for the Design School, and younger son wanted to stay home and play with friends.  Now that they're back in school, he really treasures the time he can spend with them!


Old Salem, a historic area in Winston-Salem, is a good stopping point for a walk, baked goods from the Winkler bakery, and photos.

The light was beautiful that morning...

...as was the sky.


The home Moravian Church.


We spent the afternoon walking around Beaverdam Lake in north Asheville.  That's a heron flying by.

In the evening, of course, we wandered around downtown Asheville.  Shindig on the Green, a summer, weekly, musical series was going on.  Each group only performs a few numbers onstage, but they hang around and play on the sidewalks or at the edge of the park.  We saw over a dozen.  It's fascinating to walk around and listen to all of them.

We were trying to stay at a hotel with points, and the closest one was an hour away in Johnson City, TN.  This seemed like a very long way on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, however, it made for a beautiful drive back to Asheville!


Why sit inside and have breakfast when there's all this beauty?  We ate at this overlook on the NC/TN line...


...with a companion.

More tomorrow... or maybe Saturday.

Of bottles, t-shirts, and memories

In There are no small things, Breakfast with Pandora discusses memory and objects, particularly bottles and t shirts:

...Memory, for me, is tied up in physical things, and memory crowds my mind and heart, perhaps too much... 

He goes on to tell the story of a particular bottle and the memories it holds (Go read.  I'll wait here).

Baou 1
Baou 3cI started collecting bottles in 1985.  We were visiting my in-laws, who were living in Nice, France for a year.  One beautiful, Mediterranean, May day, we hiked up Baou de St. Jeannet (postcard, above; summit (with sheep), right).  It was an all day hike, not because we went terribly far, but because we spent a long time wandering, looking at the view, and talking.  While we were up there, we found an Orangina bottle stuck in a very old stone wall.

Now, I've never been all that much for sodas.  They're usually either too fizzy or too syrupy.   Orangina, in France, was different.  It was lighter and not as fizzy as American sodas (the Orangina they sell here isn't as light).  I also loved the bottles so, when we found it, we decided to take it home.

St paulcDouce heureMy mother in law liked the idea of using an Orangina bottle for a vase.  A few days later, dear husband and I were were wandering in St. Paul de Vence (above).  It's a walled  town, dating to the ninth century.  Besides being beautiful, it's very relaxing to walk around because the narrow streets leave no room for cars, which have to stay outside the walls.  The tea room, La Douce Heure, where we ate, added to the charm.

I had an Orangina with my delicious, chocolate cake.  I knew that the tea shop would get a deposit back for the bottle so I didn't want to just ask for it.  Instead, in my French (which got me A's in high school and college but which wasn't as much use in France as I hoped it would be) I asked the owner if I could buy the bottle. 

She looked at me questioningly, "Pourquoi?" [Why?]

I nodded at dear husband, "Parce que sa mère la veut comme une vase." [Because his mother would like it as a vase.]

"Ah!  Je vous donne! Je vous donne!" ["I will give it to you!"]


Since then, I've collected many bottles as vases (Original Orangina bottle - above, left).  Before our house lot was cleared, there were some stones remaining from an old foundation.  We found an old "medicine" bottle (above, right) there.  The ad on the bottle says, "Babies cry for more." The glass jar in the center (above) originally had chocolate/peanut butter syrup for ice cream.  It wasn't my sort of thing, but older son enjoyed it, and I got to keep the jar for flowers.  It also looks wonderfully round here with a zinnia in it, but, when I bought it, I pictured putting nasturtiums in it - with their curved stems winding around the inside.  We won't discuss how many cabinets my vase collection takes up, although we do use most of them when we do the last, great put-all-the-pansies-in-vases-because-it's-time-to-pull-the-plants-out in late spring.

Most of the kids t-shirts that we've had have been handed down from child to child.  Though, when sorting through them, I sit and remember all the park visits, playing, and book reading that happened in them, I can hand most of them on to the thrift shop.  Some, however are special, and when they get too small for younger son, I have a difficult time getting rid of them.  A number of them, which he'd outgrown a few years ago, sat in the hall for quite a while last year until I figured out what to do with them.  I didn't just want to take them to the thrift store; I wanted to give them to someone who would appreciate them.  Although the t shirts are still too big, I found someone to pass them on to - and, hopefully, Pip and Pemberly Poppets will eventually enjoy the bear as much as we did. 



One t shirt didn't get too small.  It got too fragile.  I wore it for exercising when I was in college.  It was a present from dear husband, back when we had little money for presents.  I love the hiking cetaceans, the little skateboarding clam, and the parents with the baby whale.  I eventually gave it to older son, who handed it down to daughter, who eventually handed it down to younger son.  I repaired and repaired it, but it got to the point that trying to sew it would rip a new hole.  It was time to take photos (below) and throw it out.  



Strangely, I found it tucked in the back of the closet a month ago.  I really did think that I'd thrown it out.  When I mentioned it to dear husband, he said that I mentioned that I couldn't hadn't.  I totally forgot (or blocked it out of my head).

I'm sure many of you efficient housekeepers are asking whether I finally threw it out NOW!  

Unfortunately, my fingers are in my ears, and I'm singing, really loudly, so I'm afraid that I can't hear you.