[Taken 9 May 2005 | Forget Me Nots | Centerville, OH]
Happy Memorial Day weekend to all.
It has been a busy weekend here... yardwork was done, paint in several rooms of the house was touched up, the kitchen and refrigerator were cleaned, cleaning was begun in other areas, and both John's office and my office got two coats of paint. Busy. I would like to have the cleaning and stuff finished by the end of next weekend, so we can start to move stuff in.
Actually, I think that I need another weekend to rest up from this weekend. We put in a good, solid 8+ house of work a day on the house for the past three days, and I am just not used to this kind of manual labor.
Every now and then it really strikes us, that we have a house that we are getting ready to move into, and we will say something like, "Here we are getting ready to paint... our new house". It is a good feeling.
[Taken 28 May 2005 | Ours | 2310 Hunterglen, Dayton, OH]
The house is ours. We have the keys and the garage door openers. There are no more papers to sign, no one left to negotiate with, and nothing left to do. Well, nothing left to do except get the place ready to move in, pack, and move. Truthfully, there is little that has to be fixed up about the place, and we could be ready to start moving our stuff fairly quickly. There are some patches in some of the rooms that need touch-ups to cover where nails used to be. Only two rooms - both upstairs bedrooms, soon to become an office and a guest room - need full coats of paint. Cleaning can be fairly standard, though we (I) do want to clean the carpets.
Today we mulched the front flower beds (I maintain that the mulch smelled like Lapsang Souchung, one of John's favorite teas), mowed the front and back lawns (mower newly purchased from Lowes), and did spackled over some nail holes in the walls inside..
Basic stats on the house, for the curious at heart... two-story half-brick, half-tudor, four bedrooms, living room, dining room, a great kitchen that runs into a nice family room, a fireplace in the family room, nice back deck, and a partially finished basement. John and I love it. Merlin will freak out... I don't think that she has ever seen stairs before. In the photo, you can see the porch, part of the front of the house, and part of the garage. The big trees in the front yard make picture taking a little bit difficult.
[Taken 19 May 2005 | Neon Fountain | A fountain in front of the Paris Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV]
You just don't ever see color like this without the benefit of a lot of bright, neon, lights.
Tomorrow John and I close on the house. We also take possession of it, as the owners have already moved out to their new home in a different city and are, understandably, eager to get this house off of their hands and into ours. I have almost everything set... the homeowner's insurance has been taken care of, the finances have been secured, and I have even already called and arranged for all utilities to be transferred over into my name. All I have left to do tomorrow is swing by the bank and (almost) empty out may savings account into the form of a cashier's check. When I asked my realtor if the sellers would perhaps like to recieve the down payment in small, unmarked bills, she just laughed at me. So a cashier's check it is. I am rather excited.
[Taken 19 May 2005 | The Famous Dancing Fountains | The Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV]
Apparently the so-called "dancing" fountains in front of The Bellagio are quite famous. At the very least they have gotten cameos in several movies - Ocean's Eleven springs immeadietly to mind. The fountains go through a song and light and water show about every ten minutes. I have no idea how many shows that they have arranged, but during my two nights in Vegas I saw several shows, and each one was different. I have to admit that they were pretty darn spectacular.
Anyway, Sarah really really wanted a picture of the fountains for some reason. So my only mission for the Las Vegas trip (besides the business purposes that brought me there in the first place) was to get a photo of the Bellagio and the fountains for her. I took quite a few shots, and out of the whole bunch, this is the one that I thought was the best. So this is the one that I gave her a print of.
[Taken 19 May 2005 | Creepy Clown | Harrah's Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV]
Harrah's Hotel and Casino is done up in a rather extravagent New Orleans Mardi Gras style. Very flamboyant. I found some of the huge sculptures on the outside of the casino near one of the main entrances to be slightly sinister in appearance, however.
[Taken 20 May 2005 | The Flamingos | The Flamingo Hotel and Casion, Las Vegas, NV]
These are what those tacky pink plastic flamingos that adorn people's lawns really want to be like....
Las Vegas is certainly a city that looks better at night. During the day... well, during the day it just looks tired and washed out. At night the lights - the many, many, bright and colorful lights - come on and the people emerge from where they have been hiding the the air conditioned casinos all day. Las Vegas, or at least The Strip, really only lives at night.
Everything in Vegas is not only brighter then real life, it is also larger. You should have seen the size of my hotel room - it was bigger then then entire apartment I lived in during grad school.
The night I got in, I checked into The Venetian, dropped my stuff in my room, and went to the Grand Canal (the shopping area in The Venetian, which is made up to look like a canal in Venice, with an actual "canal" and actual "gondaliers" giving people rides in gondolas while singing at them) to get some dinner. I also wanted to buy a book, since I had read both of the ones I brought with me on the plane. There was not a single bookstore in the entire Grand Canal shopping area, which could either be funny or slightly pathetic, depending on how you look at it. According to John, books go against the Vegas business model anyway.
Yes, I saw people who, by their atire, had recently gotten married, and I ran across and actual wedding taking place on one of the bridges in the Grand Canal in the Venetian. I didn't have a chance to catch a show, however, and I never saw Elvis.
Anyway. The meetings that were the primary reason for me to go to Vegas went well, I had fun going out afterwards with my colleague, the food was good, the drinks were good, and I got a lot of good photos.
[Taken 5 May 2005 | Puffball | Centerville, OH]
Tomorrow I take off for my (business) trip to Las Vegas. I am staying on the Strip, in the Venetian. I fly back Saturday. A business trip to Las Vegas that spans a Friday night? Yes, life can be good. Will I hit the casio and try my luck? I doubt it... I am a pretty bad poker player. Will I wander around the Strip, and take a lot of pictures? Yes, oh yes. This will be my first time in Las Vegas. I can't wait to see if it is as glitzy and awe-inspiring as everyone says that it is.
[Taken 1 January 2005 | Rocks and Waves | San Diego, CA]
From my trip to San Diego with John over the New Year. No matter how many pictures that I take when I am visiting places, I always find that I get home and think, "why didn't I take more?". I am glad that John is willing to put up with this sort of thing...
[Taken 11 September 2004 | The Wharf | Monterrey, CA]
Fisherman's Wharf in Monterrey was nice, as I recall. A little touristry, a little kitschy, but nice. And the aquarium was fantastic. This is on my list of places to go again, and hopefully next time I will have a little more time to explore around the area then I did then.
In other news...
Locked bits of source code that are completely uneditable in Dreamweaver (even if you copy them into notepad, save them as plaintext files, and then copy them back into Dreamweaver) make Kara something something.....
Don't mind if I do!
(The proposed solution? Re-write everything from scratch.)
[Taken 14 May 2005 | Geometry | Centerville, OH]
My apartment complex has a lot of wooden lattice-work decorative touches around the pool and clubhouse. I think that they look pretty neat when they are lit up at night.
It has been a pretty chilly and rainy weekend. Good news: the rain washed a lot of the pollen out of the air. Bad news: I really wanted to spend some time outside with my camera. I got to do a lot of lounging on the couch and reading instead.
[Taken 23 Nov 2004 | Martini | Centerville, OH]
"If you're thirsty, then a drink will cure it. And if you're not thirsty,
then a drink will prevent it. And prevention is better then a cure."
- from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
This particular cure can be compiled from:
2oz. Godiva white chocolate liquor
2oz. Creme de cacao
a splash of Amaretto (to taste)
garnish with a marschino cherry
I pretty much made up the recipe one evening last fall when I was 'experimenting'. I call it the Ice Queen. I am sure, however, that this martini, or one very similar to it, is already in existence somewhere, as I am sure that I am not a creative enough mixologist to come up with a truly original recipe.
[Taken 9 May 2005 | Purpura | Centerville, OH]
Purpura is not the name of the flower... it just is the Latin for 'purple'. I have to admit that I cannot remember what the actual name of the flower is. Note to self: next time pay more attention to the helpful little tags that the arboretum puts out in the flowerbeds.
I left work a bit early today (as did John) so that we could meet the home inspector at the house so that we could walk through the inspection with him. The bottom line is that there are a few small and medium fixes that ought to be made in a couple of places, but the big things... the roof, the furnace, the plumbing... those are all fine. John and I didn't really expect anything else to come out of the inspection. We have walked through the house twice at this point, and didn't see anything wrong. This inspection was more for our own peace of mind then anything else.
One step closer to ownership.
[Taken 9 May 2005 | White Tulip | Centerville, OH]
Out of all of the shots I took yesterday with the macro lens, John says that this one is his favorite.
[Taken 9 May 2005 | Macro | Centerville, OH]
John gave me a macro lens for my camera, so I took a half day off of work (which I was doing anyway) and took it out to the Cox Arboretum for a test drive. I like it, I like it a lot. Lately I have been getting into taking super close-ups of flowers… close enough to count grains of pollen and turn everything into an abstract impressionist image. Kind of like Georgia O'Keefe, I suppose…only not. Having a macro lens is really useful for this. However. Focusing a macro lens without benefit of a tripod and on a nice, breezy day is not an easy task. Every tiny, tiny little movement, and BAMN! Out of frame.
So…yeah, today was my birthday. It was nice. Met John for lunch, went to the arboretum, played with the news lens, biked to the library, went to dance class, and had a yummy dinner of chicken marsala. (John is a very good cook.)
Today was a good day.
[Taken 17 April 2005 | Bleeding Hearts | Centerville, OH]
Happy Mother's Day... especially to my Mom and Grandmothers.
My Grandma (Dad's mother) has a huge bleeding heart bush by the side of her house that I have always admired, so this picture is kind of for her. Not that she will really get to see it, however, since she does not have either an internet connection or a computer, but I figure that in this case, it is the thought that really counts.
My folks came down last night for dinner and a visit, which is always nice. I realize that it is kind of traditional to give flowers for Mother's Day, and since any 'real' flowers that I gave her would wilt on the four-hour drive back to Cleveland from Centerville, I gave Mom a framed tryptich of some of the photographs of flowers that I took at the Cox Arboretum instead. Eventually I know that my parents will get kind of tired getting photographs as presents, but I hope that day is still a while in the future.
After my folks left, Johna nd I went to see "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". It was ... okay, but we were both kind of dissapointed. "Kung Fu Hustle", which we saw last weekend, was much the superior movie. Any movie that includes a dancing, singing chorus line of the bad guys, as well as a roadrunner-esque chase scene... well, that's just a fun movie. For hours after we got out of that movie, I kept breaking into giggles and exclaiming, "The snakes... they bit him on the lips!". That entire scene, leading up to and including the roadrunner chase scene was easily my favorite part of that movie.
[Taken 7 November 2004 | Old Town | San Diego, CA]
Happy Cinco de Mayo to all! I salute you with my vodka-cranberry beverage!
It feels like today should have been Friday, because of how busy I have been all week, and yet, at the same time, I can't believe that it is Thursday because of how busy I have been all week and how comparatively little I seem to have accomplished. (I blame all of the meetings that I was involved in.)
House hunting proceeds apace. I feel like this ought to be at least a part-time job, so with this on top of my already existing full-time job I really have very little free time left over for hanging around, drinking, reading, and photography. (Though I still find the time to fell asleep to "Iron Chef" most nights.) For instance, I really need to follow up on some of the loan rates that I got from a couple of banking institutions (yay LendingTree.com) but the time and energy to do so keep slipping away. Tomorrow. For sure, tomorrow.
Oh. The picture? I took that when my bro Brian and I went to Old Town in San Diego for lunch... way back last November when I was out there for meetings and he drove down from LA to hang out with me for the afternoon. I thought that it would be an appropriately cheerful image for a Mexican holiday day. Since I have started to go through all of my old images... culling and editing my way through hundreds of shots... expect to see some "classics" show up here from time to time.
[Taken 21 April 2005 | English Daisy | Centerville, OH]
A little while ago I got a wideangle/macro attachment for my lensbaby lens. I haven't had much of a chance to use it since then, other then taking a few shots of some of the English daisies in my balcony garden (which has since been moved inside due to inclement weather) of which this is one. My initial impression is that this is a pretty cool attachment, though a lot harder to focus then I expected.
[Taken 29 Januray 2005 | Morning Sunlight | Chris and Erica's house, Ithaca, NY]
So John and I have been looking at houses. We saw a whole bunch on Saturday... six in all. There were a couple that we really liked, and one that we really liked. Today we got pre-approved for a loan, so we went ahead and made an offer on the house we really liked.
I keep bouncing back and forth between being very very excited about the whole process, and being very very freaked out by the sheer amount of money that we are playing with here.