Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daily Pixels

I'm going to revive my Daily Pixels blog, but with a twist this time.

I've been spending a lot of time on my photography lately.....which explains my absence from Bloggy World. Instead of the randomness that Daily Pixels once was, I'm using it for a photography exercise of sorts. One of my photo groups is doing a 1 item/30 days challenge and I've decided to play along (although I am using a calendar month, because it just seems more neat and orderly that way....and I'm anal about order).

This is how it works: I choose an item, any item. I take a picture of that item every day.

Simple? Boring?

Not so much. It's all about creativity and finding new ways to photograph a basic object.

I've already selected my item. Tune in February 1st.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Making My Day

Tonight was swim practice for the Wildcard. As usual, I double-parked just outside the door of the gym where he practices and waited for him to hop out and run into the building.

I always watch him go inside because you never know what's going to happen in those ten yards between the car and the security of the gym. I guess it's a paranoid mom thing!

Anyway, nothing ever happens. He gets out of the car and three seconds later disappears inside.

Tonight was different.

Something happened.

The Wildcard left the car with his usual smartypants teenager remarks, then headed to the door of the building. As he reached the door, he glanced over and saw a young mother loaded down with a wriggly toddler and a huge diaper bag. She was heading to the gym too.

He said something to her, then reached over and took the diaper bag off her hands and held the door for her. He followed her inside and I saw them head off in the direction of the toddler gym (drop-in care). A few seconds later he passed by again, empty handed, bouncing off to the pool like a typical goofy teenager.

He has no idea how proud I was of him.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

That's Why He Wears the Silly Blue Vest

I finally grew tired of the cable running between our two downstairs computers and decided it was time to replace the faulty wireless card and get rid of the dang wires.

I normally avoid WalMart whenever possible, but I had just dropped the Wildcard off for swim practice and it was the only place to purchase the card without going out of my way. I knew pretty much what I was looking for, spent a few minutes comparing different wireless options, then made my decision and looked for a clerk to open the glass case for me.

As luck would have it, there was no line for the cashier in electronics, so I headed over to see if the clerk had a key.

The clerk was a young guy, probably 19 y/o max, and had the pale skin, physique, and personality of someone who spends most of their waking hours with online gaming activities. I told him I needed something from the case, and we headed over to take a look.

When I pointed out the card I wanted, he hesitated......sighed......then asked if I was sure.

I reassured him that I was certain it was what I needed.

Again, a sigh, this time combined with eye-rolling and head shaking.

"Ummm, are you sure this is what you want? Because you have to, you know, open your computer up to install it. Like, remove screws and stuff. It's kind of complicated."

I told him it was definitely what I wanted.

He wasn't convinced that I could handle the tech aspect of installing the card, and apparently he wasn't sure he wanted to sell it to me.

Finally I caved and channeled my inner blonde.

"It's okay. I have a teenage son. He knows all about this electronics stuff. He can install it for me."

The clerk sighed again, in relief this time.

"Okay - that's great! This is really a good card, one of the best, and I highly recommend it!"

Yeah, just shut up and sell me the damn card so I can get home and install it. All by myself.

Reason number 1,472,349 that I hate going to WalMart.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I Love Her.

Since the day we found out we would be leaving Hawaii, the Diva has been budgeting and saving so that she could take an annual trip back to the islands.

I have to admit, I was a bit envious when I took her to the airport last week. Even the thought of nine days of couch-surfing didn't turn me off from the idea. Hawaii is Hawaii, and I miss it a lot.

She called every day, just to check in and let me know she was okay. She tried to sound like she wasn't having THAT much fun and didn't offer many details about where she was, most likely because she grew tired of me sobbing into the phone.

She came home tonight, and she talked non-stop all the way from the airport about how great it had been to be back. She went hiking, snorkeling, lounged at the beach, ate at all her favorite places, hung out with her friends, and just chilled like a local. It was so great to hear her so fired up about her trip.

And I was jealous.

As she unpacked, still babbling on about her trip, she said she had gotten me something and handed me a bag.

Before she left, I had told her to not buy anything. I just wanted her to have fun, so I really, really wasn't expecting anything.

What did she get me?

Rubbah' slippahs, of course! I wore through my last pair and have issues with flip-flops and other shoes, so I've really been missing my slippahs!

Monday, January 05, 2009

What Happens in Vegas....

After a series of regrettable decisions, the morning after Christmas I found myself up at 6 a.m. driving east toward Vegas. The Wildcard was sound asleep in the back seat while Destructo jabbered away next to him like any 4 y/o would if they had been up most of the night.

I'm not a fan of Vegas at all, but had agreed to let the Wildcard spend a long weekend with his friend over Christmas break. Rather than drive out and back twice within a week, I decided to pack some camera equipment and head off with Destructo for four days. How bad could it be, really?

The drive out there was easy, traffic was light, and Destructo kept me company the entire time. We dropped the Wildcard off at his friend's house and headed to our hotel.

This is where I have to give props to my local friends in Hawaii.

Vegas is the top tourist destination for those living in Hawaii. Whenever the subject came up and we mentioned how we didn't care for Vegas, we were told to stay away from The Strip. Apparently The Strip is for amateurs and tourists, and Fremont Street is the place to be.

So, I had booked a room at the Golden Nugget, which really amused Destructo. He referred to it as the Chicken Nugget and giggled like a little girl every time he said it. The hotel had been recently renovated, was right on Fremont Street, and was highly rated. I still had no idea what to expect.

Parking was easy and free, there was no wait for check-in, and our room was large, clean, updated, and came with a view of the snow-capped mountains. We dropped our luggage in the room then went downstairs to check out the hotel's main attraction - the shark tank in the middle of the pool.

We spent some time at the shark tank, in spite of temperatures in the 30's and strong winds. Destructo named each of the sharks (at least once each), and declared the "Cheetah Shark" to be his favorite.

When I was able to drag him away, we headed out of the hotel to check out the Fremont Street Experience by daylight.

Fremont Street is vintage Vegas. It features the cool lighted signs that you see in all the old Vegas movies that I can't name because I really don't watch many movies. I just always remember seeing the lighted cowboy dude sign in a Vegas movie, and that's what I always thought of as very Vegas.

Anyway, we walked the (uncrowded) street to the end and back, stopping for a Happy Meal on the way back. That section of the street is pedestrian traffic only, with the exception of a few cross streets. We actually came across several employees out sweeping up cigarette butts and dead leaves off the sidewalk and street. It was definitely different than the porn littering the sidewalks of The Strip!

We stopped to see the sharks again on the way in, then chilled in our room for a couple of hours watching cartoons and Deal or No Deal (Destructo's new favorite show). After dark we headed to the street again, just so I could get a few pictures, then stopped to see the sharks before calling it a night at 6:30 p.m.

I had decided in advance that the two places I wanted to see while we were out there were Death Valley National Park and Valley of Fire State Park. We did those on Saturday and Sunday. Neither was a disappointment, even after factoring in the 1-2 hour drive.

Valley of Fire had great rock formations, and caves for Destructo to play in.

We spent a good 90 minutes climbing the sand dunes of Death Valley, then headed off to explore the rest of the park.

On Saturday afternoon, after Valley of Fire, we headed to The Strip because I had promised Destructo he could see the dolphins and tigers at the Mirage and go to the M&M store. They are about a mile apart, so we parked near the M&M store and walked to the Mirage.

The Strip was everything I remember, and so much more. The whore vendors were out in full force, handing out flyers to any male who walked by. The sidewalks were wall-to-wall people in various stages of drunkenness, and would have been a great people-watching opportunity if I hadn't been there with a 4 y/o. We did what we set out to do, then headed back to the comfort of our hotel.

Overall, it was a nice break from the monotony of day-to-day life. I got to spend quality time with Destructo without distractions, the Wildcard had a great time with his friend, and I got a few hundred great photos from the weekend.