Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Houston = humid but fun

DH and I had a whirlwind long weekend in Houston. It was the convergence of many relatives. Simply put, several convenient coincidences allowed members of both my mom's and dad's side of the family to be there while we were. This meant herding cats bunnies (my cousin Justus has 2 house bunnies, Badger and Peppercorn) relatives, several cars, big meals out, and random sightseeing - all typical at my extended family reunions/vacations.

Highlights from our trip:

Thursday: We arrived mid-morning in Houston. After a quick stop at my aunt's house, we headed to lunch at Ninfa's on Navigation (awesome fajitas and homemade tortillas), a trip to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, taking photos of ducks and ducklings at my cousin's girlfriend's office park pond, visiting my maternal Grandma and Grandpa's resting spot, a big Chinese dinner with family at Fung's Kitchen, and hole-in-the-wall Mexican shaved ice.

Friday: Breakfast and coffee at Brasil, an outing at the Menil Collection (including the Cy Twombly Gallery, Rothko Chapel, and Dan Flavin Installation), hanging out at my cousin Justus's apartment (where we stayed), visiting cousins Eric and An's place (playing with doggie Skyy), and attending my cousin Marina's Rehearsal Dinner at Cafe Ginger.

Saturday: Early morning play time and photo shoot of the bunnies and cousin Justus, breakfast at Baby Barnaby's, a walk downtown to see some of the skyscrapers (yes, nerdy architect stuff), coffee at "The End of the Universe", a visit to the Beer Can House, and, of course, my cousin Marina's wedding at The Houston Club. The bride and groom were beautiful and handsome (respectively) and a great time was had by all! (We also played a late game of Ticket to Ride, which I actually won! So of course I had to add that in there.)

Sunday: I took an early walk with my cousin and his girlfriend through their Montrose neighborhood and took some photos while DH caught a few more winks, then we headed to Laredo Taqueria for some late breakfast (excellent tacos and homemade tortillas!), a group of cousins headed to the theater to catch District 9 (interesting) and took us by a Jamba Juice (to satisfy my craving - they really need to open some up in Georgia!), a quick stop at the Williams Water Wall and Galleria Mall before another big Chinese dinner at Confucious Seafood Restaurant with the family, then a cousin outing to see the Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders - our first ever MLS game!

Monday: We hopped onto a flight at the crack of dawn and got back in to work in Atlanta at noon. (Thanks, Justus, for getting up so early!)

Click on the images below to see my photo albums:

Houston - Part 1

Houston - Part 2 - Marina and Nicholas

Houston - Part 3

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy Bee

Not much to post about lately, just life going on as usual - house projects, work projects, weekend visitors, movie outings, and my arch-nemesis, house cleaning! I did get a new camera backpack and camera strap to try out. We're taking a trip via airplane soon, so I thought it would be a good time to test out the camera backpack. I searched all over the internet trying to find one with easy access, sleek design, and good price. In addition with some feedback from friends, I decided to go ahead and get one with a small laptop sleeve in it as well (even though I don't have said laptop yet) and room for at least a shoe-mount flash and maybe 2-3 other lenses (also don't have those yet). I ended up ordering the Kata DR-466 Digital Rucksack with Reflex E camera strap. Additional bonus: there's a $15 rebate currently for the backback I ordered ($20 if you get a more expensive one). The camera strap comes in three sections - a cushy neck section, and then two straps that go on either side of the camera. There are release clips that allow you to remove the neck strap and hook the two ends to D-rings on the backpack straps, transferring and distributing the weight of the camera to your shoulders through the backpack straps and relieving your neck. The neck strap portion has two small zippered compartments - one on either end. I can fit my USB SD card reader and my tiny Nikon ML-L3 wireless remote control in there nicely. I could also put an SD card in there, but with a 16 GB card, I don't really need to carry around extra memory! I did read many online reviews before purchasing, and one thing that I already knew was that the Reflex E strap by itself could be a bit long if you are short, which indeed it is, but at the same time, the end lengths are perfect when you hook it onto the backpack. Really, I think I need the neck portion shortened. But the strap by itself does allow you to carry the camera cross-body and lift the camera to take a photo without having to shimmy your arm back out of the strap or shimmy it around your in order to lift the camera up to eye-level. Thought it was a pretty cool system, so I'll have to review it once I use it more.

Me testing out the new camera backpack and strap with my assistant, Thoth.
Some great bee shots that DH took the other day as they buzzed around our driveway hydrangea - you can see the pollen on the bee's rear in the second photo.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stamp happy

Not a craft project...I got my official Registered Architect stamp today. Actually, another co-worker and I both got our stamps today, so we had a little fun testing them out. Don't really plan to be using it any time soon, but you can be sure to see them on our Christmas cards this year! :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tree Removal

Late Sunday night during a heavy rain storm, one of our silver maple trees fell in our driveway. We were very thankful to have a few friends that offered to help with either a chainsaw or truck. In the end, our friend Adam came by this morning with both to help us cut it up and haul it to the county landscape waste area. Luckily, the tree missed the house, just made a very small dent in the back of my car trunk where a small branch hit it, and didn't damage the driveway. It was the last of three major branch trunks on that tree, and we knew it was starting to rot at the base. Thanks very much to Adam and DH for getting this done!!