Censorship (it’s ugly)

Update: WE WON


Take a look at the Google homepage today. Or don’t. Who knows if ‘today’ is even when I have posted this anyway. Here’s what I’m wanting you to see:

Here’s the ‘please don’t censor the web!’ link from above.

Take Action

If you happened to visit Wikipedia on Tuesday, you found this:

Powerful stuff. Some of the most influential websites are protesting censorship. (And here’s another petition, by the by: Fight SOPA)

Here’s what got people all up in arms. There are two bills making the rounds of the House and Senate. SOPA  (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the house version. PIPA (Protect IP Act – presumably IP is Internet Privacy, but it could be just IP, like an IP address) is the one making the rounds of the senate.

The actual bill texts are linked above, but the overall gist of both is very bad for anybody who actually puts content on the net. I’ll stop here to address something key to understanding the problem. These fuckers are marketing tools. Both bills have deceptive names. Stop Online Piracy? Woah! That sounds like a GOOD thing, right? Who the hell wants to encourage idea and content theft? Protect IP where “IP” has something to do with the Internet? That sounds seriously necessary. Doesn’t it? Yah. Bullshit.

Both bills are worded so vaguely that an unidentified government agency could step in and call just about anything piracy. So sites like Wikipedia, where people reproduce pictures from other sites, would be affected. Sites like Regretsy, where April Winchell makes a merry mockery of Etsy crap by posting the original pictures, would also be threatened. Because even though Winchell religiously attributes things, anybody who didn’t want her to use their images could prevent her from doing so, simply to silence her ‘negative’ reviews. (For the record? People featured on Regretsy usually make tons of money, because half the time, somebody sees the garbage and WANTS it.)

Oh. To make this point, Winchell has also blacked her site out for a day, complete with a message satirizing what a seizure might look like if either of these bills make it into law. (She’s scarily accurate, though.)

Let me be clear here. Original content creators deserve to be compensated for their work, where such is appropriate. (If you posted it without the expectation of payment in the first place, you still deserve attribution.) Identity theft is criminal. It is a bad thing.

And SOPA and PIPA do not represent adequate efforts to end the real problems. Rather, they are poorly worded attempts to censor the net. They are knee-jerk reaction bills designed by groups who don’t care if they quash free speech in the name of protecting privacy and copyright/trademark.

The implications are far reaching, and anybody could potentially be affected. It’s worth your time to take a minute and sign the petitions above. I took the time to actually contact my congress persons several weeks ago. (They sent back bland letters suggesting they barely knew what an internet was, let alone what to do about one. But then, it isn’t surprising given where I live that these guys aren’t really aligned with my viewpoints on most issues.)

If you have a blog, do a post. If not, circulate those petitions on Facebook and Twitter. Let’s take collective action against censorship before 1984 shows up in our inboxes.

At the Museum Center

OK, back in December, I posted briefly about our family’s visit to the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. I teased you with a picture I took with my cell phone, because I can’t hook the big camera up to the netbook. (Canon is morally convinced I’ll blow the camera’s mind if I don’t load the driver discs first, and I don’t have a disc drive in the netbook.) Also, the upload speed on my aircard is slower than dialup.

I took lots of pictures with the big camera. Here are some down at the holiday train display

Sam sees himself

Train detailCaroline finds the cameraThat’s my awesome mother-in-law standing with Scott and the kids. I think about ten minutes into the tour all four of them were totally ready for me to put down the camera, but I was only getting started.

Because after the trains came this whole other holiday section. It included these stunning historical examples:

What are you?

Oh no!Yeah. I really believe this.Those. Are. Not. Reindeer. They are JACKELOPES. White-haired demon-horned JACKELOPES. That’s the stuff Christmas nightmares are made of right there, kiddies. Thank God they don’t talk anymore.

Other than those guys, the holiday section was nice, and it ended in a giant mural.

At the end of the holiday hallI used my ‘small’ lens to photograph this, but since it was at eye level, the detail is really easy to see.

Here’s another eye level mural

Here's the full muralAnd I also took a close-up of the tiles, still with the small lens.

And here's the detail of his legThis is one of the large murals way up in the arch ceiling of the … I guess it’s called rotunda area

This is also one I also posted from my cell phone

I zoomed in some with my little lens, and that was pretty cool, but it was NOTHING compared to what I got when I pulled out the big lens. Check THESE out.

Here's a close up of the seaman

And one of the workersThose things are forty feet up in the air, but the zoom on the big lens is so complete that I might as well be standing on top of the picture. The number of hours it must have taken to create that image, tile by tile boggles my mind.

OK, that’s the end of my picto-geek tour. Thanks for reading along. And if you’re ever in Cincinnati, take the time to see Union Terminal. It’s not a place that will quickly leave your mind.


I was 9 years old on January 28th, 1986, in Mrs. McMullen’s third grade class. We had one of those awful pods where five classes had been crammed into a giant room, separated by dividers. But there weren’t any dividers that day. The teachers had pushed them all over to the wall so we could turn in our seats to view the tiny television set up over in Mrs. Davis’s room. We were all excited, because we were going to watch the space shuttle Challenger take off.

Now, some of you reading this knew where I was going as soon as you read the date. Because you, too were somewhere on January 28th 1986. You, too, remember exactly what you were doing. Because your lives were marked by that moment. Even if you were personally unaffected by the deaths of the six astronauts and one courageous school teacher, you knew its significance. Your life was thereafter identified by ‘before’ and ‘after’ the explosion. And in recalling that moment, you doubtless recalled other such moments of demarcation, some personal, some very public. JFK’s death. Elvis’s. Nixon’s resignation. The assassination attempt on Reagan. September 11th 2011.

Without prompting, I can tell you that I sat in the middle pod, that even though the teachers closed the curtains, I could barely see the TV because the sun glared through the window right behind it, and that I knew exactly what had happened when the shuttle broke apart, even though they turned down the sound right away. We only watched for a few minutes after that. The principal said something unmemorable over the loudspeaker, the dividers went back up, and we tried to have a normal rest of the day. Except that normal had shifted in a way all of us could feel.

My kids were both born to a post 9/11 world. And so far no disaster has shaken either of their roots to the point of memory. Although Caroline was alive during hurricane Katrina, she was two, and we lived in Lexington, Kentucky. Her preschool class gave all their tzedakah money to the survivors, and she understood what happened at the time, but she doesn’t remember it. And several events in both of my kids’ childhoods have changed them, but they are all personal events, rather than public ones. So they do not yet share with their friends, or even each other, a point of before and after when normal became something else. But it will come. And when it does it will mark us as a family. It will mark us again as a nation.


*Caroline attended Gan Shalom Preschool at the Ohavay Zion synagogue in Lexington, Kentucky. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the program. Among other things, the kids collected tzedakah money, money for charity, and used it to send help those in need.

That’s nice, Jessie, but now I’m distracted. Take me back to where I was.

This post is for the Write On Edge Surprise Prompt featuring a desolately beautiful shuttle launch photo. That pictures is actually from 1999, but I thought immediately of 1986. I have not yet read the other submissions, but I fully expect to see a lot of Challenger memories, because it is January, and because most of us are old enough to remember.

Don’t Steal My Sunshine (I’ll Share It)

I won The Sunshine award! The amazing Queen of Alyssaland has bestowed it upon me, and it is now my stately duty to pass it on to three more bloggers and answer these fun questions.

Favorite color?

Varies. I’m pretty big on purple clothes, but I like sunny yellow walls, and I’ve never had objections to basic black.

Favorite animal?

Sam. No, seriously, I’m a cat person. We don’t have any because of Scott’s allergies, but I had tribes of them growing up.

Favorite number?

I suppose 14.

Favorite drink?

Margarita. Lime. With salt. Though our friends Dennis and Kristi have got Scott and I branching out, and I’ve discovered an undeniable fondness for pomegranate martinis.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. The constant updates drive me batshit crazy, but I cannot condense myself to 140 characters on a regular basis. I don’t buy that doing so increases my creativity, and I primarily use Twitter to share my blog or say things that only need a few words anyway. (219 char. I did that on purpose)

Your passion?

Writing. Without any question at all. Writing.

Giving or getting presents?

Depends. Mostly, getting. But if I have got the perfect thing, GOD I love to give a good gift.

Favorite day?

My birthday.

Favorite flower?

That one has changed a few times. I used to be nuts for sunflowers, and then it was roses. Right now, I’m really into the scent of gardenias.

Most important of all, I do hereby spread the sunshine to the following bloggers. You won’t be sorry when you drop by their pads.

Should they choose to accept they will be bound by these rules:

1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it. (I feel weird putting that in there. Here’s an award, now thank me for it.)

2. Answer the same questions I did above.

3. Pass the award along to other bloggers, link to their blogs and inform them of the honor that has been bestowed upon them.

The Accidental Cootchie Mama: Andra Watkins’ sly wit constantly catches me by surprise. Some of my favorite posts are the ones laced with misdirection and seeded with hilarious links.

If This is Motherhood: I think Bella and I are twins born a couple of years apart to different parents. My favorite posts are the ones where she speaks candidly about her struggles to raise two gifted boys and her series “This Is Who I Am”.

Mangetout: Purely aside from the fact that she lives in France, where I someday yearn to at least visit, earlybird has a knack for rendering images into words without reducing beauty to syrup. I love her recipes, and this month, I’ve been enjoying her River of Stones series.

Friday Fluff (On a Sunday)

Confession. When I was a teen, I used to take quizzes obsessively. I subscribed to Sassy magazine and thrived on its multiple choice options.  I obsessed over the scores and tried to decide if the answers were accurate, or if they even applied to me, since I hadn’t been able to find anything very close to my own experiences in the possibilities.

I do not miss those days.

Which is why, when some of my favorite bloggers like Dawnie and Alyssa started completing quizzes written by teenagers and answering them with grown up sarcasm, I laughed heartily and then moved on. Because, I don’t miss those days.

But the more I read, the more I found myself interjecting my own snarky, sarcastic answers. And when a new blog that I’d only just started reading, Seeking Elevation, had even more funny responses to these misspelled, absurdly worded, bizarre questions, I couldn’t hold back any longer.

It happens once a week. It’s called Friday Fluff. If you want to play, this week’s questions (Jan. 13) came from here. Next week’s questions (Jan 20) will be from here. And when you’re done, you can linkup over at Seeking Elevation, like I’m about to do.

Are you an early riser?

No. But I love the song “Early Morning Riser” by Pure Prairie League.

Do you shower before or after work?

In the middle actually

Do you have a gym mebership?

No, but I am a meMber of the Y.

Do you go to the gym everyday?

Let’s talk grammar. “everyday” Is a compound word. It means commonplace. It should be used in phrases like “an everyday occurrence”. Every [space] day means “each day”. And no.

Do you take unscheduled breaks at work?

You assume I’m “at work” when I’m working. Next question.

Are you tired during the day?

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Do you stop at a grocery store every day?

Not even when I worked at one.

At week ends you stay home all day in your pajamas watching tv?

So much to go with on this one. I’ll have to go with “I hate TV”.

You have a few drinks in the evening?

That sentence was declarative; it should have ended in a period. And some evenings, yes.

If you are retired, are you online most of the day?

Wait. You assumed I was “at work” four questions ago. Now you want to know if I’m retired?  Excusez-moi. Je crois que vous êtes confus.

Do you cook?

Doesn’t everyone?

Do you eat out most of the time?

See here.

Do you spend lots of time on the phone?

No. On rare occasions, I’ll get a call from someone I have not spoken with in too long, and we will spend three or four hours gabbing. But even at that, it doesn’t stretch out to be enough to justify my cell plan most months.

If at work, do you chat online on company’s time or texting?

Now we’re back to assuming I’m at work. What is it with you?!  And by “chat” do you mean “IM” or “talk on the phone”? And what is “texting’s time”?

If there’s a party on Sunday night and you have to work in the morning, do you party anyways?

It’s “anyway” and hell yes, I do. I have years of being a geeky teen who didn’t get invited to parties at all to make up for. Unfortunately, all my friends probably have to work, too, so odds are, we’re all done by 9 o’clock.

Do you take a day off from work just so you can go shopping or fishing?

If I were remotely interested in either activity, I might. As I’m not, I don’t.

Do you feel great when you get up in the morning?

This is a trick question, right? To see if I’ve changed my mind from number one? Let’s put it this way. My sleep shirts all have messages. One says “Punish the Perky”. Another says “I’m awake. What more do you want?”

Do you feel like your daily duties are more like KP duty?

Many of my duties are kitchen patrol duties. Except my saint of a husband does even more of those than I do, so we don’t live in a sty.

Do you go to bed before midnight?


Do you take an afternoon nap?

See above


Bra Wars

It’s not like I enjoy wearing a bra. I refused to put one on until sixth grade when my PE teacher complained to the principal that he could see my boobs jiggling when I ran. They were that big. And he was that much of a stunted perv. (Stunted because he was horrified; perv because he was looking.) So the school made me wear a bra back when I was only a B cup. (And a B cup at age 12 is something noteworthy, I guess.).

For reasons I won’t go into here, I can’t wear one with underwires. That means that even now that I’ve been conditioned into feeling naked when my boobs are flopping along near my midriff, I get almost no support from what I do put on. Maybe they make them that work for people of my dimensions. But I haven’t found one yet. And I’m not looking that hard, because I’ve found a brand that offers a reasonable balance between comfort and support. They’ve even come down in price recently so I don’t have to pawn out my children anymore to buy one.

That said, I own a sufficient number of bras that I shouldn’t ever lose them all. Even if I can’t find a particular one at any given time, I ought to be able to grab a bra whenever I need one. But I can’t. It’s a given that if I want to go somewhere, I can’t lay hands on even one upper body foundation garment.

I’m sure it’s Freudian. I hate my bras. I don’t really want to find one. They’re scratchy in one place and pinchy in another, and as soon as I put one on, my breasts beg for release.  “Comfort” is a relative term. But, aside from the ‘people are staring’ issue, the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders do help distribute the weight, so that I’m breaking my shoulders, neck, AND back, not just my back alone, with my G cups.

While I have reached a point in my life where I own six or so that fit, I still yearn to find the perfect blend of price, comfort, and yes beauty. There, I said it. I want cute bras. I cannot find adorable bras in my size at all. Even the ones with a little lace are pretty industrial grade.

It goes without saying that I’m planning surgery. I’m only twenty pounds from my goal weight, and then my missiles are going back to the factory. And when I’m back to a perfectly normal C cup, I plan to buy Wal-Mart out of cheap, flowery, pastel, soft cotton braces. I’ll also raid the naughty section for matched sets of bright red, hot pink, lacy, gauzy, tawdry undergarments. When my bosom is less luxurious, I’ll be able to wear my bras strapless and banded. I’ll have sports bras and formal bras, casual bras for around the house, sleeping bras for going to bed, and I might even branch out into pasties. (Well, no. I won’t go that far. I’m not into taping sensitive skin.)

I know that women with small breasts yearn for large ones and vice versa, but my boobs and I are at war. Within the next year, I’m going down in size. And then, I know, I will find the perfect bra.


I’m linking this post up with the folks at Story Dam who asked for a story of under 600 words that fits with the theme of “Where is it”, in which a character has lost something important.

Fiction: Weep


No clouds at all. The soft waves masked a riptide, and there were no swimmers. Even the morning’s shell seekers had retreated from the midday heat,  and white sand ran into green ocean ran into blue sky in uninterrupted succession.

On the balcony, James sipped his iced tea. The ceiling fan whipped in circles without stirring the air down by the table.  “I haven’t seen it this tranquil in a long time.”

Melinda nodded, but she didn’t speak. She watched the condensation weep down the side of her glass.

“There will be others,” James said.

Again, she nodded without saying anything, still watching the droplets zigzag down to eventually collect in a puddle  around the base. In the distance, a white speck pierced the horizon, grew into the shape of a fishing boat, then drifted out of view, heading in the direction of the docks.

Melinda picked up her glass, but not to drink. She wiped the water off the table and put the tea back down untouched. She looked at the place where the ship had vanished, but nothing else emerged from the cove.

James looked there too, for a little while, but then returned his eyes to the tea. He used one finger to stir the ice around, and the clinking cubes cut into the balcony’s silence. He stopped stirring.

“I suppose everything ends, doesn’t it?” he said.

“I suppose so,” Melinda answered, and at last she took a drink from her glass.


This is the first time I’ve put fiction on my blog, and I’m linking up with the folks over at Trifecta who use the rule of 3. Stories must be between 33 and 333 words and must be based on Merriam Webster’s third definition of a chosen word. Sound pretty obscure? That’s just exactly why I like it.

Anyway, when commenting on my fiction, please know that I welcome constructive criticism. I’ve got a thick skin. I like the chance to resolve things that aren’t working.

Train train

The weekend after I got back from my solo Ohio trip, I had scheduled a surprise for our family. (This was a bad idea; I’m even worse at planning surprises than I am at keeping them.) I wrote the melodramatic message “Make no plans. Board the dog” across the calendar weekend of December 10th and waited for Scott to notice.

It involved a giant topiary moose

I actually did a very good job of waiting, since I bought the tickets towards the end of November, and he didn’t notice until the day before I left for Cincinnati. He was adding a kid therapy to the calendar and asked “What plans aren’t we making next weekend? Why are we boarding the dog?” And, the kicker, “Doesn’t Caroline have Nutcracker practice?”

And that, my friends, is why I know better than to go off and plan something without consulting my better half. Of course Caroline had Nutcracker practice. It wasn’t a dress rehearsal, but the show was only a week away, so it was a full cast run-through, and she really wasn’t supposed to miss.

This old caboose is actually the ticket office

I had to delay coping with this until I got back from my trip. Then, the following Monday, I asked Caroline, “next weekend, would you rather have a sleepover with a friend if I can arrange it or…”


“Don’t you want to know what you’ll be missing?”

“I want a sleepover!”

“OK, but only if I can figure one out for you!” So I scrambled around and located a saint of a grandparent who was willing (nay, enthusiastic!) to have Caroline come spend the night with her granddaughter (who is one of Caroline’s best friends) AND take her back and forth to Nutcracker practice. And Caroline wasn’t even moderately disappointed when she found out what she would be missing.

By then, Scott and Caroline knew what was coming, and I knew I wasn’t going to get Sam on a four hour long car ride without some serious bait, so let him in on the fun as well.  I asked him, “Do you want to come on a Santa train ride?”

“Oh YES!”

No coatAnd so, on December 10th, we dropped Caroline with her friend at the mall and drove four hours to north Georgia to ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. We were in an open air car, it was around 30 degrees, and Sam did not want to wear his coat.

We didn’t fight it. We were running late by the time we got to the station, we almost missed getting onboard, and we were still better prepared than one mother, whose children didn’t even bring coats. To her credit, she had been told the same thing I had. The website clearly states that the cars are open air. But when we called the ticketing booth to reserve, the lady on the other end of the phone said, “Oh no, they have roofs and everything. It’s the middle of winter!”

If ever a more literal minded person I meet, I will be astounded. Yes, the cars DID have roofs. And walls. But there were no windows meaning they were absolutely as ‘open air’ as they had been advertised to be. We had dragged our coats from the car, even if Sam was refusing to wear his, because this particular railway actually goes somewhere. It takes a scenic tour from one town to another, lets passengers disembark in a little town for an hour and then takes them back.

We snuggled him between us and he didn't get really cold.I had already been looking forward to taking train pictures. But then, when I got my awesome camera while up in Cincinnati, my very first thought, before even the baptism and wedding I was attending up there, was “Oh my GOD the train pictures just got incredible”. And that was before I snapped photo one.

Mommy has HER coat on Sam, don't you want YOUR coat?

The open air car only increased the picture quality. I captured shots that I had been dreaming of since our Amtrak honeymoon. If I could have gotten just ONE photo like these ten years ago, I could have saved myself rolls and ROLLS of film.

Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distanceI’m pretty sure that when we went over a narrow bridge and the conductor announced on the loudspeaker “everyone please remain completely in the car until we have completely passed over the bridge” it was entirely for the benefit of myself and a couple of restless kids who kept sticking various body parts out the window.

And then, the world’s coolest Santa Claus came down the aisle. It takes a LOT to cool me out over Santa, and this guy totally did the trick:

Less Santa more Golden Compass, yes?I love the victorian vest and ruffled shirt. And that thing in his hand is a silver sleigh bell. (Yes, we got one for Caroline, too.) Of course, those things made it that much harder to watch the bastardized version of the Polar Express that Disney puts on. (And yes, it was that night after we got back to the hotel from the train that it showed up on our room TV.)

And he posed for pictures!Anyway, once we reached our destination and got off the train, Sam FINALLY realized it was cold and let himself be stuffed in his jacket. We wandered around the little town, got a hideous meal at a local pizza place (So what if it sucked! We were in love!), and bought me a hat, because the temperature was rapidly dropping and my coat lacked a hood.

Hood and reflectionThe next time we go, Caroline has made us promise to take her, too. I don’t think she’s going to have to wait for next Christmas, either, because all of us were completely enchanted, and I don’t think we got to see even half of what was available.

Fast Food

Bread – that this house may never know hunger
Salt – that life may always have flavor.
Wine – that joy and prosperity may reign forever.
—  It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Let’s talk food. Specifically fast food. Though I typically don’t, I’ve been eating a lot of it lately. Holiday travel necessitates relaxation of all rules. (Not to mention, I knew when I started that I’d be taking December off from my diet to make it possible for others to live with me).

There’s a great deal of bread and salt (two of my favorite ingredients) in the typical fast food meal. Not enough wine, I suppose, and I would need to go to Europe to find a Micky D’s with beer, but, I digress. The truth is that I hate the stuff. All the salt in the world won’t help if there is no flavor to bring out.

The hamburger patties come in two basic varieties: thin-dry and greasy-thick. There are variations and amalgamations, such as greasy-thin and crumbly-thick. But I like my burgers flavorful. Neither grease nor sauce can substitute for appropriately used seasonings.

When at all possible, I order grilled chicken. But these restaurants usually serve rubber chicken that might as well be in a teapot and a skit. Besides, even more than burgers, fast food chicken has no flavor. Again, grease and sauce are not substitutes.

When we were in Cincinnati, we ate at Skyline Chili, a family favorite. We even got Caroline to have a three way. (It’s different in Cincinnati.) It tasted divine; I love cinnamon laced Cincy-Chili. But oh the nausea! It must have been two parts garlic to one part grease!

And don’t get me started on the pizzas. I’ve had them too thick, too thin, with too little sauce, with too much sauce, not enough cheese, burned cheese, disgusting toppings (that should have tasted just fine). Enough!

Scott and I have the solution. We want to start our own restaurant. It will be a sit down chain, with wait staff and food fit for adults and kids alike. And right in the middle of the room, there will be a glassed in play area. I don’t see us really doing that. But the day somebody does will be the one we remember how to have a pleasant meal on the road.


Red Writing HoodI’m linking this one up with the Write on Edge Red Writing Hood Flavor prompt.

Best Birthday Present Ever

Last month, when I went up to Cincinnati, I got to see my Dad. It’s the first time I’ve seen him without my kids since Caroline was born. We had an awesome lunch, and he gave me my birthday present. Now, Dad and I don’t typically exchange gifts. Only when we’ve found something worth giving, really.

He had been hinting about this present for months. He kept saying  “You are gonna blister me when you see this thing”. I couldn’t imagine.  Because Dad has pulled some very strange gifts out of thin air in the past. He got our family a Toboggan for four when we lived in Lexington, KY. We didn’t exactly have opportunities to use it. But he’s also given me some really cool useful things. He got me an ergonomic shaped purse one year that I carried for something like a decade until right after we moved down here. (A moving day accident involving Sam, WD-40, a can of paint, and the garage rendered the purse and most of its contents insalvageable.)

So it would be an understatement to say my curiosity was piqued. A big understatement. Dad insisted that as long as I packed right, I’d be able to tuck this thing into a carry-on bag for the plane, which pretty much eliminated ‘replacement toboggan’. But other than that, I knew it could be a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.

When I met Dad for lunch, he had a gleam of excited mischief on his face, and a big box beside him on the table. I took his picture with my phone to commemorate the meeting.

my Dad

We ate, and we visited for something like an hour before the subject of the gift came around. Suddenly he was nervous. He had, after all, been working himself up since October with this thing.

a box

The present came out of the box in parts. First, there was a compartmentalized bag. (And I was waayyy too impatient to photograph the bits as I removed them.) I said, “Nice bag.” And even as I said it, I was thinking huh, looks like… and before the thought fully formed, I looked back in the box and saw what had been beside the bag in transit.

this astonishing camera.

…a camera bag. “It is a camera bag!” I said.

And is it ever a camera bag. My Dad got me a Canon T3 Rebel. I have been BEGGING Scott to consider investing in an expensive SLR camera, and this is what I’ve had my eye on. Dad and Scott had not been in contact. Dad had no idea. He just went out on a limb and got it.  Also, he got me a fantastic lens. At the wedding I was in town to attend that very night, I got tons of compliments from my Auntie Em and even the professional photographer.

The photographer (who taught me how in the hell to use the thing, by the way – really awesome guy) said many kit cameras are just glorified, heavier, handhelds. But the Rebel (as this thing appears to be nicknamed) is classy.
I have barely put it down since December. I’ve taken wedding pictures, baptism pictures, train pictures, kid pictures, everything. Dad followed up at Christmas with a long range zoom lens.
My crazy niece

When I took this picture, I was standing across the room from my niece, who had demanded proof that a lens like that would only photograph her eyeball if I used it indoors.

Can I just say that I think I’m taken care of for the next decade or so? I don’t think I can ever remember a birthday present this awesome in my entire life. Not one. It’s something I wanted SO badly but probably wouldn’t have gotten on my own. It’s something I’ll enjoy for a very long time. It’s a gift and  memory that I’ll always treasure. Thanks, Dad.