happy anniversary to me…

Who knew? WordPress just sent me the notification… reminding me that I created this blog THREE WHOLE YEARS AGO. Where in the world did the time go? Technically, that time went from the United States to Australia and back, and now I’ve been back in the U.S. for two years. How about that?

I should come up with some deep thoughts on how this blog has changed me, but I’m afraid I don’t have anything that profound to tell you. I will put some more thought into it over the next week, but for the moment, I have to give a presentation tomorrow and I need my sleep. You understand, I’m sure.

Happy Three Years to me!

IMG_20140401_151926

“Six Degrees of Freedom”

IMG_20140403_131317

gift from an Aussie friend…

IMG_20140404_162201

coffee & friends are wonderful…

IMG_20140403_104006

memorial park tiger…

IMG_20140401_152614

reflections of fluor-daniel…

ahoy, pollen season…

I did it, finally! Yes, that unheard of thing called… downloading my phone pics to my computer. Time to catch up, at last. Some of you may remember that I went north for Spring Break, to Pennsylvania and Maryland. And it snowed. Yes, while I didn’t have a glove or scarf to my name, 3-4 inches of snow fell that night, and I had a time of it, clearing and reloading my car.IMG_20140317_081020044 IMG_20140317_091033331 IMG_20140317_091215858Anyway, it’s been a few weeks (I think), and the first bursts of spring have already arrived in the form of pear blossoms and cherry blossoms, and even the pink tulip trees are just about past. How did I know that? Well, aside from the trees beginning to turn green instead of pink or white, my car is simultaneously turning yellow.IMG_20140317_091842445 IMG_20140317_141530361You guessed it, as difficult as it may be. That wonderful time of year, pollen season, has arrived. And as always, I am grateful to not have allergies. However, I’m not grateful for the layer of yellow dust that gets on everything, and with a stiff breeze makes me feel like I had a cloud of dirt thrown in my eyes. Wait, maybe I did. They were putting fresh mulch out, the other day, near the stadium. That was a thrilling walk back to my car, even if it was 80 degrees out. The breeze would have been awesome, except it wafted the smell of fresh mulch in my face, as well as a layer of dirt and pollen that always managed to get behind my glasses. I should be grateful I wasn’t wearing my contacts, I suppose, because then I’d never be able to close my eyes again over the dirt layer. IMG_20140306_121457157 IMG_20140324_110746835 IMG_20140324_110847221 Meanwhile, I have discovered that Clemson doesn’t seem to have an automatic car wash, anymore, and I still need one with an undercarriage wash to get the rest of the salt off my car. Yep, my car has a layer of salt AND pollen on it right now, it’s quite lovely. But when I realized I needed to drive all the way to Anderson (I know, a whopping 20 minutes!) just to get my car washed, I became quite stubborn. Need to come up with something else to do when I get there, before I talk myself into it. If I’m lucky, it’ll even be something interesting.IMG_20140324_110925034IMG_20140324_111034000But for now, I hope you enjoy the contrasting pics belonging to both winter and spring, all with two weeks and multiple states. I hope your spring arrives soon, if it hasn’t done so yet! IMG_20140324_132004433 IMG_20140324_132135012 IMG_20140401_090831628

 

recent snippets…

Now that I have finished my paper for History 299 (hooray!), I should finally be able to download the rest of my latest pictures onto the computer. Not from my camera, of course, but from my phone. Somehow, when I was in PA during spring break, I took most of my pictures with the phone. I’ll doublecheck to make sure I don’t post any duplicates. But here are a few from that trip and from recently, until the next downloads come through.

And yes, I did see a lot of babies over Spring Break, why do you ask?  ; )  My trip was a hodge-podge of visits with friends and their babies, eating, snow, and lots of other things… and there aren’t even any snow pictures here! Yes, all on the phone, with no time or energy to get them. Later, later. Also, still having issues with the new WordPress photo editing tools, which makes this the second time I’ve attempted to put this post together. Frustrating. But I hope you enjoy the pictures just the same, and maybe I’ll have time to do some real blogging, soon!    DSC_0402IMG_20140316_144811046IMG_20140316_140409361_HDRIMG_20140315_142233163IMG_20140315_113948274     DSC_0384 DSC_0382IMG_20140314_090545434 DSC_0360IMG_20140314_091159935 DSC_0346IMG_20140314_13594560810006600_10152272624424976_822995298_o

march came in like a lion…

I keep hearing this quote about March not being very lamb-like. For once, I had to look up that idiom, because I’d never heard it before. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re talking about March coming in like a lion, then the next words should be, “a-whippin’ up the water in the bay, then April sighed and stepped aside…”. Of course, I realize that April may have smiled, and I just know the lyric wrong, but it doesn’t really matter. Carousel doesn’t sing about March becoming mild at the end of it, and South Carolina doesn’t always follow the rules that come with the weather.

For now, since some of you are still experiencing winter at the tail end of March, while we’re well-launched into spring, I’ll share some of my pictures and hope that your daffodils will be along soon. They can’t really be that far away.  : )DSC_0266 DSC_0271 DSC_0276 DSC_0277 DSC_0280 DSC_0297 DSC_0312 DSC_0322

upside-down illusions…

As you will probably guess, I have been excessively busy, so I have little time to write anything for this blog. I’m very sorry. But even when I have no time to take my camera anywhere with me, my smartphone and Instagram have become good friends of mine. And I have been really enjoying the tricks I can play with photos taken at the Clemson University Reflection Pond. Enjoy.10153099_10152300136899976_1911515079_n

10148261_10152300798689976_1289546144_o

#dreamsofcherryblossoms

1957985_10152302453369976_1634289987_n

#barricadesinthesky

P.S. I don’t know what they did with the editing options on WordPress photos, but I don’t like it. They better fix it.

long time, no see…

Yes, school has been keeping me busy. And it will continue to do so, at least until the semester ends in April. Hopefully I’ll have found a part-time job by then, to continue to keep me busy. But for the most part, I don’t have the IMG_20140305_112211brain-space left for writing anything thoughtful on here, because I’m juggling classwork, studying, and writing/researching papers. And since I’m taking two history courses and a British Lit course, this semester, a lot of my classwork involves reading, reading, reading.

Related to that thought, you’ll be thrilled to know that I got a smartphone. Why, yes, those two actually are related. I won’t go into the details that caused me to upgrade to a phone that allows me to keep track of phone calls AND Facebook messages, but it definitely happened. This allowed me to join the world of Instagram, because now I have a phone number to sign up with. I had tried before, in order to follow some of my friends’ accounts, but it would never let me without that phone number.IMG_20140302_213726 Sigh.

And with the sudden ability to upload randomly interesting photos to Instagram, I’ve found myself sharing pictures of the books I’m reading for school. It makes me look studious.  : )  But it also gives me practice at taking a different type of photo, those snapshots that you can only take with your phone. And plenty of opportunity to yell at my phone for not focusing when I “tell it to”.

While most of my reading for British Literature is fun and interesting, because we’re concentrating on sea monsters, mermaids, and sailors, it’s not all joy. Somehow, the water theme was related to Helen Oyeyemi’s Opposite HouseIMG_20140303_090135. For those of you who have never heard of it, it was written in the genre of magical realism, and if you heard me complain last semester, I abhor magical realism. Google it, I won’t take the time to explain. While the author writes beautifully in spots, it just mostly doesn’t make sense. Sure, you read into it and analyze, but whatever happened to just writing a good straight-up story? Thankfully, we finished with it today, and will be moving on to some more normal BritLit.

On the other hand, The Eternal Paddy was quite interesting reading for Irish History, though it was a heavier read and took much longer. The author did a thorough study of Britain’s views on Ireland, as viewed from the newspapers, in the period of 1798 (right IMG_20140304_142544before Union) and 1882 (right before the Home Rule bills began). Seeing how Ireland was depicted in cartoons, as well as what the journalists wrote… it was rather fascinating. But now, we’ll be on to reading The Burning of Bridget Cleary over spring break, and while it’s a true story, I have no idea whether it will be easy reading or not.

But the main thing on my plate right now is a history project for HIST 299 (History Methodology), and I spend my spare time reading more IMG_20140227_175206studies on immigration in the South and newspapers on my hometown. That will continue to occupy my spare time, when I’m not studying for something else, until partway into April.

For the moment, I’m counting down the hours until I hit the road to go north… to see cousins in MD and friends in PA. Time to meet newborns and month old babies! Yes, and see my cousins and my best friends and anyone else I can fit in, during 6-7 days. I’m just about ready for a road trip… and don’t worry, I’m bring my real camera with me, along with my new phone.  : )  As much fun as my smartphone is, I fully acknowledge how much more awesome my Nikon is. I even took a bunch of photos of flowers, outside in a near windstorm this afternoon. Maybe I’ll get around to posting them after I get to PA.

I hope you have a marvelous week, just as I intend to!

care for some snow?

Yes, we really did get snow… despite this being South Carolina. Real snow! Alright, not as deep as I’ve seen in Pennsylvania, or even when I was little, living in New York. But that’s the great thing about living in the South, everyone gets excited about the snow, whether it’s happy excitement or frustrated excitement (you know, if you work in a store, and have to deal with people that fight over bread).DSC_0076

DSC_0073With the advent of real snow, I got my Tuesday classes off… for the splendid reason that my professor’s child’s daycare closed. So, while Clemson University held out until the bitter end, my Frisbee class also cancelled, and I started my snow week early. Because when the university finally DID cancelled, it ended up shutting down for two more days. Of course, on Tuesday, the snow continued all day, but it wasn’t quite cold enough to stick much, so the roads were fine.DSC_0078

photo 1

Credit: Amit Bendigeri

But on Wednesday! By the time I woke up, the roads were covered in slush, and though driving wasn’t too difficult, you still had to be cautious. Other areas were not so lucky, since they had ice thrown into the mix. Before too long, I checked to see if any of my friends wanted to go sledding, and we hit Kite Hill during the late afternoon. The four of us had never seen Kite Hill when all the college students and local families were out in force, before. Every contraption known to man that could possibly be used for sliding, was on the hill. Boxes, cookie trays, laundry baskets, surfboards, kayaks, and then a variety of actual sleds. Even when it began to sleet, and it really stung our faces, we managed to have fun.DSC_0125

DSC_0129DSC_0134On Thursday, I realized that I needed to build a snowman before the snow melted completely, so I headed into the backyard to make use of a shady spot. The weather was already headed into the 50′s, so I built my snowfellow as quickly as possible. The snow was much icier, so I had to pack him together carefully, but I had my carrot nose ready, and I found some acorns for his eyes. It’s been many long years since I built a snowman, but I’ve never put a face like that onto one. I rounded out that sunny, snow-melting day by watching a movie with a good friend, which was great. : )DSC_0135

DSC_0137And then, school began once more, and we had to get back to reality. Just like I will tomorrow, opening upon a full week of school, needing to study for tests and quizzes, and figuring out what primary sources I need for an upcoming project. I hope you’ve stayed warm and safe, no matter what kind of winter weather has been thrown at you recently!DSC_0149DSC_0153

happy valentine’s day!

If you want to hear my thoughts/ranting/commentary on the subject of Valentine’s Day and dating, then I’m afraid that you’ll have to go look at some of my posts from previous years. It’s all been said before, so I won’t say it again. : )DSC_0006

DSC_0003This year, to the great delight of my mother and I, we received early Valentine’s Day flowers. She had a multi-colored bouquet of roses from my dad, delivered right to her office. I’m sure you can understand why they made such a hit.DSC_0084

DSC_0087The next day, I came upstairs to find another bouquet of flowers, this one addressed to me. The red roses and carnations had been sent my youngest brother, who’s overseas in the Air Force. He had decided that Mom shouldn’t get to have ALL the Valentine’s Day fun, so he sent some flowers to brighten up my week. It certainly worked.DSC_0041

DSC_0044I hope you have a lovely holiday with your loved ones, and if you’re getting stormed in, somewhere, please stay warm and safe!DSC_0097DSC_0106

snow day…

Yes, we did get snow during the last week, but to anyone who’s lived up north, I understand completely that it’s barely worth mentioning. : ) But despite being born in New York state and spending 5 years of my life in Pennsylvania, in my twenties, I still haven’t gotten over the excitement of seeing snow. Come to think of it, I don’t think my parents have, either… but at least they can take joy in knowing that while we live in the South, they never have to shovel it again.DSC_0001

Now that I’m attending Clemson University, I really can’t escape the excitement, or rather, lunacy that occurs when there’s even a prediction of the white stuff. When snow flakes actually began to fall, I was in the parking lot, and there were barely any visible. But I called my mom to alert her that the craziness was about to begin. By the time I got home, where I was safe from all the Southerners that don’t know how to drive in “winter” weather, I could tell that the insanity had already begun.DSC_0014

But what more proof do you need that it WILL begin, than the subject of conversation in your first two classes? Everyone had their phones (or Kindle, in my case) out, checking their weather apps, and debating over who had the most accurate weather report. And there was a universal sense of unfairness at the fact that not only was USC already experiencing snow, but school had been cancelled in advance of the snow day… basically on the prediction. DSC_0018

Not sure what USC’s policy is on that, but Clemson never closes on a prediction. All other schools can close, but they wait until either the governor orders it, or there’s actually snow/sleet/ice on the ground. I’ve lived here most of my life, I assure you, I know how it works. So, my friends in Iowa wail with frustration that we get out of school, my professors pray for the cancellation so they can get out of their afternoon lecture, and the accident reports begin on the news. DSC_0020

Because it doesn’t matter how LITTLE snow is out there, Southerners don’t know how to drive in it, and the number of accidents escalates. And that doesn’t even count the fender-benders that probably occur in the university parking lots. I am so thankful I escaped before that began. For when the school did close early, everyone hurried to get out of there, and you can imagine what probably followed. And then we got the following day off school, too, so it was a win all around! (Except for my German class getting behind)DSC_0012

And while I made no snowmen, nor went sledding (Who was there to go with? Playing in the snow by yourself is NOT fun.), I heard of plenty of others who did, and enjoyed their time in the cold stuff. If you haven’t heard it before, then make a note of it… Southerners have more fun in the snow, because we don’t have to shovel it, and it’s SO much more exciting. If you live up north, I hope you experience a Southern “snow”, someday, in order to see the proof.