spring is coming… in the south, at least…

In reviewing my most “recent” blog posts, I can see that they all seem to revolve around breaks… fall break, Christmas break, etc…  In keeping with that, I have just officially begun Spring Break. At least I’ve tried to come up with a different title, though. If you recall back to when I started back to Clemson, I wasn’t so busy that I couldn’t write (or think) yet.

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Crocuses were coming up in the yard before I drove north.

It’s possible that it didn’t have to be this busy for me, but I made a last minute change to my spring schedule, and ended up with three classes that involved a lot of writing. So, when I’m not writing, I’m reading for class. Or thinking about doing either. Or trying NOT to think about it, because my head needs a break. Know the feeling?

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Ice-coated trees on the way north, made the mountains sparkle.

While spring is arriving here, it hasn’t arrived where my friends are, up in PA. I just got back from a weekend conference there, last weekend, so obviously I won’t actually be going anywhere during my “official” break. Too much reading to do. And sleeping. That’s the big difference, this time. I will be allowed to goof off, but in the back of my head, I do remember that I need to go start finding sources for my Theatre History paper. And reading for several classes, even when I have no official homework.

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My dear camp was covered in a few feet of snow…

The trees are starting to bud, though, so maybe I’ll take my camera out to see the pear trees in bloom next week. I don’t think I took my camera out for anything, last year, because I’ve been using my camera phone for most things. Hey, whatever works, and whatever you have time for.

Spring Break will also be a time for applying to jobs, so that I actually get one for the summer. I waited too late, last year, and never could find one. I shall be on top of that, this year, if nothing else.

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But the sun came out last Saturday, and made it safer to walk around outside.

Advising appointments begin soon, so I will have to think some more about what classes I want to take in the fall, so I can get the seal of approval from my advisor. I’ll be done with my German requirements, but I will probably take another German class, a history class (World War II, anyone?), and Music Appreciation (humanities requirements…). Beyond that, I haven’t thought too much, because I haven’t passed my math placement test yet, so I can’t even sign up for a math class.

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And more signs of springtime greeted me when I returned to the south.

Someday, I will have interesting things to tell you again, and time to do it in. A long trip of some kind would be great… wouldn’t I just love to go spend a few months in Australia? But that’s a few years in the future, still. So, I hope you enjoy the arrival of spring and my few pictures. 🙂

been to the beach…

What can I say? Seabrook in May… is awesome, as always. Wonderful friends, fantastic meetings with Rex sharing from the Word of God, splendid food, and did I mention it’s at the beach?  DSC_0845DSC_0817I’m finding that I don’t have very much to say about it… probably because I waited too long, but also since I’ve said it so many times before. Come to think of it, there were a few differences this year, but not all of them were my fault. : )  For one, I didn’t play any Frisbee, because I wanted to go walk to the Point during the daytime, for once. There were people throwing a disc around, but they were finished by the time I returned. Considering that I usually do my long beach walks at midnight, this was a nice change, even if I missed out on the Frisbee. I suspect there would have been volleyball, too, if anyone had remembered to bring one. We’ll have to try for that, next May.DSC_0849DSC_0880The tide was high at midnight, this year, so high that you had to either walk in the water or walk on the crunchy, branchy stuff that gathers at the tide line. So, I didn’t do any beach walking, though I know there were others that did.

As always, the food was phenomenal, especially at dinner, when they break out the best meals imaginable. Including, for the first time that I can remember, shrimp ‘n grits. I’m not a huge fan of grits, but if they were made like this every time, I’d eat them all day long. I was absolutely stuffed after that meal was over, it was SO good.DSC_0894DSC_0898We met in the gym this year, since they had to raise the chapel (apparently it was sinking) up some more. So, we got to try out some new acoustics (definitely not as good as the chapel) and there were a few mishaps with the new keyboard they had us use. But as always, it was a wonderfully blessed time.DSC_0902On Monday, as usual, a bunch of us went in to Charleston, in order to visit the Market, and then see some more sights. We passed the Provost Dungeon (see below) on the way to eating at the Brown Dog Cafe (I think), which was really good. And then, several of us went to run people back to the airport, while others went to Skip’s for pizza. If any Seabrook regulars want to know more about the conference, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask in person. All I’ve got is this teaser, instead of a full-blown dissertation. Have a great week!DSC_0924DSC_0928

asheville away…

Finally, a road trip! And now, I’m going to do it twice in one week! Whodathunkit? But on Tuesday, some friends and I drove to Asheville, NC, for the day and had a blast. I actually haven’t been to Asheville since high school, when I went to the Biltmore Estate, but this time, we headed for the downtown. And now that I realize I’m headed to Seabrook for the weekend, I really have to get on top of sharing some of the photos. : )DSC_0680

DSC_0679Let’s see, where to start? Some grad student friends of mine had time off, especially now that one of them successfully defended his Master’s thesis. I’d say that deserves a day off, wouldn’t you? We started the day early enough to get a leisurely breakfast at the Potbelly Deli in Clemson, and then headed for Asheville.DSC_0682

DSC_0683After the usual driving round-about in order to find parking, we started off at Pack Square Park, and if anyone can tell me the name of that main sculpture/conversation piece, I would be interested. Yes, I do mean the big space station looking thing. But the memorial stones, designed like the buildings behind the “sculpture”, or to honor “Ellington’s Dream” of seeing those two buildings overlook the downtown and the lovely park.DSC_0684

DSC_0689DSC_0692We enlisted the use of our smartphones quite a bit, examining Google maps to see which streets had shopping and restaurants, and even veered off, curious to see what the Thomas Wolfe Memorial was. To my (possible) discredit, I’ve never heard of Thomas Wolfe, didn’t know he was an author, and had never heard of his books… so when we arrived at the memorial, the paintings on the walls were pretty cool, but we didn’t stay to view his boarding house. The people working the memorial were really nice, though, so I didn’t tell them we didn’t know anything about it.DSC_0699

DSC_0705DSC_0720My friends had decided in advance where we would eat, because there are two really good Indian restaurants in Asheville, so they voted for Mela over Chai Pani, but maybe we’ll go there some other time. The buffet food came with either a draft beer or a hot chai, but we voted for chai. To their delight, they found that Mela’s chai is just like what they get back home, so it was a good choice. It was delicious, but very gingery, which was a surprise to me. I didn’t know you could get all that ginger flavor into a drink… well, except for a ginger beer, maybe. They explained everything to me on the buffet line, and I’ve forgotten half the names, but I loved the fried eggplant and the chicken masala, as well as the lentil wafers and naan bread to go with everything. And the semolina pudding with cashews, cardamom, raisins and a few other things… it was absolutely scrumptious!DSC_0723

DSC_0727After stuffing ourselves, we had to walk it off, and made our way through the downtown. I’d heard there was some fantastic graffiti around, so I had hoped to get some good pictures. When we finally found these chickens, it was fascinating to see that the artists must have laid down canvas or tape of some type, over the brick, before painting them. If you look closely, you can see where the bricks become more visible on the edges.DSC_0730

DSC_0735From there, we’d heard that the Grove Arcade was a renovated historic building with shops, so we wandered that way, drooling over chocolate and ice cream shops on the way, as well as stopping at rock and mineral shops to examine geodes (all of us) and jewelry (me). It was a lovely building, but I think they tried to make it look older than it is, though the stairwells are obviously modeled on the Biltmore style. Which, in case you were wondering, we definitely didn’t have time to go visit. Biltmore Estate will have to wait for another day.10368725_10152402531289976_649870436_o

DSC_0753DSC_0760We decided to take the time to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at the Pisgah Inn to have coffee or eat, if anyone was hungry by then. I was, so I had a delicious chicken pot pie, while we enjoyed the view from the restaurant windows. And made sure we took some pictures on the porch before leaving.DSC_0766

DSC_0776I drove for the whole trip, but I enjoyed the twisting back roads and now and then, we found a nice pull-off zone to take pictures, like at Looking Glass Falls. It also had a sign explaining that it used to be part of the Vanderbilt property, even as far away from Asheville as we were, which is amazing even to someone who knows how much of that corner of the state was Biltmore land, back in the day.DSC_0778

IMG_20140513_181617728So, I do hope you’ll enjoy these pictures from our trip, while I get to work packing for the beach. My Seabrook conference starts tomorrow, but unlike usual, I don’t think I have to get up early and meet anyone in town, beforehand. So, I can finish packing and doing laundry during the morning, before heading out, instead of rushing! So nice. If you don’t hear from me until then, have a marvelous weekend!IMG_20140513_193357260DSC_0809

it’s a lockout…

Even if you’re no longer doing everlastingly fascinating things in Australia, it’s true that life still remains interesting and amusing, by fits and starts. Yesterday, having slept in again and then enjoyed some lunch and catch-up time with a good friend, I came home to take some photographs. Yes, I dropped my purse and keys in the house, grabbed the camera and the phone, and went back outside. After taking a few pics of my mom’s flowers, the new ones hanging in baskets, I went around to the backyard, looking for some shade.DSC_0546We’ve had really warm weather this week, up in the 90’s, and brilliantly blue skies, so I definitely needed the shade if I wanted to take any selfies. Who knew, when my Aussie friends taught me to say it that way, that it would finally catch on back home? When I left for Australia (over three years ago), most people I know were still calling them self-portraits. When I returned, I was calling them selfies and the changeover in name had just occurred in the U.S.DSC_0549Anyway, I took some more pictures of flowers, with both camera and phone, and then went back up front, wanting to get inside and maybe get a drink. Except the door wouldn’t open. No, you can’t accidentally lock yourself out with our front door, so I looked around and… no cars in the driveway but mine. Sigh. Things would have been even “better”, if I had left my phone inside, but no, I had wanted pictures to use for Instagram. I was able to call several people immediately, and try and figure out who locked me out. I never heard a car leave, but my brother had been unable to find me and assumed I was out somewhere… with my keys. DSC_0547But he assured me he’d be back in 15 minutes or less, and I experimented with listening to my music with my phone, without headphones, and blasting it through the carport. Wow, that phone can really crank out the sound! But sweeping pollen out of the carport quickly makes you feel like your lungs are full of dust, so my brother’s arrival was timely. Don’t worry, I did a better job of the carport, later.DSC_0555

DSC_0559And while I go ahead and put some real photos, taken with my camera, into this blog… I hope that this signals to you AND to me that I can get back into my usual style of blogging, which is to look for the interesting side of everyday. Whether it’s around town or in my house, you can find these things. You just have to look.DSC_0561So bear with me, and we’ll see what the summer brings my blog and I…DSC_0567

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

 

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.

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#dreamsofcherryblossoms

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#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.

a dory paraphrase…

Just keep breathing, just keep breathing… just keep breathing, breathing, breathing… you’re almost through… one more exam.DSC_0347 DSC_0349 DSC_0155 DSC_0157 DSC_0159 DSC_0168

two down, two to go…

Survived the lengthy essays on my Western Civ exam, and managed to get through the Chemistry exam. Not so cheerful about that one, but the grade should be alright. Just glad I have another whole day to study for my last two exams. But here are a few brightly colored pictures from before the leaves finished falling. These photos were taken by the Clemson Union Starbucks, where the two Japanese maples were red and orange, while the sugar maple displayed its golden colors against the blue sky. Aren’t the leaves beautiful? Enjoy, while I continue to prepare for my German and Military History exams.          DSC_0256DSC_0251DSC_0252DSC_0257DSC_0258DSC_0259DSC_0264DSC_0266DSC_0268DSC_0282

blooms now faded…

Actually, these photos were only taken a week or two ago, but between the rain and the ever-changing weather, I’m assuming the blooms don’t look this nice anymore. I haven’t even had time to see which kind continues to bloom into November and December, but feel free to tell me, if you know. The leaves, of course, are long gone. I think they fell within two days of my taking these picture. DSC_0312 DSC_0293 DSC_0308 DSC_0272 DSC_0316 DSC_0310 DSC_0321 DSC_0309 DSC_0318 DSC_0327DSC_0276