Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

I spent Thanksgiving this year at my parents' house, and pretty much the entire family came for dinner (which was interesting given that Mom and Dad are in the middle of remodeling their kitchen).

Thanks in part to some helpful information from Flylady, Mom had a lot of the prep work already completed, down to a schedule of when things would be in the oven. All the cooking went smoothly (including the three pecan pies and a ham that I baked), and at least an hour before everyone arrived, the food was pretty much finished and the tables looked like this:

The buffet table and kitchen counters were completely covered with all kinds of good food, including a batch of fudge that my brother made (and subsequently wrapped between two plates, sealed with painter's tape).

I was so busy helping that I didn't take many photos, but here are some of the family:

And after dinner, my cousin, Michelle, and I took a little trip to Michael's for their Thanksgiving night sale. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Additions to the Family

I attended my cousin Allison's wedding on Sunday. She's grown into such a beautiful young lady...and I feel old because I remember when she was born!!

She had asked Dad to be a backup photographer, and I tagged along as assistant to the backup photographer so I could take a few photos, too. There was no flash photography allowed during the ceremony, so all of these were taken before or after (since my lens was nowhere near fast enough to take pictures in the chapel's low lighting).

The groom (Matt) and his friends were so funny. 2 hours before the wedding, and they were all playing on the piano and pulling up the score of the Titans game on their phones.

I think I'm going to have to kidnap her adorable dog, Sugar. She was just the sweetest thing!

I also added to my own little family this weekend- a new lens for the Nikon! I've been wanting a macro lens for a long time now, and I found a great deal on a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro on eBay. The newer version (with VR) is selling for $760, and I found the previous (non-VR) version for $295 on eBay. And then I had a PayPal code for 15% off, so the whole package was $259 with shipping. I couldn't be happier with it- it's very sharp and can also double as a portraiture lens or a mid-range telephoto.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scrapbook Pages

I haven't done a post of scrapbook pages lately, so I thought I'd share some of my latest ones today.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace, Opening Night

I'm finally awake enough after Thursday night/Friday morning's adventure to post photos of it. I went to the midnight show of the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, on opening day at the Monaco Theater in Huntsville! I haven't been to a midnight movie in a long time- not since Episode III of Star Wars.

The Monaco is in the new Bridge Street shopping center that just opened last year. The place is amazing- it looks like a little city with cobblestone walkways, fountains, restaurants, and lots of high end shops that I can't afford to go to...not very often, at least. :-) I took advantage of the fact that at 11pm, the place was pretty much empty, but still well-lit enough to take photos.

They've already started putting out some Christmas decorations.

The whole place is built over a man-made lake, so there are little bridges and piers scattered around.

Some of the businesses here are:

Anthropologie (I cannot afford anything in this store, even on sale)- their walls are partially planters filled with actual live plants.

The Westin hotel (not to be confused with Michael Westen).

PF Chang's. I haven't eaten here yet, but I've heard it's pretty good. I actually had dinner at Red Robin the night of the movie.

And the Apple store!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Life, the Universe, and Engineering

Today I had the opportunity to do something completely different from my norm. I spoke with a class of close to 20 students at Bob Jones High School about software engineering and life as a defense contractor. I was pretty nervous about it, but a few YouTube videos and a lot of humor seemed to hold their attention pretty well.

It helped that a lot of them have read the same sci-fi books and watched the same shows as I have. They got it when I titled my presentation "Life, the Universe, and Engineering," they laughed at the corporate Borg references, and several of them totally lit up when I showed the photo of the "Stargate Fountain" in Colorado Springs. In between I hope they learned a few things about engineering and process and how to get into this career field.

Here's a photo of me with the happy class- happy because they didn't have to do any actual classwork while I was there. :-)

And here are the videos I played for them. I also played a DVD called "We are Raytheon." I jokingly call if the "propaganda" video. It's definitely 4 minutes of rah-rah-Raytheon! Unfortunately, it's not on YouTube so I can't link it here.

CWIS Test Fire (the night fire at the end is very cool)

SM3 Satellite Intercept (remember that satellite we had to shoot down earlier this year? This is it!) Warning- the music is extremely cheesy.

Quite possibly my favorite- the Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton. It's very Master Chief.

Multi-Kill Vehicle. This one got some definite attention.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More photos from Dad's birthday

I had almost forgotten that I carried two cameras up to Mom and Dad's for the birthday party. One was my D300 with the 18-200mm VR attached, from which all the previously posted photos came. The other, though, was my old D70 with the 50mm f/1.4 lens- great for indoor photos with no flash.

I finally offloaded those pictures, and this is what I found...

The ingredients for boiled peanuts. Dad made a HUGE batch of them while I was there. If you've never had boiled peanuts, you don't know what you're missing. :-)

I still haven't learned not to play with my food...

We also made our own frosting for the cakes. The first batch of chocolate was soooo good that we ate almost all of it before it ever made it onto the actual cake. This is me experimenting with a mixture of the chocolate frosting and some peanut butter. It tasted like the smoothest, richest Reese's Cup EVER!

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