Thursday, June 24, 2010


I only have 50 dvd's in my Netflix queue, so I was poking around today, looking for suggestions based on my interests (as decided by the movies and shows I have rated 0-5).

Here are my categories:

Scary Suspenseful Psychological Movies

BBC Space-Travel TV Shows (hahahaha!)

Visually-striking Dark Action & Adventure

I love that it's not JUST space-travel TV, but BRITISH space-travel TV.   That's from Jake's long-running Dr. Who stint.  And Torchwood...and Farscape, which I call 'Muppets in Space' (but it may not be British, I can't remember).

It also gave me a Witty Comedies section, but I don't like comedies.  Turns out, that was based on our recent Shakespeare burst of interest.  Much Ado About Nothing was my favorite so far (of the movies from his plays) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which remains in my personal top 10 favorites.

We got in the first of the X-files discs yesterday and finally got around to watching 2 episodes last night.  David Duchovny looked about 12.  hahaha!  I don't think Jake liked it as much as he thought he would, but really, the pilot episode is always off and so he only saw one show.  And it had Seth Green in it, Jake has a bit of hero worship for the werewolf/Robot Chicken guy.

The first episode was set in March 1992.  I said, "Ack, I had not even graduated high school when this was made!"  Ben looked at the screen and said, "'s THAT old?"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

heart aching

Of the 527 turtles verified from April 30 to June 21, a total of 396 stranded turtles were found dead, 41 stranded alive. Four of those subsequently died. Four live stranded turtles were released, and 33 live stranded turtles are being cared for at rehabilitation centers. 

48 dead dolphins.

I know there are people affected, but honestly, they have other options.  Turtles have no avoidance mechanism, they swim right into this shit and it kills them.  Ugh, I just...I hurt.

Summer 3 part 2

We met at Cathy's around 10, headed to BK, met up with Suzette around 11:30 and got on the way.  

We got to Cherokee Rock Village by 2 and did a quick peek there, it was really too hot to do much else.

Heading to Canyon Mouth Park, I followed Nuvi instead of my own brain and we got there-about a 20 minute drive-by 4.  We did get to go AROUND Little River Canyon, it's always very pretty.

At the park, we swam a while, then ate and then went to the upper lake and jumped off rocks and then floated down the creek and swam the river back to the rope swing.  The water was down a good foot, so there was not as much 'wheeeee' to the rapids.  

We left close to 8 and headed for the bat cave, but the sun was good and down before we arrived, so I headed to Karen's to drop Chandler off and dropped Cathy and Kaitlin off at their house.  I made it home just before 11:30.

I am bummed the day did not go any better.  Yesterday I was just stressed about it, today I am just disappointed. It could have been a much better day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer 3

Tomorrow is our third (well, 4th, but I missed last week and it's my blog) gathering O' the friends, this time for our annual solstice swim!  Today is the actual solstice, but Cathy really needs a day off between her work week and her play week.  : )  And, well, I like having Monday to organize and buy food and plan our packing and what-not.  Get the house cleaned up, get the budget spreadsheet updated, plan my spending for the next week.  Make sure the grass is mowed and the animals have full food hoppers and clean water-especially in this heat!  We put ice in the dog water every day and have to wash their watering bins out at least once a week to combat the skeeters and the algae!  The cats don't like ice in their water.

In the news:  There has been a change of venue for the birthday camping trip.  I reserved a site yesterday down on the Gulf.  More on that later, but our sad theory was that we had better go before it's gone.  It could be decades before it's back to 'normal' despite all the hoopla from the higher-ups.  We just don't know what to 'do' to help.  

Also, the scales seem stuck at 14 pounds to go. 

Also, we reached our 2nd savings goal this month, I am very happy about that!  Just 5 more payments and the credit card will be paid off!  We should hit savings goal #3 easily after that.  Or throw that money on the OTHER credit card.  *sigh*  I went back and forth about having debt and trying to save money, but I figure if we have money to dip into, we won't use the credit cards. So far, I have been correct.  It's been nearly a year since anything went on the card, and that was at 0% interest for the life of the balance.  That was better than the 7% interest offered by the orthodontist to finance the balance of Jake's braces.  Credit cards are a tool, I am glad we have access for things like that, I just know that in the past, we have not been quite so careful with them.

Anyway, that's the news from the Castle, hopefully tomorrow will be cooler and clear weather and another great day with our friends!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


We went to Cave Springs to see the bat come out this, um, last evening.  Saturday evening anyway.

The kids chat while awaiting the bats

This boy is ROTTEN.

She's actually thinking about something here, but doesn't she have the best 'mad' face?  I can already foresee the endless 'what's wrong?'  'nothing' conversations with the men in her future.  Poor guys...

As the temps dropped (from 100 to closer to 80) the water gave off a little heat and we got some fog to make standing next to the swamp a little more creepy.

I played a little with the macro lens, which is why it looks like I took these though a tunnel

Pretty much all the bats we saw!  There are 50k in the cave, but we saw 3-4 at a time until it was too dark to see anything.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gearing up!

When the kids were wee-uns, we would camp for a week at a time in the Smokies every single summer.  We'd head up on Sunday night and leave Friday morning to avoid the bulk of the ninnies and to give Matt the weekends to actually rest up.  

We went for the first time in 2001, when Ben was 16 months old.
We have gone back every single year since then, often more than once a year.

Ben was the cutest baby, ever.
He is closer to 10 months old in this one, but who would want to pass up seeing the hair?

Here he is!  First trip, newly shorn head.  *sigh*

He was so little! Still a boob babe.
I loved those shoes I am wearing in this pic.  LOL
Look at all my hair!

Later trips:

Chandler spent the first 5-6 years of her life slightly horrified.

OMG, look how adorable my kids were!
Look at teeny Benny.  Why did I stop at 3?

One of the smaller trees at Joyce Kilmer Forest

How we could camp for 6 days in a sedan.

*insert manna of the gods music here*

Still in my 20's!

Jessie's first camping trip.

Over the years, we have stayed at a dozen different campgrounds, several hotels and even a couple of cabins.
We have hiked the same trails in all kinds of weather, mugged at the camera at the same spot in Cade's Cove every single visit and waded and swam in mind-numbingly cold water.

We love the mountains, each year we plan to do something else and each year, we fail fail fail.  So, next weekend, we load up Poppy and head for the hills, again.  I am looking forward to it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We missed the movie with our buddies this morning and that turned out to be a good thing for 2 reasons.  One, I have been trying to hack out a lung for the last 2 hours and my nose has started flowing at the rate of Bear Creek and second, I found a dung beetle while refilling the bird feeders.

I decided to post a few insect shots from yesterday and this morning.  These were all taken with my little Canon SX110.

I popped a wolf spider egg case into a little container a couple months ago and yesterday, it hatched!

That's my pinky!  The little guys are teeny.

Ben and I dropped them onto a leaf yesterday and checked them this morning.
They had made a little tent against the rain and were all crammed into the egg sack again.

These are soda can shaped eggs Ben found a few weeks back
We don't know if the little beetles are from the eggs or eating the eggs.

A recheck today was no more enlightening!

This is cropped from a bigger shot and is not very good, but it's a hummingbird moth on the butterfly bush.  We were so excited to see it, I did not even think to take a picture until just before it flew off.

Japanese beetles are destroying my roses.

Teeny mantis!

Orb weaver just behind the roses

Dung Beetle

This guy is such a rare find, we brought him in to watch a while.
After looking up some information on them, we found out they are attracted to dog poop!  Dung beetles drink liquids from their poop balls.
Relief washed over me from a tension I did not realize I was carrying.  Kuma has been barking at his poop lately and I had been thinking he was going psycho.  hahaha!!  Now I know he's probably seeing the beetles.  I hope.  He's not much for sharing his thoughts.  Dogs without eyebrows are hard to read!

We put some guinea pig poops in the bowl with the beetle along with his original dog poop (don't ask how I know).  So far, he's just hiding.  I want to keep him until Matt gets home in a few more hours, but if he does not start moving around, I will have to let him go.  I fret, even over buggies.