Bircham Windmill, Norfolk Lavender and Hunstanton

Today, we visited the Bircham Windmill – a real working windmill and farm in Norfolk. We climbed up five stories to the top of the windmill and I took tons of photos. Mom even climbed all the way to the top, and she’s very afraid of heights. We also watched sheep being milked, chickens running around, and had snacks.

We visited Norfolk Lavender briefly and looked around, but they were closing so we didn’t take the full tour of the farms. It’s a large lavender farm – smells heavenly.

After, we drove up to the Victorian seaside town of Hunstanton to walk along the beach, eat fish and chips and play at the penny arcades. We won Peppa Pig and George for Annabelle at the two-penny coin game, but I utterly failed to win a meerkat from the claw machines. We teased Mom into playing air hockey, and she did quite well at it against Annabelle.
We had a lovely day.

Continue ReadingBircham Windmill, Norfolk Lavender and Hunstanton

The Queen says hi!

Despite my whining about seat assignments, we ended up together on the plane. The first leg of the trip was on a tiny jet but the Boeing 757 wasn’t bad at all. It was an overnight flight, but we didn’t get much sleep on the plane, so we’ve been catching up here.

Once we landed, it was Friday here. We had a hired car to take us up to Stacy’s house in Upwell, and we visited with Stacy and the girls. After lunch we took a walk up the road and I took photos while Annabelle played a bit in the play park. Then we went and explored the Church yard and I took pictures of the gargoyles and gravestones.

Later we checked into our bed and breakfast (Bury House in the village of Little Downham) which is a lovely place with a nice room. After getting settled, we walked down the road to The Plough, which is an quaint English pub that serves Thai food. Roger mentioned that lots of pubs are closing, so it’s possible they added the restaurant portion to supplement their business.

On Saturday, we went to Ely and walked around the river, through town and up to the Ely Cathedral, an 11th century construction called “the Ship of the Fens” because it could be seen on the hill out across the marshy wetlands that surrounded it. Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, damp, low-lying agricultural region.

We visited the market and the yarn shop and toured the Cathedral until we got kicked out because there was a mass going on. Oops. Mom and Stacy and the girls headed back to Upwell, and Stephanie and I visited a pub – The Lamb – and had dinner and a pint. I have British Beef and Ruddles Ale Pie – which is not as odd as it sounds – just a beef pie with gravy made with ale. Very tasty.

Sunday, Roger and Stacy drove us all up to Sandringham, the queen’s winter home in Norfolk. We took a tour of the grounds and the children’s play area, then saw the house and the museum. The queen said hello, of course, and that we were her favorite guests and should come back often. (that is completely not true.) It was a long day, so Roger and Stacy and Mom and the children went home and we stopped back in Ely for pizza and a nice glass of wine before heading back for and early evening in.

Here are a few of the photos I have so far.

Continue ReadingThe Queen says hi!

Continental Airlines seat assignment problem

So we booked our flights to England back on April 3rd, and at that time requested seats all in the same row – three people traveling together, seats in the same place – makes sense right?

In double-checking our flying information today, we discovered they had moved our seats and placed my mom about 10 rows behind us on one of the flights, and several rows away on 2 others. I called Orbitz customer service (where we had purchased our tickets) and after an hour an a half on the phone discovered that the only way we can get in the same row is if we have medical identification saying that we must all be in the same row together for medical reasons.You can also learn about contact center as a service here as they help you in getting services.

You have got to be kidding me. Really? Seriously? Three people traveling together can’t sit together unless they have a medical need? What bullshit is that?

When did poor customer service become a matter of course for airlines? I can’t think of any flight I’ve been on in the last 10 years that hasn’t had some problem with it. I would gladly pay for an airline that gets it right if anyone can point one out to me. It’s not surprising to me that people purchase private jets when they can afford them, because what person in their right mind would put up with this kind of bullshit if they didn’t have to?

Continue ReadingContinental Airlines seat assignment problem

Home Again

So I got home from SxSW late on Tuesday. I didn’t recap the last couple of days of the event because I was catching up on sleep and fighting what I had thought was a wicked case of allergies. Turns out – walking pneumonia. (Also turns out that I managed to spell that word correctly the first time, which given the state of my woozy, drugged-up head right now, impresses the hell out of me, at least.) Yeah. I spent yesterday zoning out and finally got to the doctor late in the day when she delivered the bad news. So I’m forbidden to return to work for a couple days, and I’m on some wicked strong antibiotics and Mucinex.

I feel like poo.

And I feel like quite a douche, because I insisted to everyone that I wasn’t sick, that it was just allergies and I was really not contagious. I swear I thought that was the case; it really did feel just like when my allergies are out of control – runny nose, stuffed up head, sore throat. I didn’t have any other cold symptoms, and I didn’t feel bad enough to seek out a doctor (until Tuesday, when we were already flying home) and also felt like I had a responsibility to learn as much as I could while I was there. I’ve felt much worse at other times in the past, so this severe diagnosis makes me wonder. The thing that really sealed the deal was the two plane rides home though, where my ears popped and I couldn’t hear a thing, and my sinuses felt like they were going to jump out of my face from the air pressure changes. My left ear is still not right.

I so wanted this trip to Austin to go well.

Continue ReadingHome Again

SXSW 2010 Prep

I’m taking off on Friday for SXSW in Austin, Texas. I’ve been there a couple times in the past in 2007 and 2008. I’m having a bit of anxiety about the trip after the doozy of a time we had in 2008 (stuck on a plane on the tarmac for 6 hours in Dallas, then driving from Dallas to Austin) so I’m kinda keyed up. The weather forecast is much better this year, but then again, it was fine last time, too. 🙂

But I’m trying to stay optimistic about the trip; it couldn’t possibly go as bad as last time, right? I’m hoping to learn a lot and see a bunch of cool new stuff. I need to do a bunch more prep work; this time I’ll have a much better camera with me, and Austin is a really cool city.

Continue ReadingSXSW 2010 Prep

At Yack Arena

At Yack Arena

Watching the ice dancing competition and waiting for Stephanie’s
competition. (in Wyandotte, Michigan.) She passed her Bronze moves in the field test this morning, so she’s really excited. She’s been working hard on the test requirements for the last several months, so this is quite a validation of her work. I’m really proud of her.

Continue ReadingAt Yack Arena

On the road again

On the road again

Headed to Michigan to visit our friends Dan and Melissa and to go to
Stephanie’s skating competition in Wyandotte, MI. Left the pooch home with our petsitter for this trip; too far for the little dude. Stephanie is also testing for her bronze moves in the field.

Continue ReadingOn the road again

Farewell, 2009 (a year in pictures)

We had a pretty calm but eventful year in 2009. I spend a chunk of January getting our staircase room painted, and we also stripped the wallpaper and painted a bedroom at Stephanie’s rental house. I also went back on a walk through of my former home at 2165 N. Penn. I discovered that although I love the house, I don’t miss it at all.

Painting the Staircase Room
New paint at our house

At the end of February, we visited our friends Daniel and Melissa in Michigan while Stephanie competed in the Deborah Burgoyne North American Invitational 2009. We had a wonderful time with our hosts, and I discovered I had no idea how to take good photos of skating with my camera, as you can tell.

Deborah Burgoyne North American Invitational 2009 - 061
Stephanie on the ice.

In March, we planted lots of flowers in containers on the porch and in flowerbeds, and we built new bookshelves from Ikea for Stephanie’s books in the dining room — a much more pleasant space now that we’ve rescued all her books from boxes and organized them.

Final Bookshelves in Place

In April, I started taking more photo walks around Indianapolis, and began a much-needed photography class.

Photo Walk Broad Ripple

Presidential Portraits

Garfield Park Orchid Show

In May, I worked on my photography at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and by snapping lots of images of flowers and of friends.

Fast Friday at IMS 2009

May Flowers

Patsy's Cookout

In June, I turned 41 and we had a pizza picnic in our backyard to celebrate.

My Birthday 2009

And at the end of the month, we joined the Eastern Caravan with other New Beetle owners to Roswell, New Mexico for the Return to Roswell car show. It was a nice long, fun trip and a a great time to see lots of Stephanie’s friends (both human and VW).

Stephanie and BJ

Jason and Lisa

Spacepod

Return to Roswell 2009 - Little Rock to Amarillo

Return to Roswell Car Show

Return to Roswell Car Show
During the trip I took one of my all-time favorite photos of a ragged man with a three-legged dog:

Three-Legged Dog

In July, I got way behind in my photo editing because we were so active, and I still haven’t edited all the photos from Stephanie’s visit from her niece Raven, or from our trip to Moline, Illinois for my cousin Katie’s wedding. I participated in the Scott Kelby photo walk along the Canal in Indy, though, and took a few other nice photos:

Stephanie

I'm so cute

Salvia by the Water

in August, we bought a scooter, so we spent a lot of time studying for learners motorcycle permits and learning to ride it.

Scooter Riding

We also spent time with friends and visited the State Fair.

Dinner at Siam Square

Dill pickle popcorn

Stephanie and I both started a knitting class in mid-May of this 2009, but it wasn’t until August that I really had any pictures of projects to show off.

Gryffindor Scarf

Striped Scarf

In September, I continued to lag behind on the photos. We had a Labor Day cookout, and spent more time with friends.

Labor Day Cookout

Labor Day Cookout

Doug C.'s Birthday

October was another busy, busy month. My sister had a new baby – Penelope – over in England, for one thing, so I have four nieces (Erika, Riley, Annabelle and now Penny).

We attended the IndieHandicraft Exchange:

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange

Went to a friend’s solo photography show:

Convergence (Solo Show)

Went to a progressive mystery play at a mansion in our neighborhood:

From Dark Pages Progressive Mystery Play
Hosted a praying mantis on our porch:

The Visitor

Went to see They Might be Giants at the Vogue:

They Might Be Giants

Decorated for Halloween:

Neighborhood Walk

Took lots of walks around the neighborhood before it got too cold:

Neighborhood Walk

And then drove to Durham, North Carolina to see our friends Lisa and Jason get married:

Lisa and Jason's Wedding

Took lots of photos of Fall Color:

Autumn Leaves

And attended our friend Garrett and David’s Halloween party:

Dave & Garrett's Halloween Party

November was equally busy. We attended Johnathan’s birthday:

Jonathan's Birthday 2009

And spend weekend after weekend raking leaves. And raking, and raking, and raking…

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

We went to a Naptown Roller Girls double-header bout:

Naptown Roller Girls at Pepsi Coliseum

And went out to eat a few times:

Sam at Lunch

Maria's Pizza

And at the end of November, we drove to Iowa to visit our family at my grandparent’s farm for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving at Grandma's 2009

Thanksgiving at Grandma's 2009

Thanksgiving at Grandma's 2009

In December, we kicked off the holidays by baking cookies for a White Elephant gift exchange hosted at our house, after decorating.

Christmas Decor

Christmas Cookie Baking

White Elephant party

We also did a lot more knitting:

Striped Scarf

Went to a birthday party:

Sam's 3rd Birthday Party

And we went to several Christmas gatherings both here in town and up north with Stephanie’s family and friends.

Sam's 3rd Birthday Party

Christmas morning

Spike at Grandpa Doug's house

2009 was a productive year for us. I learned some new skills and honed some old ones, and spent quality time with family and friends. I’ve done a lot less writing this year than in past ones, and taken a lot more photos instead. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad one – I’m fairly happy with what I’ve accomplished.

I also have about 10 years of photos on Flickr now. I took my first digital photos in 1999, bought my first digital camera in 2000, and have gone through three cameras since. I’d do a retrospective of the whole decade, but I’ve already made this post much longer than I ever intended to.

I think the first decade of this millennium was a really unfortunately one in many ways, and I have hope that the next will go much better. I plan to spend the next ten years writing about and photographing it as well.

And of all the photos I’ve taken this year, this is a gallery of my very favorite ones.

Favorites 2009

Continue ReadingFarewell, 2009 (a year in pictures)