Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day Roses

Flowers are so beautiful and bring such happiness to your day. It always makes me smile when I walk into the room to be greeted by a big, loud bouquet of flowers. This year for Valentine's Day, I was lucky enough to have a collection of hot pink and creamy pink roses to make me smile all weekend. They were beautiful!

It's Snowing

Well, it has finally snowed here in North Carolina. People are saying that this winter was much worse than others but this was the first snow we saw. I believe the coast saw about 8" - we saw about 6". I woke up early on the Saturday to a very bright morning. It's amazing how much brighter the snow can make everything. Michael was still sleeping so I quietly got dressed and went outside to take a few pictures. No one was up yet - I didn't see anything else outside. It was beautiful, though. The wind hadn't picked up so the little snowflakes were all stacked up against each other on the small twigs. It was so beautiful. Hope you enjoy!



I don't think we'll be riding the bike this weekend :)

Little tracks from the outdoor cats... The cold seriously makes me want to bring them all inside.

We have this large tree in the front of our place. I loved how the snow clung to the bark. So pretty...




The show was gone by the end of the weekend. And as far as I can tell, it will be the only snowfall we get this year.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Aquarium


In an attempt to gain more photography experience, I took some time to go to one of the many aquariums here in North Carolina. This particular aquarium is located south of Camp LeJeune just past Wilmington/Carolina Beach. The last time I drove this far south, Michael and I were taking a leisurely bike ride in the humid heat of the summer. I was amazed by the multi-million dollar bright pieces of real estate that are cramped together on every bit of grassy land by the ocean. It really is so different than anything I have ever seen. Today's trip was different than the one he and I took last summer - the streets were not lined with bathing-suit clad women and there was not a hum of activity coming from the long stretch of tourist attractions that line the 25-mph street. It was nice, though. Quiet and cold with only the locals having lunch in the hole-in-the-wall diners.

Anyway, I've attached some of my favorite pictures from this particular trip the aquarium. My new camera definitely does a better job in the confines of a dark aquarium... but I was also struck by the fact that to my eye, everything was beautiful but to my camera, everything had a HUGE amount of glare or reflection. It was frustrating at times, but I think I got a few good shots. In the end, I had a good time - which is the point, right? Such beautiful things in the water.





The jellyfish proved to be very difficult to photograph. The camera had a hard time focusing on the sheer creatures and the tank was super dark - so the shutter speed had to be open for a long time which makes it difficult to get everything in focus. Still, they are amazing. Oh, and I have seen jellyfish up close here in North Carolina.



They had a few alligators at this aquarium. They were magnificent animals... just sitting so still.



A few pictures of underwater greens...


A little green frog...

A snake hiding in some leaves...

A starfish laying in the water...



A few blue frogs...


A stingray - perhaps my favorite picture of the day...


Some coral... these are true colors, by the way.

A turtle - I seriously think he was looking at me...

A few other random pictures...


And a very cool pictures of a 5-month old sea turtle. North Carolina has several sea turtle conservation efforts/organizations. They are very popular creatures here... and quite cute, too. This one is named "A" and will be released back into the wild when he gets older. His siblings - "B" and "C" - will also go back to the ocean later this year.


Cooking Adventure


Clams... I have never cooked with them before but decided to try my hand at them this past week. There is a little fresh seafood market on the way home from base that always has super fresh and yummy seafood. They will gut it, clean it or do whatever you want to it right in front of you. Nothing frozen - just straight from the fishermen that day. It is great! I've seen signs for the last 2 weeks about "Fresh Clams!" and have been so curious to try them at home. So... I did it. I purchased 3 dozen little clams and made a fresh lemon, garlic and olive oil sauce for them with some pasta. And for everyone's enjoyment... here's the delicious proof!


On a sidenote, they were tasty but not so good the next day. I guess I should have thought of that before getting 3 dozen...

Simon


Last week, it rained. Day after day, the water just kept coming down. I wanted to take some pictures but couldn't find the opportunity to go outside and roam. So, I tried to take some pictures of my 8 year old cat, Simon. Needless to say, he was not impressed. I woke him up from his nap on our bed - and he proceeded to run away from me wherever I would follow him. I only got a few cute pictures of him. My favorite (the one below) is so precious. I need to do some more research, though, to figure out how to use PhotoShop to fix my reflection in his eyes. Anyway, thought you would enjoy. He really was uncooperative that day, but he's still my little cutie.
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