Monday, May 31, 2010

May 2010 Round Up

Click mosaic to biggify. Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
I kept intending to start a new book, but it is still sitting on the table beside my recliner, and I haven't even read the first page.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: Nearly all of our "regular" shows finished up. Only Mythbusters, In Plain Sight, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent still going. The Closer doesn't start until July, I think, so we're looking pretty light on our TV viewing for the next few weeks.
* New Films: Eagle Eye (just so-so), Julie & Julia (really liked it; very sweet, not deep), Failure to Launch (just so-so; had its moments), Sherlock Holmes (pretty good movie, didn't like it as an addition to the Holmes genre), Iron Man 2 (not nearly as good as the first)
* Old Favorites: Avatar, The Emperor's New Groove, A League of Their Own, Kung Fu Panda, Disney's Robin Hood (cartoon), Disney's Three Musketeers (cartoon), Chances Are, French Kiss, Contact, Guarding Tess, Speed, LA Confidential, Mulan, Fried Green Tomatoes, Up, A View to a Kill, Bolt, The Rock, Octopussy, An American Tail, The Wizard of Oz, Batteries Not Included

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Mother's Day was very nice. Had Japanese that Saturday, in case I didn't wake up in time to go out Sunday. Slept until 10 Sunday, which gave time to make it to Longhorn for lunch, where I got their dessert sampler as a special treat. Had a bite of each of the three desserts, of course, but only ate all of the apple one that was served warm with ice cream. The chocolate one and the cheesecake were both boxed up and taken home to be enjoyed later. All quite good, though none truly phenomenal. Also called my mom, though she spent most of the day working to prepare for her inspection at work.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
We sent flowers to SIL to celebrate the birth of our new niece! Baby M looks more like her mom than her older sister did at that age. That makes two girl cousins for Luke!

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Luke broke out in some strange red spots on his face while we were at my parents' house for Memorial Day. All we could figure is that it was an allergic reaction to the bubble stuff we were using (blowing great big bubbles that he would pop, usually splashing his face in the process). He had ten roughly dime-sized spots (about 1 cm) all over his face. Gave him a Benadryl when he went to bed and he was fine in the morning, but it was a little scary.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
We took my parents to Ga Ren Fest. It was Mom's first time, and Dad hadn't been in years. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it. DH taught Luke to play Go Fish one afternoon, which was fun. Also took Luke to the beach over Memorial Day, which had waves and a good breeze this time.

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
SIL made the yummiest cupcakes for our niece's birthday party back in April, and I had to get the recipe. I finally tried them for myself, and they turned out so yummy! It was my first attempt ever at a cake from scratch! Made them again over Memorial Day weekend for the family to try, and everyone gives them a thumbs up. I used cake flour the second time, but I don't feel that it made much difference, honestly. I don't think any of us will ever make a box cake again!

And I made ganache for the first time. Why is this considered fancy french stuff? It is embarrassingly easy! (Please ignore my air bubbles. This is freshly whisked. They did dissipate as it cooled.)

Tried two new restaurants this month. First was The Twisted Taco, which finally opened nearby. Not very impressed, WAAAAY too much black pepper in everything, particularly the rice, which was so spicy, even DH couldn't eat it. Also tried a new seafood place not too far from my parents' called Skipper's Fish Camp. Holy cow, that is some of the best fried shrimp I have *ever* had. Way yummy!

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
I had to get a new case for my phone. Ended up with two that I really like!

What were this month's disappointments?
I really can't think of anything, which is nice!

What were my accomplishments this month?
I've crossed the half-way point for this version of the 101 Things in 1001 Days! hard to believe it's been that long. So much has happened! Also scored blog post number 1000 and crossed 3000 tweets (could have been late April or early May on that one, not sure which). Man, I'm chatty! Also made cake from scratch and ganache for the first time, as mentioned previously.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Luke can now tie his shoes all by himself! We started working on it, as mentioned last month, but I could not get him over the very last "put it under and pull" step. I told his Pre-K teacher we were working on it, and in less than a week, she had him doing it completely on his own. "You're the one who got him started," she told me. Yeah, is that like "you loosened the jar lid"? LOL But regardless, he can do it, and he is *so* proud of himself! He literally told nearly everyone we saw for over a week. He also earned the Toy Story LEGOs we've been holding as a reward. Yay Luke!

Luke has also officially finished Pre-K. So hard to believe it's over already and he will be in "real school" starting in August. He will be working on reading with his main Pre-K teacher over the summer (with Ms. Autumn, on right; Ms. Tiffany on left). Still hammering out the details on that one. Summer is shaping up to be awfully busy so far!

We measured him using the doctor's office scale at Mom's office over Memorial Day weekend. With shoes, he measured 47.5 inches (1.2 m) & 54 lbs (24.5 kg)! We also bought him size 3 shoes when we got back (equal to the following women's sizes: US 5, UK 3, AUS 5, EU 35), but that was technically in June.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Can't really think of anything!

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: sweet

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A journey of 1000 blog posts....

I've been keeping my eye on this particular stat for a while, and it has finally arrived. This is blog post number 1000! I know, I'm a little stunned myself. The girl who could never keep a diary for more than a few weeks at a time has been averaging just over 12 posts a month since October 2003. That's, what, about every 3 days? I passed 3000 tweets on Twitter a couple of weeks ago (missed that one), and for the first time in ages (likely a year or more, well before the move), I checked my blog hits. Apparently, I also crossed the 50,000 views mark sometime in the last 6 weeks as well. WOW! Thank you all for coming with me on this crazy adventure!

I know there are plenty of people out there who blog more than I do, and even more who journal more frequently, but if you'd told me when I started almost 7 (YIKES!) years ago that I would blog about every 3 days for this long, I'm not sure I'd have believed you. I likely would have said I'd do it for a few months, maybe a year or so, but I honestly expected that it would eventually fall off. No one is more surprised (or pleased) that this blog is still going strong than I. Hopefully, there are many more great years to come.

Currently feeling: a bit shocked

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weaponry: A Conversation With Luke

While playing "blasters" with my dad, using empty water guns, Luke took the big one and left Papa the two little ones to choose from, so Dad grabbed them both.

Luke: [making laser blast sounds]
Papa: [behind him, making laser blast sounds]
Luke turns around and sees Papa with two weapons.
Luke: [exasperated] Papa, there aren't two blasters on this level!

I thought my parents would choke from laughing!

Currently feeling: level up!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Three Healthy Cats

We survived V-Day! That would be Vet Day, the most hated day of the year for our cats. DH's state employee furlough day was Monday, so he had the "honor" of taking them in. Even though it is a hassle (and expensive!), it is always easier to take all three of them at the same time. Assuming you can get them in the cages, of course. I took that upon myself to try and assist DH, and I have the scratches to show for it. Bengal was easy, Cleo left claw marks in my right forearm (not bleeding, but red for a couple of days; I swear she grows 8 extra legs), and I left Tigger to DH!

Once they were all boxed up, Cleo began expressing her displeasure, yowling in her best "my kitty soul has been condemned to darkness forever" tone. Luke was terribly upset by it. DH was getting dressed, and I left Luke alone in the den while I went to change, and when I came back 2-3 minutes later, he was crying. "But she doesn't like being in the cage!" Well, I know, sweetie, but it is for her own good. It protects her in the car and at the vet, since people bring in their dogs on leashes, and we don't want them to get in a fight or for her to run away. "But she doesn't like the doctor!" Yeah, well, neither do you, and for the same reasons! But we take you and let them check you out and give you shots because it is good for you, and we do the same for the kitties. He wanted to go with DH, but there isn't room in the car for 3 cat carriers and a car seat, and I really had to work, so he went to school. He was still upset about it when he got there, but his teacher said he did fine once they started playing (school is out, so it was just fun stuff).

It is the first time we've been back since the end of the Tigger incident from last summer. Dr. Hochel, who treated Tigger, finally got to meet the rest of the gang, and I hear she was suitably impressed, particularly with Bengal. "Look at those paws. They're huge!" They most certainly are. She was amazed to hear he and Tigger are related, but DH was there when they were born, so we're pretty sure! LOL She also thought Cleo's ear was interesting. "Looks like you're trying to grow another ear there." Yeah, well, we love her anyway.

Everyone checked out fine. Tigger is now up almost a pound from her heaviest *before* the liver thing, but Dr. Hochel understands our hesitance to alter her diet after what happened. We are picking up the food after it's been out for a little bit, so maybe that will help, since I think she is our worst "snacker." Bengal's heart murmur is still around, but it hasn't gotten any worse, and his weight is the same (actually down a couple of ounces), so that's good. Cleo also weighs the same as last time, but she is showing signs of gingivitis. So far, all three have excellent teeth for their ages (all turned 11 in the spring), and though they were showing a little plaque, only Cleo is showing gum issues. "You might want to bring her in to have her teeth cleaned." Yeah, the one who is hardest to get in the cage? We'll have to see if it's worth it, once we recover financially from the senior cat blood panels they ran on everyone.

We got the blood work results back today, and I figured all was well when it was a tech who called and not the doctor. "Dr. Hochel reviewed the test results, and amazingly, everything came back perfectly normal. That is very unusual in cats this age for all three of them to come back fine, but they did." I bet they were expecting diabetes or pre-diabetic indicators, but everything looks great. We'll take it and run! I know they're all getting up there in years, and my manager lost his cat this week, so we truly are not taking this excellent news for granted. We're hoping to have many more good healthy years with our favorite fur-babies.

Currently feeling: happy to have healthy kitties

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've been feeling a bit lost in my life lately, sort-of rudderless, floating through my days without any real plan. (Ironic, coming so quickly on the heels of my 101 Things update, no?) I like having a plan. It keeps me on track and focused and, well, helps me not to feel like I have no clue what I'm doing. Plans are comforting. Deviating from the plan is fine, but I need to have one to feel secure.

From a fairly early age, I had my life pretty much mapped out through age 25 or so. It didn't go *exactly* according to the original plan, but more or less, I followed through with it. Graduate high school with great grades (check), graduate from college (check), get married (check), work for a few years (check), buy a house (check). That got me through age 25. Now what?

I actually remember feeling this way back then, but then we started a new plan: Baby. Wait for DH to take and pass the PE exam (check), wait until we really think we're ready (check), have baby (check). Again, I experienced a brief moment of "now what"; I even recorded it in a blog post for my 29th birthday. But a new plan presented itself shortly there after: decide when to have baby #2 (check; decided not to), move to new house in better school district (check), have child start school. That last one will get its check mark in August, when DS starts Kindergarten. At that time, I will be 34 years old, married 12 years to a wonderful man, with an amazing soon-to-be 6-year-old son, a new home that I love, and a good job that I like. I've done it! I have dreamed the impossible dream, and I achieved it. Who says you can't have it all?

And I have absolutely NO idea what comes next. I am very much back to "now what?" Every step I've taken so far has been the obvious one. There is no obvious next step from here, and I don't have any idea how to go about making a new plan. I don't know what I want, and I don't know how to go about figuring that out. There are a few things I know I don't want. I don't want to go back to school, and I don't want to change jobs right now (looking to do that in a few years (I miss my data!), but not right now, and certainly not in this economy!). But as far as what *to* do, I really have no clue.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm bored. (For the record, I do not need some catastrophe in my life just to force me to make a plan!!) There is *plenty* to keep me busy. Lots of house things we could/should do, I'm sure we'll be busy with activities and such once "real" school actually starts, and I'm positive we'll only get busier as the years pass and Luke gets involved in more things. We have family to visit and trips to plan and take. We could quit being heathens and start going to church again. There hobbies to pick up again, movies to watch, books to read, and new things to learn. Heck, I have a good start on 101 Things in 1001 Days versions 3 and 4! But that's not the same thing. I feel like there's no big overall plan, certainly nothing on the scale of graduation or home buying or procreating. And maybe it's okay to not have a plan, I don't know. I've just never really had a time in my life when I didn't have one, and it makes me feel... lost.

Currently feeling: in need of a map

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Go Fish!

It amazes me what Luke picks up at school sometimes. For a long while it was Power Rangers, which I actively resisted. Several months ago, it switched over to Bakugan, or as Luke calls it, "Battle Gun." He even made his own "cards" so he could play with the other kids at school. Somewhere along the way, he discovered Gormiti on television. It was our first "I saw it on TV and I must have it" thing. Considering we made it well past age 5 for that, I think we did quite great! So for finally sleeping in his room all night after being so scared at the first of the year, we got him a set. It is as close to Bakugan or Pokemon as we've gotten, but up until the last couple of weeks, he was content just to play with the figures. He finally decided today that he wanted to sit down and play with the cards, but the combination of needed to coordinate the powers and all the different numbers on the figures and the cards really had him frustrated.

So DH went down stairs and grabbed a standard deck of cards and decided to teach him to play Go Fish instead. (We used the Delta set, even!) This is something we've been meaning to do for a while, but we just never seemed to get around to it.

Luke picked it up really quickly. Other than having trouble holding his cards (DH had arranged them for him, right before the photo), which is pretty normal for kids his age, he did great! They only got to play one game, but Luke ended up with nearly twice the number of pairs as DH. Looks like we have another card sharp on our hands! Must run in the family or something, LOL. Next up: dominoes!

Currently feeling: aces!

Monday, May 17, 2010

500 Days and Counting

I've reached the half-way point for my 101 Things in 1001 Days Version 2. The current list is up to date, including photos as appropriate. As usual, it has been an interesting journey.

How am I doing? I think I'm doing okay. I've actually completed 29% so far, with another 14 in progress. There are also 6 that are no longer relevant (since we sold the old house without doing them), so those won't count as done, and 1 more that I consider myself already having failed at completing. Unfortunately a few more are heading in that direction, and I haven't even started on any of the craft items. Most of my stitching stuff is buried since the move, and I just don't think there is time to even *find* all of those projects or materials, much less get them done. We'll see. My main goal is to do better with version 2 than I did with version 1. I got 46% on that one. I'd really like to do at least 50%, preferably 60% or more on this one. Then we'll see what can roll over to the next one.

Oh yes, there will be a next one. In fact, I'm already working on version 3 of the 101 Things list. I've been jotting down ideas as they've come to me over the past few weeks once I realized the midpoint was looming. After all, I don't want to miss out on completing item 101 on my current list, now do I? I actually have well over 100 ideas so far, but I know I can't do all of them for version 3 (too much travel; can't afford money or vacation time for all of them), plus I have to save room for any uncompleted items I'd like to carry over from the current list. Guess that means I have a good start on version 4 already! LOL It's absolutely wild, if you stop and think about it. If I start almost immediately after the completion of the current list, List 3 would complete in mid-2014, which means List 4 would not be set to complete until sometime in 2017. YIKES!! It is doubtful that all (or even most) of my current ideas will still be valid or important by then, and I may yet accomplish some of them before the next 500 (or 1500) days are up. But I enjoy dreaming about what could be, which is part of the fun.
Currently feeling: makin' a list, and checking it twice

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Smart Friends Rock!

I know I've said it before, but it is worth repeating: it's good to have smart and talented friends. Especially ones who can fix computers after you inadvertently caused a catastrophe. First, I must back up to sometime Thursday night.

I was reviewing the trending topics at Yahoo. I always find it interesting to see what sort of "hot topics" are currently circulating, and I noticed Gisele Bundchen's name listed. Thus began the following conversation:

Me: Hmm, I wonder what Ms. Gisele is up to now?
DH: Who?
Me [thinking he didn't hear me]: Gisele Bundchen
DH: Am I supposed to know who that is?
Me: Seriously? You don't know who she is?
DH: No, I really don't.

I sat there rather agape for a moment before explaining that she used to date Leo DiCaprio, and she now either dates or is married to Tom Brady and just had his baby, and she's only one of the biggest supermodels in the world. "Oh, okay, I've never heard of her." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there really are men out there like that! LOL End of conversation, end of story, right?

Yeah, except that DH saw her name trending again Friday afternoon. He then thought to himself, "I'm going to find a photo of her to see if I might recognize her from something." He searched for a pretty tame one, and finally clicked.

WHAM!! A trojan hit. All sorts of stuff started downloading to the computer. As DH put it, "I'm too young to have been seeing some of that stuff." He immediately disconnected the internet connection and closed the browser, but it was way too late for that. Not only was there visual filth, but we could not get any .exe files to run. "The xyz.exe file has been infected. Do you wish to run virus scanning software now?" Only it wasn't a real Windows pop-up box; it was fake. And another pop-up kept appearing at the bottom right telling us that we had a virus security risk. No kidding! Only this window wasn't real either. It was all part of the virus. But not being able to run any .exe files, we had no way to download and run anything to help, and our current virus software (which should have stopped this thing to start with, IMO!) wasn't showing any threats even when we could get it to load and run. "No threats found." Yeah, well, all these pop-ups say differently!! All because I had made some stupid comment to my husband about some model he didn't even know. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

[Aside: I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking that he made up the story about what site he was on and what he was doing on the web at the time, and I'm an idiot for believing the story. If you know my husband at all, you know it happened just as he said. And even if it didn't, he was SOOOO angry about what happened, that it will *never* happen again!]

He and I spent most of the afternoon off and on trying to fix it and having no luck. We went to see Iron Man 2 to get our minds off of it (too bad it wasn't as good as the first one), picked up the child, ate dinner, and put the child in bed. Then back to the laptop we went. I tweeted about the problem, and within minutes, I had two offers of help from two different corners of the country. One is an old friend who has always been a true geek, long before geeks were cool. From the day we met in high school until the year he moved away, he and I saw every Star Trek film released in theaters together. He now lives about 100 miles away, though I haven't seen him in years. He was out with his wife of just a few weeks and was checking in on Twitter when she stepped away. It was kind of him to offer, but I really didn't want to bother him while he was out, especially with her. I asked a couple of questions, but didn't take the time for specifics. I knew I could contact him later if I still needed help.

The other offer came from one of my best friends, Annette, and her husband, who both do IT for a living. DH is painfully shy, and he was very anxious about talking to her husband. "But I've never even met him!" Yeah, well, you broke it, you fix it! LOL We called up Arizona, and off we went. I'm not even sure how long we talked. Well over an hour, I do believe. Long enough to finish the Braves/Diamondbacks game we were all watching (they're Braves fans, too, so they didn't care who won; we cared!). It was funny to realize that there was about a 2 second delay between what we were seeing and what they were seeing. We passed around the phone and the computer, and I'm pretty sure we all four were working on the problem at one point. We *finally* got our security software to *see* that there was a problem and start working on it. We literally rebooted the computer around 20 times (I lost count after 12), but ever so slowly, we got it cleaned and running. No more ick, no more pop-ups, and all executable files working properly. Whew!

Thank you so much to Annette and Mike! You saved us much time, frustration, and likely money. Smart friends rock!!

Currently feeling: loving my friends

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Phone Fashion (and free case)

The blue case for my Droid broke earlier this month. It wasn't even 60 days old. Admittedly, I didn't love my blue case, it was just the one I hated the least when we bought the phones. I kept meaning to go looking for one I liked better, but it wasn't a high priority, and I never made the time.

Fate decided to save me from my boring transparent blue case. Just one teeny-tiny sliver of blue plastic, about the size of a clipped fingernail, and the front frame would no longer stay put. I thought I could live with it, but no. It was driving me absolutely batty!! In less than two days, I was shopping for a new case. There were quite a few options, but I had absolutely no idea what I might want. I basically had a hard case, but I thought the silicone cases might be nice. And they weren't that expensive. In fact, most were nicer-looking and cheaper than the boring blue one had been, including my husband's discount! I narrowed the choices to three, one silicone and two hard, but I truly could not decide between them, so I got them all. I am so happy to finally feel like it looks like *my* phone, not just a phone. So what did I get?

First up, the silicone case. These mainly came in this diamond pattern or in solid colors. I finally settled on white (the front is solid clear, no white).

I think it looked okay (the white is a bit more pronounced in real life than in the photo), but I didn't like the way it fit. It wasn't snug enough for my tastes, and I didn't like the feel of it as much as I thought I might. It doesn't feel bad, just not preferred by my personal tactile senses. It is quite easy to get on and off, though, if you like switching them around, something I thought I might like to do, but I'll get to that in a minute. There is nothing wrong with it. It works fine and looks fine, it just isn't for me. I will, however, offer it for free to anyone reading this who might want it. If you want to research it for yourself, it is a White Amzer Jelly Silicone Skin Case for the Motorola Droid A855. Just drop me a comment or send me an email (erinmarie AT rocketmail DOT com). First come, first served; will ship to USA only, sorry. No affiliation with any of those companies, just offering a case that I no longer need to anyone who might like to have it.

Next up is the case that is probably the most obvious choice for me, the Mickey Mouse case.

There are several Disney cases available, and some of you may have expected me to pick the Pooh one, but I just didn't like most of them. They were a little to, well, bright and cartoonish. Yes, I realize they are Disney, and I realize they are cartoons, but I just didn't care for them. (Show me a Maleficent case, especially the dragon, and I'll be all over it!) But this one, I liked the look of. After getting it on my phone, I also very much like the feel of it. It has a very silky matte finish and a little bit of texture with the various layers of paint (or whatever it is). Very nice! The various patterns continue on the front face frame. It has a funky little bulge near the USB connection (you can see it sticking out there on the top right), which isn't a huge detractor, but is a small one. Definitely keeping this one.

However, the one I decided to go with for now is this one, the shooting stars:

Anyone who knows me well at all likely would have picked out this case for me (this or the Mickey). It is actually the least expensive of the three, but I really like it. Even Luke said "wow Mommy, cool phone!" LOL I like the color, I like the design, I like the stars (of course), and I particularlyl like that the design sort of wraps around to the front face:

I will say that it is incredibly difficult to get this case off! That is largely the reason that I didn't photograph the front of the other cases (couldn't get this one off to put them on). At least I know it won't come off accidentally. It also means that I won't be swapping them around like I thought I might do. I like the feel of the Mickey case better, but this one makes me cheery just looking at it. I can tell already that the finish isn't going to last. It is just painted right on top of the white plastic. (Not a criticism, just an observation. As I said, it was cheap.) I'm sure it will start to show the wear and tear of daily use rather quickly. I'll put on the Mickey case once this one gets so ratty I can't stand it, likely in less than a year. But for now, I'm really enjoying my bright and fun phone fashion.

Currently feeling: fashionable

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2010 GA Ren Fest, Take Two

So you know we already went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival once this year, but I remembered that Mom mentioned last year that she had never been. So, we decided to take my parents back the following weekend (May 1). I also had Dad bring the big camera with the big zoom, so the photos would be good (well, better). Everyone seemed to have a really good time! We started with Barely Balanced again, since I knew my parents would enjoy that.

They swung an audience kid around on Small's feet:

Medium and Large having fun juggling knives while "barely balanced". Sharp or not, that would still hurt if it landed on your head!

One of those fun "how'd they do that?!" tricks:

And my personal favorite. Having watched DH juggling and how any little change in the balls makes things fall, watching her plucking things out of the air while they juggle without anyone dropping anything is pretty amazing.

Next up, it was time for the joust. I know, seems like we're repeating ourselves, but I didn't know if we would stay long enough for the second joust, and I knew everyone wanted to see it, so off we went. Love the big zoom!

And watching the lance splinter via photos is pretty cool.

We had lunch, and we let Luke (and DH) run around and have some fun. The brave knight (so many people stopped and asked where we got the sword and shield; I bought them before L was born for me!):

Death to tyrants! LOL

Hey, that doesn't seem like a fair fight.

I love this shot of the sword just floating in mid-air.

And this guy was great. I'm pretty sure he and his group were just visitors, not cast. I actually missed this interaction, but I had seen this man walk past me when I was getting food. That shield he is holding was massive! I know you can see it in the photos, but that really doesn't do it justice. It was also solid wood. It *looked* heavy, and I'm sure it was. Apparently, when he saw Luke playing in the field, he got a huge grin on his face and decided to engage Luke. May not have been the best plan, since I think Luke caught him in the shins mere moments after this photo was taken. I know the sword is just foam, but it can still hurt! Mom and Dad said that he just got a big kick out of it, though.

We then headed over to Fool's Knoll for two shows we had missed on our previous trip. First up was Breaking Point. I had seen them either last year or the year before when they were a "wandering act." They got promoted to a stage act, and though they are still building up their audience, we enjoyed the show. First up was "contact juggling," which I had seen but didn't know that's what it is called. This (presumably) glass ball stayed in contact with his body at all times, but he made it do really amazing things (hard to demonstrate via still photos):

And in my proudest moment to date, Luke decided he wanted to volunteer! He showed some interest at Flights of Wonder at Disney this year, but they ran out of chances by the time he decided he wanted to do so. I tried to get him to volunteer at Maxx and Mauldron the previous weekend, but he didn't seem to want to (Maxx is a little intimidating up close to a 5-year-old, I think, between his height and all the armor). So when they started asking for volunteers, he said he wanted to. I thought the little girl sitting in the front row would get it, but once they called on her, she changed her mind. Luke was the next obvious choice, sitting right on the aisle and raising his hand in the "ooh, ooh, pick me" dance. And they did! Dad took stills:

Wait, what have I gotten myself into?

Up we go!

You're gonna do what with this balloon?

Take one:

Take two, and pow!

Knowing Dad had the stills covered, I switched to video (only the final moment here, since my battery picked this precise moment to try and die, natch):

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Yay Luke!! He had so much fun, and so did we. Immediately following Breaking Point was Todd Keys and the Flying Debris Show. I really miss his act with his partner as the Zucchini Brothers, but he's been solo the last several years. He is also a local, so if anyone needs a juggler for a party in the Atlanta area, look him up. This is the 25th anniversary of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, and he said he's been to 23 of them. And he's always great! I've seen him do this trick before, but never with a kid *this* young! I'm not even sure this little boy was 2; if so, it was just barely. But he did great!

And his final combo trick, made even more amazing when you factor in the wind:

We had ride tickets with our combo pack, so we let Luke do a couple. First was this spinning ride, which I imagine may well have been period. This "gondola" is attached to ropes at the top of a post (didn't take a photo of the whole thing, like an idiot):

And two really big guys spin it, so that the ropes wind and unwind themselves around the poll. Ready?


Then there was this one. There were three of these little "ships" with a rope in the middle (the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, ha ha ha). Big guy gives you a push, to set you swinging back and forth, then the occupants pull on the rope to keep it going.

After that, Luke was starting to crash. He was begging for ice cream, but I knew he wanted soft-serve, which they don't have. I did get him a plain scoop of vanilla, but that didn't seem to suffice. The rain was also headed in, and everyone was tired. I did bump into my friend Valerie, who is now entertainment director, as we left. We did go on one final quest for a pirate hat as we left (he had seen another kid wearing one), but we ended up with a Robin Hood style hat instead (huh, don't have a good photo of that; will try to get one). A great time was had by all! Looking forward to next year.
Currently feeling: festive