Leaping Lizards

Quiet day this afternoon in still sunny and warm Florida. Seems my part of Michigan received a half-foot of snow yesterday and I've got a snowman waiting on my doorstop when I get home:

So, down here, Chris worked on Ron Paul signs and I played with the camera. Found a new friend hanging out in the bushes by the end of the driveway.

He didn't seem to care too much about me so I probably could have taken a dozen more photos. The other night, leaving the boat dock, we saw some really big lizards, 3-4 feet in size. I'm hoping to get back over there with the camera tomorrow or Monday for a photo shoot.

There are lots of little skink type salamanders running around. You can't walk to the end of the drive without seeing 5 or 6 of them skitter away. Generally, they don't hold still for pictures but I got one, by chance I'm sure:

Looking at this picture creeps me out, even though Chris says they are harmless:

(its a spider, about the size of a fingernail in real life)


Flying Too

Okay, the music is cheesy but.....


I'm spending the holidays in the Florida Keys with Chris and his family. I arrived Saturday night (very very late) just in time to miss the winter wind storm in Michigan.

On Sunday, Chris' brother James took me up in the small plane they rented to come down from Tampa.

I also took some video of our take-off and from the air. Will post that later.


Merry Christmas from Miami!

Chris sent me these pictures from the Holiday Parade in Florida. All photos were taken with a camera phone so don't expect prize-winning quality. But there are some pretty cool boat floats to see.


White Elephant

Today was my department's annual staff meeting, followed by a luncheon and our White Elephant gift exchange. When I drew the #6, I knew that unless I opened the worst gift ever, it was probably going to be stolen from me.

Sure enough, I opened a very nice cooler that holds 2 bottles of wine or a 12 pack of soda with room for ice. I kept it longer than I expected because 2 gifts after me was a cooler filled with small bottles of alcohol for making jello shots. But it was soon gone and I had to pick another prize. Thus far I'd not seen anything I wanted to steal so I opened a new gift.

And got this:

The perfect touch was the red light bulb inside. After determining that hanging it outside my office door was probably not the best most professional choice, I stuck in my desk drawer until I plot my next move. Buy the coordinating leg lamp from A Christmas Story? Hang on to it, for re-gifting next year? Pass it on to Kayla, whose 11th birthday is just 2 weeks away?


Blast it

Do you feel like Isaac? Like the Monkey is always there, right over your shoulder?

Well, put on your spaceman helmet.

Get out your hairdryer blaster.

And show that monkey the what for!

PS: Insert your own Star Wars twee-twee blaster sounds as needed.

Ever feel like...

there's something weighing you down, keeping you from accomplishing your goals? Or always following you around?

Like.... like a Monkey on your back?


Cliff Diving

Chris and I went to Grand Ledge yesterday, for no particular purpose. The light was fading (and there wasn't a whole lot of sun to begin with) but we had a nice time ambling around and thinking about how beautiful this would be in the spring, from a canoe on the river.


Silver Bells

Friday night, Chris and I went to Silver Bells in the City, Lansing's annual holiday season kick-off. The festivities include musical performances, horse drawn carriage rides and an electric light parade. At the end of the parade, the State's holiday tree is lit and there are fireworks over the Capitol.

I didn't have a tripod with me so these pics didn't turn out quite as crisp as they could have. Considering we were standing in a crowd of people for the fireworks, I'm quite pleased they aren't all a blur!


Happy Halloween!

I was going to save this for Caturday:

Zelda says HI!


More Yooper Pics - Sept 2007

Following my visit to Munising Falls, I headed down the road to Miner's Castle in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The Pictured Rocks are 15 miles of sandstone cliffs between Munising and Grand Marais. The waters of Lake Superior have shaped the cliffs in to various formations include the castle, a Indian Chief's head and more. At the same time, water is continually leaching out between the sandstone layers. In the winter, the water freezes and sometimes sections of the cliffs will break off and fall in the water. This happened to the Grand Arch in 2000 and to Miner's Castle in 2006.

If you read my previous post, you know that is was cold and rainy. When I arrived at the parking area for the overlook, it wasn't raining. There is a short walk to the platform that looks down towards Miner's Castle. Its still cold but not so bad with my coat on. Until I step to the railing of the overlook when the gale force winds forced me to take a step back.

To get these shots, I leaned forward, snapped a couple of quick ones then backed up till the feeling returned to my fingers.

Took a couple of tries to get this one with the water coming through the erosion holes.

Looking West toward Munising:

This photo just feels cold to me.

The Castle, up close. The two sides used to match. The right turret fell in April 2006. To see before and after pictures, visit Lake Superior Photo

I noticed the people in the Lake Superior Photo pictures. From what I could see, getting that close is no longer allowed or at least much more difficult. There are many signs that prohibit going beyond the guardrails along the path.

In June of this year, I took the Pictured Rocks Boat Tour, see those pictures here:
Pictured Rocks Slideshow

One more post with pictures of this trip coming soon.


Themeless Tuesday

I'm working with my old laptop this week, thanks to an incident with my cats (Parada mostly), my newer laptop and a vase on a bookshelf last week. The cats were allowed to live, albeit banished to the basement for the weekend.

It took some work to get the old laptop back up and running and connected to the internet. And its uses are limited. The space bar doesn't always work. When the chip gets hot, the other keys do funny things before the whole thing either restarts or freezes up.

I'm in a much better mood about the whole thing since I found a lower price than I expected for a new screen on-line. Plus I had the visual amusement of seeing Zelda and Parada all slicked up with their monthly flea treatment. It makes their fur all spiky for a couple of days. Maybe I'll get some pics of that later.

In the meantime, I've been going through the pictures on this laptop and found a few to post up here.

Vacation at Grandma's House

Here I am with Uncle Rick and a grandma-made stuffed bear are at "Grandma in Iowa's house" where I spent lots of Thanksgivings and Easters while growing up. It took days to get there when we were kids, or so it seemed then.
There are scads of photos with the cousins and Rick standing in front of these orange curtains. Sometime around 1980 they were replaced with a lighter color (and we still stood in front of them for photos) but I still see the house with these orange curtains in my memory.

Storms in Chicago

For some reason, nearly every time I drive to Chicago to see Melissa, the weather is awful during the drive. The first time I drove out, in a Chevy Metro, was the worst I think. I had rain, snow and ice. The winds were blowing Lake Michigan right up on to Lakeshore Drive. About 1/2 way there, I thought 'I should go back home' but then realized I'd have to drive back through what I'd just survived. It had to get better, right? Pulling over on the highway to chip ice off the wipers is not, as it turns out better.

I made it on that trip and this one too. This trip was tame by comparison and actually the storm hanging between the highrise building was pretty neat looking. This picture was taken in stop and go traffic and does not give the scene justice.

How about some eye candy?

From Melissa's bachelorette party which took place in Chicago. And this guy is built like a bear. So maybe there is a theme here, subtle though it may be.


Monkey Monday

Witches, Goblins and Pumpkins, oh my!


Artie works on his masterpiece:


You can't see the rat barrettes but I think the red-eye is a nice touch, yes?

Post-carving break-dancing:

That's Artie and Stuart bustin' a move and the two Kaylas (I think) waiting their turn

These pictures were taken at the 2005 Pumpkin Carving Party, hosted by Jonquil and Scott. I hope it goes without saying that I did not take the guts picture.

I'm going to miss this year's party because the Grand Rapids 1/2 Marathon is the next day. But I'm thinking I'll get a pumpkin and carve it at Becky and Brian's house so I can be there in spirit.


Monkey Monday

Time does fly

In these photos taken in April 2005, Toby is just about 6 months old and this was the first time Kayla and Artie met him. Also one of the first times Artie used up my memory card in one afternoon.

The Artie photo:

Kayla, Artie and Toby:

Toby recently celebrated his 3rd birthday with what I can only assume was a low key party since I didn't get invited to any special events.

As you can see from Rosa's birthday party, Toby is still all smiles.


A cold rainy day

I went back to the UP for work last week. The trip was timed so I could see some fall color, hopefully. Alas, it was just a little too early. But it was not too early for freezing temperatures!

On the drive back home, I stopped at Pictured Rocks, this time driving out to Miner's Castle instead of taking the boat tour. Before going out to the Miner's Castle overlook, I stopped at Munising Falls. You used to be able to walk behind the falls but that access has been blocked due to the risk of falling rocks.

Due to the drought conditions this summer, the water flow is lighter than usual but its still pretty nice and easy to access.

The falls drop about 50 feet before meandering down towards the Lake Superior coast. From the welcome center at the foot of the park, you can hop on the North Country trail that will start you on the hike through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Maybe next summer...

The foliage back in this canyon is beautiful. A thousand shades of green including this moss growing on the walls of the canyon.
Munising Falls is located within the city limits of Munising, commonly considered the gateway to the Western UP, where "the pretty starts."

Another shot of the falls from below.The walkway to the upper view

I really like this photo even though the focus is off. It was raining and a breezy but I love the framing of the falls in the leaves.

Alterna- Names

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Cricket Vibe

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Mint Chocolate Chip Thin Mint

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) CSch

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Green Kitteh

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Jeanette Flint

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) SchCo

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put “The”) The Red Red Wine

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Richard Neal

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy) Contradiction Take 5

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Louise Dean


Monkey Monday

Last summer, Artie and I went to a Detroit Tiger's game (see previous post).

Artie made friends in front:

And behind us:

Now we just have to work on his composition skills.


Monkey Monday

A couple of pictures from Rosa's birthday party in August. Letting Artie go in the lake with the camera is a little nerve wracking but he's been pretty responsible so far. I believe telling him that I'd require payment in the form of fingers and toes for any damages was a highly effective in this regard.

A shot of the other photog on scene:

The birthday girl with Uncle Ryan:

I believe the nametag is self-explanatory:

Artie's obligatory self-portrait:

Rosa after the party, all tuckered out: