Monday, June 08, 2009

My weekend

My Weekend
Jayme Lynn Blaschke

On Thursday I drove to Kenedy to interview a person for my book project on the La Grange Chicken Ranch. We met at Barth's restaurant. I had an iced tea and fried jalapenos. He had a Diet Coke. The weather was blistering hot outside but nice and cool inside. The restaurant was quiet, as lunch hour had passed, but 30 minutes into our conversation a group of women who apparently work together came in for an afternoon party or something. Out of an empty restaurant, they naturally chose to sit at a table adjacent to our booth. They laughed and shouted and jabbered for two hours or so, and were still going when I left. Recorded portions of the interview are not of great quality from the point of their arrival. sigh But as Thursday is not technically the weekend, you don't need to read the preceding paragraph.

On Friday (which is still not technically the weekend) I hired an intern. She is an enthusiastic over-achiever, willing to work for no pay to get valuable real-world experience. She's also over-extended herself with senior year commitments, I suspect. This tends to be a pattern with summer interns. We shall see.

Friday afternoon, at which point the weekend had actually commenced, the family went to Landa Park to swim. Monkey Girl and I went to the big spring-fed pool, which is one of the universe's joys. It's like Barton Springs pool, only less Malthusian. Ostensibly, I was there to keep an eye on her in the deep water, but it quickly became apparent that not only could she swim circles around me, she could swim circles around half the lifeguards as well. Hoo. Later that night, The Wife and I watched some more of season 3 Buffy. The ones where Faith kills a guy and goes bad. The Wife drank chardonnay and I drank blueberry ale (store bought, alas, not my own brew). Looking forward to seeing how this resolves. The Faith storyline, not the libations.

Saturday I did not sleep in, which is a shame, since Saturday is my designated sleep in day. Instead, Monkey Girl had a swim meet, so we all got up bright and early and headed over to Landa Pool. Monkey Girl kicked serious boo-tay. She's been moved up to the top heats in her age group. And her dive/entry and turns have improved astronomically since last season. She's a much more powerful swimmer, and it shows in her upper body definition and muscle tone. She finished with two fourth-place finishes, a third and her freestyle relay team took first. Whoo hoo! Her first blue ribbon! Her butterfly--which is also her favorite stroke--has improved dramatically as well. Her upper-body form is very good. Now all she has to do is improve her kick and she'll be taking first in that stroke as well. Overall, she shaved a minimum of six seconds off her best time in each event.

Afterwards, we packed up the kids and dropped them off at their grandmother's in Bastrop while The Wife and I swung over to Austin to take in the Austin Photo Expo. Best part of the event: Absolutely free admission. We enjoyed ourselves. It was laid out not unlike a science fiction con, with a dealer's room (Canon, Nikon, Tamron, Olympus, Sony etc. instead of Edge Books and Adventure In Crime & Space) and three tracks of programming. Being held in the conference center at the old Northcross Mall, there was no evening programming and no con suite. Lots of lens lust, though, and camera lust, and accessories lust there in the exhibitors hall. The Wife tried out the Canon EF 70-200 2.8 IS and fell in love. Duh. The sales woman there asked if we were aware of the on-site discount. Discount? The Wife's ears perked up. I have to admit mine did as well. $350 the Canon rep informs us. I do a quick calculation--that'd be about $1,250, assuming the base price of $1,600 online. We didn't have that kind of money, but that was a great deal. Dare we break out plastic? The deal was too good. Double-checking with the rep, I learned that the discount applied to the MSRP, and after the discount the lens would still set us back close to $1,650. Nevermind. For my part, I'd heard of and seen pics online of the Sigma 150-500mm supertelephoto zoom, but being able to handle one in person really amped my desire up to 11. That's really a solid, well-built lens. The Wife looked at it and asked "How big is it?" I answered 500mm. She responded, "All riiight!" Who says size doesn't matter?


The lectures were packed. Very good attendance, so much so that the venue was inadequate I'd say. I attend a number of writer conventions during the year and this Expo could definitely move up into bigger digs. Of course, then you'd start having to deal with hotel room blocks and probably membership fees, so it might not be worth it. But it definitely has the potential to grow into a full-blown conference with evening events and such. On the way home, we stopped at Austin Homebrew Supply so I could get a packet of Sparkolloid. No idea where my supply has vanished to.

On Sunday The Wife packed up and trekked back to Austin for a bridal photography workshop. She picked up a lot of good techniques, not to mention some killer portfolio shots. I'm jealous, but then she's the professional and I'm just the husband. Although it amuses me how just a year ago she mocked me for my comparatively modest photography expenditures whereas now she looks at $1,600 Canon "L" glass ("White lenses are sexy," says she) and starts figuring the budget.

Once The Wife got home and we reviewed her shots (they're here if you're curious) I potted up some passion vines I'd gotten in trade, then cleared away a heck of a lot of passiflora vines from the front of the house that'd been denuded of vegetation by voracious caterpillars. That evening after getting the kids to bed we sat back--The Wife with a glass of moscato and I with another blueberry beer. We watched the first season finale of Big Love and were more than a little underwhelmed by it. And that was our weekend.

The End

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