Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

This weekend I decided that even though I am really busy planning lessons (and will be for the indefinite future), I can't spend all of my non-at-work-time working - I would go crazy! Combine that with spending all of my non-at-work-time in my teeny tiny apartment and you have a recipe for stir-craziness. As such, I decided to go to a local botanical garden called the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.

I recall taking quite a few trips to Kanapaha as a kid. I always enjoyed going there, which seems kind of odd considering that I was never into gardening. I'm still not, although at least now I can go with photography as my purpose, and I do appreciate plants a lot more than I did when I was young. The park is a lot larger than it used to be, and the old building that served as the welcome center and gift shop is now all closed up, replaced with a large, modern building with event halls and such. However, despite the changes, the park seemed very much the same place that I remembered.

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This used to be the welcome center and gift shop. I meant to take a picture of the new structure for comparison, but alas, I forgot.

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Kanapaha is very pet-friendly. I knew that before I went, but decided not to bring Mochi. Kanapaha has about two miles of paths, whereas Mochi gets tuckered out after a couple of blocks.

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The statue of Buddha was a new addition to the bamboo garden. Seeing American money placed on the statue was a new one for me, as I am so accustomed to seeing Korean coins instead.

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My mom is collecting bottles for a bottle tree. I thought this was a pretty neat idea for a bottle tree.

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When I was a kid, the (rather large) herb garden was my least favorite part of the park. This was because it was my mother's favorite. I swear she would spend hours poring over all of the plants and their little plaques while I grew ever more bored. In hindsight, it probably wasn't hours, but as a kid with no interest in herbs it seemed tortuous. As an adult, I appreciated it a bit more, mainly because smelling all of the different varieties of mint and rosemary was just so wonderful.

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There I am!

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I wish I'd gotten a better picture of this little guy, but alas, he would not hold still. I am amazed that I even spotted him; he was SMALLER than you see in this picture. I'd say he was tinier than the fingernail on my pinky. 

When I was a kid, going to the gift shop at the end of a trip through the gardens was always a bit of a highlight, even though I rarely ever bought anything. In some ways, today was no different. I spent a lot of time looking at the things in the gift shop (including a lot of tempting beaded necklaces and silk scarves), but didn't buy anything as it was all pretty expensive. However, children are not allowed in the new gift shop. Granted, it contained a lot of very fragile and very expensive stuff, but given my fond memories of exploring the gift shop that seemed a bit sad. (And they are serious about the no-kids rule; a mom went into the gift shop with her daughter - holding tight to her hand - and was told that sorry, kids aren't allowed.) I also couldn't find anywhere that they were selling plants, which seems a bit odd. They used to sell a bunch of plants. I'm not a plant person, but I was feeling pretty inspired and might have bought something for Charlie to promptly destroy had a plant-sales area been readily available. However, while I didn't *see* a plant sales area, I also didn't ask about one, so this might simply be something that I missed.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

It's going to probably be a while before I have enough time to start blogging regularly, as I am *very* busy at the moment. My job is great and I absolutely love it, but it is keeping me very occupied at the moment. I'm planning very detailed lessons, including for one topic that I've never taught at this level before. It's a lot of work for me, but like I said, I love it. I'm hoping that as the semester progresses things will calm down somewhat (especially if I can get ahead of the game with my lesson planning), but at the moment, when I have time that's genuinely free, I tend to use it to sleep :-) Stay tuned! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Old Florida Images: Hawthorne area

I've been looking at a lot of real estate all over this part of Florida recently, which has taken me into a lot of the small communities surrounding the town in which I now live and work. As a result, I've seen some things (not for sale, alas) that were definitely quite photogenic. I'm pretty sure that I'd never been to Hawthorne, FL before driving out there to look at some property (turned out to not be worth calling a realtor out), so as such, everything was new to me, even if they were very representative of Old Florida. So many people think of Disney and beaches when they think of Florida, but this is the sort of thing I think of:

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Cowpen Lane, east of Hawthorne, FL

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Off Cowpen Lane, east of Hawthorne, FL
It's located on the shore of a dry lake. Hawthorne has several lakes that have gone dry in the past few years.

The following images are of a house owned by the Johnson family of the historical Johnson Crossroads Community, a historically all-African American community just east of Hawthorne. I am utterly in love with this house, and wish I could own it. It is empty, and seems to have been that way for some time, although it could still be fixed up (it would take some investment though). Sadly, it is not up for sale.

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This is from the back kitchen (?) addition of the above house.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Walking around campus

I never attended this school where I shall soon be teaching; however, a lot of my friends did. I also spent one summer pretending that I was indeed a student here. I lived in town, attended some classes (they were big enough that my presence wasn't noted), logged in under friends' names at the computer lab, and attended school events. My friends and I were even featured in the university newsletter attending one such event, and we were all labeled as university sophomores. This was true, albeit I was a sophomore at a university up in Tennessee, not here in Florida.  (I know I have the digital file of that newspaper clipping somewhere, but I can't find it on my laptop or online, and I seem to have taken my external drives up to GA.) It's weird to be back in some ways, although I suspect not as weird as it would be had I been an actual student here. I see things and think, "There's the computer lab where I used to log in to check my email, using my friends' IDs." or "I snuck into classes there!" Haha.

I walked around campus today. This is a huge school, but right now we're in between the end of the Spring semester and the beginning of the Summer A semester. As such, there was hardly anyone on campus. That was weird. Still, I took a walk around, getting oriented with where I need to go tomorrow and Tuesday and so on - and of course, I took a lot of photos. While the campus does not compare to my undergrad alma mater, it is far more attractive than the school in Orlando where I completed my MA. This is, of course, due to the fact that it's older - and therefore has a lot of interesting old buildings and old-growth live oaks.

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This is where I'll be headquartered for the first month. After that, we'll be moving into a different building that is currently being remodeled. This place used to be a K-12 boarding school, and is rumored to be haunted by some kids who died there.

I also came across some interesting graffiti:

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I'm pretty sure that's me!

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And - just like in Orlando - the squirrels on campus are pretty brazen!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Driving, Moving, and Teeny Tiny Time!

It has been a very busy week. I've gone about 1000 or so miles (both as driver and as passenger), and have moved into my new place in preparation for starting my new job on Monday. Last Saturday was my last day of work in Orlando (yes, I occasionally had to work on Saturdays). After work wrapped up, my dad and brother drove over from Tampa to help me load most of my stuff into a 14' U-Haul.

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On Sunday, I drove The Beast, as I affectionately named said U-Haul, up to Georgia. I had expected to be terrified and cowering in the slow lane at 55mph, but it turned out to be quite fun to drive. Once getting to Georgia, my mom and I had to unload The Beast. Let's just say it goes a lot easier when you've got muscular dudes helping as opposed to when it's you and your nearly 70 year old mother... but we got everything unloaded. The living room looks great... except for the bed in the corner. My Georgia house is a two bedroom house which already had two beds, so into the corner bed #3 goes for now.

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The living room looks great at this angle!

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...then there's the random bed in the corner!

Then I had to be driven back down to Orlando so that I could get my car, which I drove first to my new city in Florida, and then back up to Georgia to pick up my cats, then back down to Florida.... I am a bit sick of driving at the moment, especially as my car's AC has suddenly become awfully iffy.

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After picking up my car then spending the night in our new place, Mochi and I drove up to GA to pick up the cats.

You might be wondering why I moved all of my furnishings to Georgia if I was about to be starting a new job in a different city in Florida. Well, this is because I sublet a teeny-tiny furnished apartment for the summer - and when I say teeny-tiny, I am not kidding; it's about 250 square feet in total. A lot of folks who have seen my pictures and videos of my new place on Facebook have been somewhat aghast at the teeny-tininess of my apartment, but I quite like it. For one thing: location, location, location. I can walk to work! As I'm a bit tired of cars at the moment, this is nice. And I'd much rather swelter in the fresh air than in a car with a blown AC when going to and from work. I've been fascinated by the tiny house concept for some time, and this gives me the opportunity to live in a tiny house (albeit not out in the country as I've always imagined!) and to see how it goes. The biggest challenge so far has been for the pets. Mochi has slept with me since the day I got him from the shelter in Seoul, but as the apartment has a loft bed, there's no way that he can get up into it. (I could lift him up there, but he can't make it through the night without a trip to the pee-pad, so that wouldn't work.) The cats... well, Bagira figured out right away how to climb the ladder (I have a video of this hilarious super-cat feat below), but Charlie just doesn't get it at all. She cried piteously until I carried her up there last night. (Believe me, I had tried to wait her out... but when she was still yowling at 4am, I gave up and brought her upstairs. I had to carry her down in the morning, too.)

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This is where I'll be living for the summer as seen from Google Street View.

Take the grand tour of my apartment - it doesn't take long!

Watching Bagira climb the ladder is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Watching Charlie express her dismay at being left on the ground is pretty funny, too (except when you're trying to sleep).

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I got Mochi a bed because I was feeling guilty at leaving him on the floor. Luckily he loves it!

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Bagira "upstairs"

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Mochi in his bed

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Charlie, still somewhat disturbed by all of this