Friday, February 25, 2011

'A' for Effort

Over the past couple days, I took some beachy engagement snapshots for our friend Eric and his fiancĂ© Cara (who was visiting the island and left today). They’re two of my favorite people and getting married in May to return together for the summer term. I’m so disappointed they didn’t meet a few months earlier when that arrangement could have benefited ME in any way. Instead, she’s arriving just as I’m leaving Statia for good.

I understand the irony in me taking engagement pictures given my thoughts in general of the gross oversaturation of the mediocre photographer market, my recent Twitter activity, and considering the fact that I am miles away from being even an amateur. I made sure they knew what I was before the decision was final, and it’s not like I charged them any money so stop looking at me like that. I told them that (A) I was confident in my ability to take at least one in-focus picture of the two of them, if they couldn’t find ANYONE else to do it, and (B) if one of them grew a huge zit at any point during the picture-taking, I could take care of it with Photoshop. That was all I promised.

Here are my favorites:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Photo Catch-Up

I'm going to be honest, my heart really isn't in this post. It's not exciting by any stretch of the imagination. But I'm falling behind on pictures, so here it is.

Jon and Eric, hiking the Quill:

Me, going into the crater. I had battle wounds at the end.

Snorkeling around (hi, dog):

Jon, feeling brave because of the ray's stumpy tail:

So many fish:

Puffer - you can see its spines!!

Day at the park:

Me trying out the torture device Lianna carries all over this island:


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Good Old Days

Be forewarned, this is a very long post. I considered splitting it in two and posting them separately, but then I thought, nah. If you want to read half today and half tomorrow, nothing’s stopping you.

The following is by no means a comprehensive list of the most frequently discussed remembrances in the Sweet family, but it’s a start.

That time my dad lost Corinne in a theme park. She was three, my brother was seven, and baby Annie needed a diaper change. Dad was given charge of the older two, but when my mom exited the restroom ten minutes later, he only had Jake with him. And he didn’t even realize something was wrong with that picture until my confused mom asked him where Corinne was. Turns out he’d retrieved one child at the end of a ride, and not the other. Long, awful, panic-stricken story short – Corinne had had the presence of mind, at three years old, to find the car in the parking lot and wait there. Basically, my sister is a genius.

That time my dad startled the dog so intensely, she immediately threw up. I can’t think back on this story without snickering. Sadie was standing at the entrance to the living room, facing all us kids, when my dad began to sneak up behind her. He made eye contact with us, held his finger to his lips, then grabbed poor Sadie with a loud holler. Her reaction was instantaneous.

How we shamed the aforementioned dog so mercilessly each time she farted that she eventually took to running out of the room of her own accord when she felt one slip. One time, I kid you not, Corinne blew a gigantic, obnoxious raspberry, and Sadie went sprinting away with her tail between her legs.

That time my mom called me Jerry.

That time I got into my diaper during a nap causing a mess so vast that the poor overwhelmed babysitter called her own mom in tears to come help clean me up. (I got repaid for this one TENFOLD when I myself was a fifteen-year-old babysitter, by the way. That little kid’s diaper was practically around his ankles, it was so full of poo. Gross story short, it was all over both of us by the time I finally wrangled him into the tub. I’m certain that his parents force-fed him an entire bottle of castor oil just before I showed up. There’s no other explanation.)

That time I named a stuffed animal “Polyester”. On a special outing, my mom let Annie and me pick out any stuffed animal we wanted. Annie picked a big giraffe and I was drawn to a small, speciesless white creature, who knows why. I presented the tag to my brother’s friend, J.J., and asked him if a name was printed on it. Reading the fabric materials, he replied that its name was Polyester (Him: “It means ‘White Blood’”)(Me: “Cooooooooool!”)

That time I bit the babysitter’s butt. I’ve briefly mentioned this before on my blog, so to quote myself: “As the often retold story goes, she was washing dishes after we were all supposed to be in bed when I came sneaking out of my room and bit her on the butt. Surprise!” My parents are still good friends with her and she came to dinner one night a couple of summers ago. It took exactly 9 minutes from the moment she walked in the door for my dad to bring up the butt-biting fiasco.

That time Annie pulled her pony over in the middle of a cross-country trial after a particularly violent fence refusal, leaned over, threw up, then continued on the course like nothing had happened.

That time Corinne kicked her friend Shanna Neely out of a fit of jealous rage. Shanna was playing with Annie and me when a blur came streaking across the room toward us. She took a running start and everything. Nailed Shanna square in the kneecap. She limped all the way home, bleeding. (The weirdest part about this story is that after moving from Kansas to Alaska, then Virginia, we somehow ended up in the same town as Shanna AGAIN. She showed us the scar.)

That time my mom’s boarding pass dubbed her “Icky Sweet”.

That time I used rocks to carve pictures into the hood of our brand new Volvo.

That time I used marshmallows stuck to my palms and feet to give added traction for climbing the doorframe. (Kids are so stupid!)

That time a guy at the Washington International Horse Show’s rake fell apart. I’m positive this isn’t funny to anyone but Corinne and me, but it has to be included because it comes up at least once each time the family gets together. In between some events, they entertained the crowd by setting up Jack Russell terrier races (if you’ve never seen one, you haven’t lived. Endless fun. The dogs chase a foxtail over tiny oxers and into a hay bale fortress…really, about the best idea ever conceived). Anyway, after the races are over there’s typically hay strewn all about the arena, requiring a clean-up crew before the next demonstration can take place. There were about twenty people involved, most of whom were raking up the hay. Eventually my gaze zeroed in on this one guy, and as I was watching him – HIM, of all the people in the arena – the rake flew off of his stick, mid-stroke. Came clean off, and HE DIDN’T. EVEN. NOTICE! Just kept right on going with a rakeless stick for a good three, four strokes, before blinking back into consciousness. And then, what does he do? He’s standing there in the middle of a crowded stadium – thousands and thousands of people on all sides – and he glances around sheepishly to see if anyone saw. I gasped and turned to Corinne, about to scream what I just saw in her face, but her expression revealed that she’d just seen the exact same thing I had. Of all the other things we could have been looking at. We laughed for an hour.

How I called gum “bum” before I could say it correctly, and the confusion this caused when I asked the sitter for bum over and over and over with increasing frustration.

How Corinne is incapable of dressing her salad without dumping half the bottle all over her plate. Also, how no meal is complete until Corinne knocks over a glass of milk.

That time a nurse at Madison Memorial Hospital very nearly killed me by way of an overdose. My stomach had to be pumped and everything. Poor tiny baby. Sidenote – my parents are terrified of Madison Memorial. Terrified. They’ve known several people who were misdiagnosed and/or just about murdered at the hands of that hospital’s crew. It got so bad that they actually made a pact with each other that if one of them was having a medical emergency, the other was to NOT call 911 (Rexburg being the nearest town, the ambulance would take them to Madison Memorial) and instead drive them to Idaho Falls, which is 40 minutes away. And my favorite part of it? THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! My mom thought she was dying a few months ago, couldn’t get a hold of my dad, and therefore had her neighbor drive her to Idaho Falls. She passed a kidney stone on the way there.

That time 3-year-old Annie described a food as tasting like “raw dragon."

That time Corinne accidentally cut a hole in the side of my hamster while performing an ill-conceived haircut. We located a mat, I held him tight to prevent undue squirming, and she took the first (and, incidentally, last) snip. The shears nicked too close and his delicate little hamster skin instantly spread wide open. We didn’t realize it was just a (very large) flesh wound at the time – all we saw was a huge red hole where Bandit’s left side should have been – so we completely freaked out. When my dad walked in the front door five minutes later, he thought someone had been murdered. (The hamster lived, thanks to a combination of my mom’s superb rodent nursing skills and the fervent prayers of three traumatized little girls.)

See also:
Episode II
Episode III
Episode IV
Episode V

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Your daily dose of adorable

As promised!

Being roused:

Here they are getting more active. I love Lianna's suggestion of how to make it easier for the turtles to reach the ocean (about 8 seconds into the video):

First one breaking away from the pack!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

sand, and whatnot

I was going through my pictures folder the other day and came across photos from our first few days here on the island, a year and a half ago (near the end of hurricane season). When I saw the following picture of me at the beach, my eyes bugged out of my head for two reasons: A) I WAS SO WHITE, and B) LOOK AT THAT WALL!!

I know I've frequently mentioned the waxing and waning of the sand level, but I never really displayed any VISUAL evidence. This next picture was taken yesterday at the exact same spot.


PS - I made a logo, sort of! See it here.

PSS - I figured out my videos of the turtle hatch! I'm in the process of converting them, so keep an eye out. Guaranteed to make your day, unless you're a Death Eater.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

So yachty

Jon and I hiked the Quill yesterday morning up to "Panorama Point" - the highest peak on the Western side of the volcano rim. I conveniently forgot my camera at home so I missed a photo op of an ENORMOUS yacht in the harbor. I thought my eyes must be playing tricks on me because it looked bigger than the new Seventh Day Adventist church building, which means nothing to people who haven't been to Statia (but trust me, that building is HUGE). And who has ever heard of a yacht that big?? Well it turns out you can Google super-yachts, and here's what we turned up about this one. Interesting article - or maybe I just think that because I actually saw the boat. Key points: It's called the "A", is 394 feet long, cost around 300 million dollars to build, has 37 crew members (including armed guards), and the water knobs in one of the bathrooms cost $40,000. EACH. Facepalm. There are also yachts INSIDE the yacht. Yachts in a yacht. I realize it sounds like I made that last part up, but I didn't.

We were unaware of any of this as we stood at the top of the Quill, though. We trekked back down (as it turns out, narrowly missing the Russian billionaire who owns the thing - he was hiking the Quill that morning, too. We heard his group going down into the crater as we descended Panorama Point), headed home to shower, then walked to Chicken Day where we ran into a friend who filled us in on it. So of course we had to go get a closer look. We walked at least a thousand miles yesterday.

By the time we got to a good vantage point (stopping at home to pick up our binoculars first), the sun was setting, hence the terrible quality photos. We got there just in time to see it disembark, and ten minutes later it was out of sight.

Disgusting, lavish opulence. But still really really cool to see.


Sort of upset this picture is out of focus:

Dutch Reform church from Fort Oranje, Quill in the background:

Killy Killy Kestrel: