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I'm beginning a very busy summer season, including my first attempt at leaving home without the parents in years (an important skill, seeing as I'm leaving for college in August) coming up in a couple of weeks.

Over last few days we went to a Lawyer Conference with Daddy at a very very nice hotel.  I love high-end hotels, and they are something I will miss once I move out into the real world.  Staying in the fantasy world for now, however, we also went through a tiny town in West Virginia where I discovered my latest Dream Home, a big historic colonial mansion in the mountains right across from a Historic Memorial.  I also added a nearby restaurant as one of only two outside-of-NC locations on my internal List of Places With Decent Barbecue.

On the nerddom front, my disappointment that Green Lantern apparently wasn't very good (I will have to rent it once it comes on DVD and decide for myself, as reviews suggest it's not worth enduring a theater for) is somewhat tempered by the happy fact that X-Men First Class caaused a nice fic explosion for one of my favorite pairings.

Speaking of fic: I have a shaping up to be epic that I believe there will be decent interest in.  However: I was bitten by the plot bunny for it while reading someone else's drabble.  My fic has a different backstory, is in a different 'verse, and for the most part stars different characters, but the general inspiration-type-thing is the same- though it's an AU-setting that others have used as well and that I've worked to have a unique take on.  While I know the drabble author's name, I've never interacted with them and am not sure if they're still fandom-active. 

What is the etiquette for this situation?
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 It is rainy here.

Feels lovely to be off of the plane, of course, and back on somewhat solid ground.  We got to ride a water taxi from the airport to our apartment.  Siblings refusing to shut up/stop arguing, even though we're in the part of the vacation that Sister chose.  (I chose Paris, though I think I will prefer the two weeks in Scotland).

We're also facing the should-have-been-anticipated problem of nobody speaking a word of Italian- don't look at me, okay, I've been boning up on my French and got an A even.  

You can see canals and old buildings and boats out of the windows, and the living room in particular has a lovely view of a red roof and a tall carved building that I think might be a church.

Also birds.  We've heard horrible reports of aggressive pigeons, but all I've seen so far have been wet seagulls.
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Tuesday: Bring a Friend day at the stable.  I got to teach Daddy how to ride Case.  Have I talked about Case?  Bigbig pretty horse, former showjumper, and several tons of attitude.  He is basically a cat in big bay horse format, and spent most of the time before riding thumping his feet against the stall door to protest the entire idea.  (his feet are fine, btw.  Silly boy.)  He is my silly boy (though the stable owns him, not me) and I lovelovelove him though I kind of doubt the feeling is mutual.  Daddy sort of got him to trot when the instruction ran alongside yelling, which is about what I did my first time on him a few weeks back.  He's kind of learning to respect me, though.

Wednesday (today): Comics!  DC is putting out three books I was willing to venture into a crown for.  Marvel says that one of my favorite characters had an OOC adulterous relationship with someone I don't care about.  DC wins this week, which is good, because they were seriously losing ground.  Anyway, I got Generation Lost, Booster Gold, and Birds of Prey.  Good times.  Good writing.

Future: We're actually setting up stuff for Europe- we've got tickets, we've got reservations, etc, and I continue to be nervous.  Venice, Paris, London, and then two weeks in Scotland.

Oh, and today was mom's birthday.  Happy birthday, Mom!


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Alright, I mentioned a while back that frequently, Daddy goes to Lawyer Conferences, which are held at nice hotels so that people will actually attend.  This last one was at the Greenbrier, a famous old hotel in the West Virginia mountains.  I enjoyed it.  It had all the things I want in a hotel:

Pristine Mountain Setting- check.
Victorian Charm- check
Able to sleep in a different room from my sister- check
A Certain Quirkiness- check
Free Wireless- check.

So, yeah.  Highly recommended.  Try the spa.
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We saw bears.  Wild ones.  Four of them.

To be more specific, four bears were spotted.  I only saw one, and no individual family member saw more than three.   Three were in the yard at various times of the day, and one was on top of the mountain, seen only by mom, as she was hiking ahead of the rest of us.  The one I saw was wandering through the yard, presumably in pursuit of food and following the flattest path that wasn't the forest road.  It left quickly after briefly sniffing at the cars.

Now, remember, folks: Do not feed bears.  Do not play with bears.  Do not follow bears around into the woods.  Retain a deep, deep respect for and distance from the bears.

Anyway, still sure y'all wanna stay at the mountain house?

Back Home!

Apr. 19th, 2009 04:17 pm
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Today we returned from the mountains!  It was a weekend of hiking.

Daddy and I hiked for four hours yesterday along a ridge, down into a valley with a creek, and back up onto and down the ridge.  It was strenous, it was tiring, but I managed to have a nice conversation with my father outside of Davidson/Panthers seasons, and that is always an accomplishment.

(Plus we ate lunch at the top of a waterfall on the creek, and aside from the orange trying to escape to the swimming hole below, it was very wonderful.  We must return there with the rest of the family when it is actually warm enough to swim at the bottom.)

Today, we did some more hiking, along- I kid y'all not- Darkside Cliffs. 

Wow.

That name really inspires confidence.

The view from the top was excellent, and the hike itself was pretty easy, but I really don't want the names of my trails to include either "Darkside" or "Cliffs".
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Good news: Beach!  Yay!  It's gorgeous down here, if a bit too cold to swim. 

Bad news:  I, yet again, have suffered The Return Of The Mysterious Coughing/Headache/Sore Throat.  This is the third time now that it has come back.  I am not amused.

Pre-illness, the drive down on Thursday was nice.  We listened to country music most of the way, and I was forced to admit that over the top patriotic songs about how "This Is America" and such are now a guilty pleasure of mine.  Not as much as "I Wanna Check You For Ticks," however.  That song (whatever it's actually called) is a class all by itself.  It revolves around a country boy using that sentiment as a pick up line in a bar.  Deeply romantic.

My aunt (the Zutara shipper) and I should be able to resume watching Avatar soon.  I'm looking forward to showing her the second season.  It remains one of the best things I've ever watched on TV, and has a lovely Shirtless Zuko Quotient.

Which brings me to another rambling point- why do I fangirl?  And, more specifically, why do I seem to fangirl only animated/drawn characters?  I mean, it started with me insisting that I just liked Zuko for his character, but Season Three and the Beach Episode of Doom put a bit of an end to that.  Now one of my major online hobbies is watching other people fangirl Nightwing.  I am growing concerned.

Anyway, world, Happy Almost-Easter!
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Wahoo!

I just finished a short report on Midieval castles and cathedrals (and managed to shoehorn Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley in even if they weren't quite midieval), and soon I shall leave for therapy, after which- THE BEACH!

Also, the Easter Bunny should be bringing me my season of JLI come Sunday, so that'll be good.  Yesterday I shopped for Easter dresses, with interesting results. 

There were the typical number of "your father will never let you out of the house in that" choices, all of which I inevitably liked and which inevitably looked nice on me, but which my mom inevitably commanded me to return to the hangers.  The one I finally chose is purple and black and white, and twirly.  It also has a HAT.  I love my HAT.  I am writing of the HAT in capital letters because I...  I really have no clue why.  I just am. 

I scare myself when I'm happy.

HAT.

Anyway, I also tried on the Most Definitely Not An Easter Dress.  It was short, and black, and fringe covered.  I felt like I was looking at a version of myself from a parallel reality.  Because of course I was.  In that dress, I am fairly sure that if i went to a club or a party with the people at my school, I would be described in their peculiar vernacular as "hotass" and I'd dance and maybe I'd actually get a guy.

But if I went to a party or a club I'd end up in a fetal position with my face to a corner willing all the people to please go away.  And the dress was not designed for that.

So I shall wear my twirly Easter dress, and the HAT, and the Bikini Designed Only For Practical Purposes if it's actually warm enough to swim, and I'll sit on the magical little corner of my bed that features wireless.

But hey- we're going to the beach!  To Holden, more specifically, which is beautiful and perfect and has egrets and deer and sea turtles.  I can eat deviled crab and key lime pie, and sing about how Christ is Risen Today at the little church.

I don't really want to ask for more.
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I am now home from Atlanta, and good times were had.  The city was nice, I only had severe anxiety issues once, and OMGOSHTINYGORILLAYAY.  But I'll get to that.

I ran into some of my pet peeves, namely that Hotels Do Not Need To Charge Twenty Bucks For Every Single Little Thing You Do.  Blurg.  One of the fun things about Dad being a lawyer is that he frequently goes to Lawyer Conferences, which are held at nice hotels so that people will have a reason to come.  So I have been to nice hotels.  Many of them had this feature in common: they did not charge for wireless.  I have also been to many standard hotels, and a few hotels where the beds were Pre Hair Covered For Your Convenience.  As I recall, these places did not charge for wireless either, though to be fair that was not always what I was focused on.  (It's difficult to think about the internet when the carpet sticks to your feet).

But the rest of the hotel was nice, even if THEY CHARGED FIFTEEN BUCKS FOR A DAY OF WIRELESS THAT'S ENOUGH FOR SEVERAL BOOKS ON THE CIVIL WAR.  It had a rotating restaurant on the top, which was terrifying but had decent food and an incredible view when I could convince myself to look at it.  And we didn't fly down there, so I suppose I had to have my requisite Terrifying High Up Experience sometime.

The tourist destinations were nice if crowded.  The aquarium was astonishing.  There were belugas, and jellies, and absolutely adorable otters.  The Coke place was basically a giant commercial, but it was at least a decent giant commercial that gave out free soft drinks.

And the zoo.  Omigosh, the zoo.

There was, of course, the baby panda, but while it was absolutely adorable it was also sleeping with its back to the audience.  I completely understand why it was doing this and everything, but all the same it wasn't something you could stare at for more than a couple of hours.

But the gorillas. 

There were several- I don't think they were quite baby gorillas, but kid gorillas, at least.  Very cute.  Two of them were wresling and shoving each other off of rocks, but a third was sitting in the corner eating.  After a while the rambunctious apes came over near the third one to annoy an adult gorilla, and the quiet one stood up, clearly having none of this.  And there are few things more adorable than a tiny little gorilla standing up, pounding its hands on its chest and then clapping.

And then today it sleeted after we came out of the CNN building.
  Seriously.  We come home to Charlotte, and it's much warmer here.  I feel like I need to explain the concepts of "spring" and "southern" to Atlanta.

Oh- and I got the first season of JLI, but Mom says I can't have it until Easter.
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Yeah.

Anyway, tomorrow, my family and I drive to Atlanta for our annual Trip To A Major US City.  So far, we've done Boston, Chicago, Savannah, Baltimore, San Antonio, Philledelphia? Philly, and Memphis.  Mostly we fly, but as I suffer from a crippling fear of airplanes, I managed to convince mom that driving this year would be fun.

Spring break!  Yay! 

All the trips have had highlights.  San Antonio had incredible food (and, on the way over, a pilot who talked far, far too much and not generally in a truly reassuring way).  Chicago meant I got to drag my parents to the American Girl Place with my American Girl Dolls (and I am never flying through or near O'Hare again.  Ever.)  In Philly, we got to attend opening day of the Phillies baseball team (they lost, abut my cousin decided to become "Philly Man," who got his powers by eating cheesesteaks).  Both Boston and Baltimore had ducklings.

Memphis had Graceland.  Actually visiting the place where Elvis lived seemed to be the highlight of my little brother's life.  For the next several months, he sang the various songs he had memorized whenever possible.  Also he purchased a light up Elvis sign for his room.  We considered getting one of my uncles who refused to come along an Elvis jumpsuit, but decided against it after seeing the prices and thinking that $200 was a bit much for something he would probably ceremonially burn.

But it was fun.  Vacations are among the times me and my relatives genuinely get along.  A couple of years ago when we spent three weeks in Nova Scotia, we became a united front against the Evil Biting Flies and my siblings actually followed my orders. 

But my family is crazy.  I say this in order to share a fascinating story.  Once upon a time in the late eighteen hundreds, some siblings were orphaned.  One went to live with relatives in Charleston.  Today, his descendants own large amounts of stock in oil companies and one of those houses shown on carriage tours.

The other one stayed on the farm.  He raised cows.

He, of course, was the one who became my great great grandfather.

This interesting tale of fate was discovered, I think, by the same relative who discovered that we're also distantly related to Abe Lincoln.  I have no idea what the myriad Robert Lee *Insert Last Name Here* s in my family think of this, but to be honest I don't care.

Abe Lincoln!  Awesome!

WEEKEND!

Mar. 20th, 2009 03:36 pm
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And my mom is going up to the mountains without me...  *Sobs*  She's leaving me with two siblings and dad to be the Only Person  In The House Who Can Prepare Food. 

In other news, the weather is now becoming jacket-less, which is nice.  First day of spring!  This is really the most beautiful time of the year around here.  All the dogwoods flower and everyone's lawns fill up with wildflowers except for those of most of our neighbors, people who engage in an odd practice known as "weeding".  We have a baby magnolia in the back yard and it might flower this year, which would be nice, particularly since it a few months ago survived having half of our old dogwood land on it.

And then it will reach 80 degrees Farenheit, and then 90, and then it'll be June and over 100 and I'll begin plotting to move up North. 

And then I'll remember that the beaches up there aren't as nice as Holden, and I'll change my mind.  I've only been to a couple beaches up there, thought- Cape Cod once, which was freezing cold and completely packed and overall Not A Destination I Recommend, though the hotel had about twenty cats and was awesome.  And a couple in state parks in Maine, which were not, as the tourist pictures had indicated, covered with baby seals, and then to one in Nova Scotia.  That one was best, because we were the only people there.

But none of them came close to Holden.  To be fair, none of the other Southern beaches come close to Holden Beach, either.  Myrtle Beach is tacky and packed, the Outer Banks are very nice but aren't really a place to just play in the water.

Holden is perfection.  No high rises- just family beach houses.    Holden is the sea turtle nests, and the three ice cream stores, and the Big Bridge that's still the biggest thing in the world.  It makes me want to spout out poetic purple prose about delicately twisting golden fronds of sea grass clinging to life forsaken on the guardian dunes.

The house there ithat we visit s my grandparents', and we go for Easter and Summer and Labor Day and...  yeah.

I'm actually looking forward to summer now.

Bring on the sweltering!  I've got my melodramatic descriptions!

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