Smile, you're on camera...

Our awesome bungee trip to visit the folks this weekend came with an extra bonus. Well, besides retrieving the Spawn.

It was a bungee trip because I had to work Sunday, so we booked it back in the wee hours of Sunday morning so I'd be back to start my shift. But at least we had 48 hours to hang out with my dad and stepmom at their awesome lake house.

Friday was highlighted by parasailing over the Lake of the Ozarks. Boy and I had the most awesome time. It was an amazing experience, with a spectacular view and not at all scary or insecure - hell, the seats on the Sky Screamer at Six Flags sway more than that parasail harness did.

Jim did not fly. Jim is a giant chicken-man who stayed on the ground sipping beer with my folks. He still owes me for the hot-air balloon ride that didn't happen the day after we got engaged, and now he owes me parasailing too. Bawk bawk bawk, husband-o-mine.


The next day was a ride on their boat, which they still haven't named, and if they don't come up with a name soon, I'm going to dub it Titanic. We all know what happens then. Anyone with good suggestions for a boat name? Don't worry that you don't know my folks; they had their chance to name their own boat. *snerk*

Jim... sat on the floor of the boat again. But this time he sat up front instead of braced at the back. Progress. He managed about three minutes actually sitting up in the seat. Okay, my dad does drive the lake with a lead foot. But that's the fun of it!

JIM: Being a wuss has kept me alive a long time.
ME: Nah, it just seems like a long time.

Work in progress.

Before the boat ride, we had breakfast at Stewart's, this little restaurant right by the dam. Yummy, but fair warning: portions are huge. We could not finish our food and ended up bringing leftovers back with us. This is what their cinnamon rolls look like.

This is not forced perspective. The roll is almost as big as Jim's head.

In between, we lounged around the house, chatted for hours, caught up with the folks, decided against the hot tub due to the 100-degree temps and 400-percent humidity, and Jim taught Dad a few things about smoking ribs for barbecue. Yum.

And Dad gave me a present. Seems he no longer needs his Nikon D80 camera body, so I HAVE A DSLR. Squee! I'm ridiculously excited about my new toy. I can't play with it yet as it doesn't have any lenses, and I don't have the slightest idea what to do with it yet, so I have a lot of learning to do.

But so far all the photography I've done has been accomplished with a Canon PowerShot point-and-shoot, or occasionally with the iPad. For a long time I have wanted to step up my photography to the next level, but I always fell into this catch-22: All the DSLR photography classes require you to have a camera already, but I didn't want to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on equipment and then find out I bought the wrong thing or spent too much. There are surprisingly few resources for true beginners in the DSLR world.

Now I have the Nikon, and Dad advised me a starter lens to get. I'm going to run a special this week in the art shop in the hopes of raising funds for the lens and the basic class, so feel free to drop by. This is not the cheapest endeavor, and I've told Jim that I am leery of spending too much more than we make off it. It won't really be practical for newspaper work, either; I will probably keep using the iPad for that, as it is very simple to do photo and video with it and switch back and forth. The D80 does not do video, so it'll be solely for the art photography. I can't wait to play with it.

I'm quite excited. And tired. I woke up this morning at the Lake of the Ozarks, was back in the metro-east for work by 11 a.m., and then worked a full shift before grocery shopping to feed the Thing, who is now returned to the homestead, and then the 10 p.m. Shuffle to give Jim the car so he could get home from work. Sometimes I need to be twins...

But we brought back a cinnamon roll from Stewart's. That'll be breakfast on Monday. For all three of us.