retropost. haven't done that in a while...

still locked in the raging debate over whether or not to replace my camera. in case you're new to the debate, the issue is that the camera works, but the screen doesn't... so i can't use any settings or preview shots or take candids - and as a result take literally about a fifth as many photos as i used to.

are you ready? there are going to be photos again, lots and lots of pictures in this post...

thankfully, i still take a few.
so what's been going on lately.

i don't even remember when memorial day was. i just remember getting sunburned and pacing the balcony in the middle of the night talking to adam or owen. but now i'm really curious so hold on a second while i look this up... it was the last weekend in may. four weeks ago. that feels impossible, seriously. seriously? four weeks.

in case you can't tell, i'm still struggling with how embarrassingly and candidly weird i've been feeling lately. between new job and surgery i've lost a lot of control over my life but last weekend i turned a corner and saw some people, and had some fun, and got back to basics. AND there's some good news on the horizon that i'll get to in a bit.

so memorial day. we went to Marco Island, Florida for some fun in the sun on mom's birthday :) and i got outrageously burned. i think i described my shoulders to adam as holy-tomatoes-batman-american-flag red.

Marco Island is, shall we say, built for vacations. nothing much to do but go to the beach
jenna and mom in marco island

and go to dinner in Naples (anne and mom the Birthday Girl here)
anne and mom

mom got me a gift earlier this year - a traveling gnome like the travelocity gnome, to take with me from now on as i go back to central and south america... so his first appearance was after dinner
dessert in naples FL

and again at Quinn's, the best burger joint on the island
quinn's, marco island

not much else to say about florida other than it was a solid family trip. we just hung out and chatted for four days - accomplished the nearly impossible and had all five of us together without distraction.

[insert four weeks here]

so last weekend. unexpected fun, jenna's boyfriend came across two jack johnson tickets at alpine valley that he couldn't use, so they went to a very thankful jenna and i.

in case you're not familiar with Alpine Valley, let me tell you - it's awesome. it's 90 minutes northwest of chicago, easy to find, easy to park, easy to grab a spot for two on the hill
from the hill

and since jenna and i were up on the hill we couldn't see in too much detail, but i found this gem on flickr:
jack

the show was stellar, jack johnson sounds as crisp and melodic as he does in studio. he seemed to be in a great mood too, excited about the crowd and telling stories between songs :) the set was a little short, only an hour, but the night was beautiful and the drive back was easy. we got home around 12:30.

on sunday a few people got together for cassie's birthday and had a picnic at brookfield zoo. sister hazel was playing a free show, which was awesome because
1. i forget how much i like them
2. i know how much cassie LOVES them
3. they put on a great show

now i honestly can't remember the last time i was at brookfield zoo, that place is MASSIVE. and beautiful. and REALLY family friendly... tons of babies... we found a lovely picnic bench by a playground and set up shop, everyone brought their assigned food (i brought a great fruit salad - raspberries / blackberries / strawberries / red grapes with a splash of honey) but quinton brought Sweet Mandy B cupcakes, which rightfully stole the show (pictured here with joe)
joe & cupcakes

there were seven of us in the party, and seven backpacks, so we took turns wandering the zoo... i just want to point out that they have a sting ray pool, and i got to pet sting rays!!!!!!!! they were SO AWESOME, they felt like little slimy kittens as they kept gliding up to coast against our outstreched hands. i officially want to be a veteranarian again.

and then... it hailed. twice, before and during the show.
HAILED, people. look at that sky.
sister hazel

the crowd was undaunted
crowd @ brookfield

within fifteen minutes of the second round of hail, it all cleared up and i got a very nice picture of tyler
tyler

and thankfully it held off until much later
rainy day

and now... it's 12:30 on a monday night, and i need to go back to work in a few hours.

i'll be back to the blog soon though.......... i mentioned that other fun news that i'm too tired to go into now, but i'll post about it tomorrow. can you tell i'm glad to be back on wordpress?