Dum Spiro Spero

22 Jun

Last weekend I took a trip to see my mom in Columbia, S.C. as a belated Mother’s Day “gift”.  Since my father-in-law’s heart problems started up last November, Chuck and I haven’t been able to travel more than four hours away from DC, so we haven’t been down to see my mom since last summer.  Although Chuck and I hate to be apart, we decided it was best to use our frequent flier miles before they expire this Fall.

I didn’t take Chuck, but I did take his little tiny camera (His is the Olympus: our waterproof, shockproof, portable digital point and shoot – mine is the Nikon SLR which helps me take nicer pictures but isn’t as travel-friendly).  So, although the photos aren’t mind blowing, what’s cool about Chuck’s camera is that it has a video feature.   Since my sister and her kiddies weren’t there, I took some videos of fun stuff while we were at the zoo.  This post is mostly so Betsy can show her kids the cool animals we saw –  just a disclaimer for those of you hoping for my usual crafty stuff.


On Saturday, mom and I drove over to Charleston.  It’s a cool little historic town near the water with cute boutiques, museums, and markets.  There was a craft market the day we visited and we spent some time looking over the beautiful handmade works by local artisans (my mom and I marveled at some hand-woven “mobius strip” style shawls which ran about $85, but were absolutely gorgeous!  Kinda hard to think of wearing a woven shawl, though, when walking around in the humid 90+ degree weather).

After wandering around the market and exploring some of the boutiques, we ate some fresh seafood at a little BBQ joint while taking a reprieve from the heat. Walking back to our car, we took the scenic route and enjoyed the architectural features of of the town.

Andrew Pinckney Inn

P6130002 copy

(do you like these photos?  Go here to download the actions I used in PS)

Charleston is chock full of churches…there was one on every street…


P6130022 copy

P6130025 copy

(These photos were a little dull, so, again, I played around with some of the Photoshop Actions I’ve downloaded…I obviously need more experience with PS…)

Something I found really interesting in Charleston were all the porches with entry doors (I think technically these types of porches are called “piazzas” because they are to the side of the house, but my architectural terms are a little fuzzy, so I’m not totally sure). The houses are tall, narrow, and deep and the porch runs along the side – they have a real door at the end, which opens up to the street.  I imagine that the door is there because in the South, porches are an extension of the living space, so you “enter” the house from the street level and find yourself on the porch…then you go through yet another door to enter the inner rooms of the house.  From what I’ve read, these kinds of porches are unique to the south, specifically to Charleston, S.C.

P6130011 P6130012

P6130019 P6130016


Charleston was very cool…it was a nice, relaxing way to spend our Saturday and I really enjoyed getting a little taste of the Southern hospitality and charm of South Carolina.


On Sunday, mom and I trekked over to the Riverbanks Zoo, in Columbia. I’m always so undecided regarding my true feelings on zoos’ exhibition of animals.  I always wonder are the animals better off in their natural environment, where they have plenty of freedom to live as nature intended but might be subject to poaching, predators, and endangered habitats and food sources as a result of human development…or are they better off “protected” in an urban setting, living their lives in a fabricated enclosure, in climates unnatural to them, with intense human interaction?  Which is worse?

Anyway… We spent a couple hours visiting with the animals and enjoyed a cup of Dippin’ Dots before heading home.  At every exhibit, we found ourselves wishing we could share the animals with my niece and nephews, so I took copious pictures and videos, but only a few of them actually turned out decent.  Here is a small taste of what we saw:

Teehee…not the best photo, but if you look closely, you’ll see this three-toed sloth is sleeping upside down with his tongue hanging out.


We spent a long time watching the Grizzlies…


They were just hangin’ out…


and swimmin’…


and grinning at the camera…

Here, you can see  this fella having a snack:

We enjoyed the African elephants…they were covered in red clay and dirt, so they kinda blended into their habitat…


…then I got up close and personal with some giant tortoises (or are these turtles?)  These guys were about two feet long…really big dudes.



we watched some kids feeding the giraffes…


P6140073 copy

We caught these two fellas hanging out…

P6140075 copy

And of course, the lions…


(They didn’t do much to entertain us, but they were beautiful, nonetheless)


Unfortunately, the week before we visited the zoo, one of the Gorillas escaped his enclosure…So, when we went the Gorillas were not in their outdoor habitat (it was being inspected for more weak spots and the gardeners were trimming back the bamboo shoots).  We did catch one old fella in the indoor enclosure, but it was so sad…he just sat at the window, looking out. It was heartbreaking to see his face…he seemed so despondent.  The information provided at the “Gorilla Base Camp” said there were three male Gorillas in the exhibit and noted that this guy was known to stick out his bottom lip to try to imitate one of the older, larger gorillas (so he’s not just pouting in this video, that’s apparently his preferred countenance).  When you look at his eyes, he looks so human…and sad (I think).

We watched the  Siamang apes playing for a while (they seemed much happier than the Gorilla)…

And then we enjoyed watching the penguins swim about (This video is pretty short…I was trying to catch the little buggers as they swam by, but they zipped by so quickly, I kept missing them!)

As we headed back to the parking lot, we passed by the flamingos…


Although I missed Chuck and our pups, I really enjoyed my time with my moma – we ate ridiculous amounts of good food and got to see some pretty interesting sights while I was there…the flight was short and surprisingly pleasant. (oh! and I bought “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” to read on the plane. I’ll tell you how that is when I finish it…so far I’m liking it a lot!).  All in all, a very wonderful weekend!



One Response to “Dum Spiro Spero”

  1. Moma June 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    Finally! Some great pictures, I can’t wait to hear Adam tell me about seeing these. Memories preserved, it was a great weekend!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: