birthday weekend...

Here sits a 'quarter-centurian' back to report on a lovely birthday weekend at the lake...
25. I've been sitting on the twenty-something couch long enough to leave a butt print... but not quite ready to get up. Happily situated in my mid-twenties now. Someone I work with said that 26 was the age when she no longer felt old. I was quite perplexed by this, until I started to understand where she was coming from... At least in my profession, the early-twenties is a time of hard work & discipline, and a quite a few sacrifices... a handful of boring weekends and weeknights buried in the books. so, now, I've arrived at my 'destination' if you will. Although I will continue to grow in my field, it all comes at different pace - the pendulum of work-play being shifted to more of my control...spending my spare time exploring people and interests, rather than memorizing the cranial nerves. ...sooo....drag that pendulum way over on the fun side, and let's hit the hot springs...

Our first evening on the lake. Just before a delicious meal and a rousing effort from the Yugoslavian, German, & Jamaican water-basketball teams.

our view from the lakehouse.

Who me?

I probably took 10 pictures, with Emma looking curiously at the camera every time...

The happy family.

Brithday mornin' just cruising around Lake Hamilton in the boat.

I don't think any of the pictures capture how beautiful this place was. The Ozark Mountains don't really get too much attention do they? Quite a refreshing landscape.Trae & Logan spotted this rocketship and had to have it, just another toy to add to the 'drag-me-behind-the-boat-try-not-to-get-hurt' collection. 2 people in the rocketship = scary. Dad said we flew up nearly 6 feet once he picked up speed. It's probably the wings? Bouncing around in this and the ski boat + riding our bikes = a dangerous combination for some sore bodies. Something quite hilarious about seeing a grown man in a kid's rocketship.
Showing off her midriff. Look out, Da-da.

They cooked a delicious birthday dinner & suprised me with a yummy chocolate fudge cake! Presents-time! uh-mazing.
J'adorable.Hey, wait just a minute... Ahh, cover your eyes Aunt Jae, he's coming after us with that big flashy thing again. ...Oh hey, I think I know that guy! Peg-Leg Pete gearing up for some mini-golf.
Money shot. Cheeseburger pose. woo, spring break!
High 'stakes' wagering on this golf game. Too bad we tied. :/ my boys.
...drink up me hearties yo ho.

One car headed back East the next morning, but Aaron & I decided to stick around and check out the springs. Have you heard of the famous bathhouses that line the streets in this city? I was not familiar with this historic practice. Until the advent of modern medicine in the late 1940's, visitors from around the world flocked to the natural hot springs to bathe in its healing thermal waters. Historic 'Bathhouse row' was built atop the tunnel of mineral springs to provide a luxurious setting for therapeutic and relaxing baths. And all this time, I thought the 'hot spring' was just a warm muddy hole. There are still bathhouses in operation today. This, obviously, not being one of them. They had one of the largest ones that had been preserved open to tour. To me, I'm far too modest and possibly too germaphobe to ever consider this. There were photos of people scrubbing each other, wrapping each other in warm towels...can't imagine why community bathing is no longer as popular.
But, you can see how fancy? Marble benches, elaborate statues, stained glass ceilings.

We spent the afternoon walking around the historic downtown and then rode up to the top of the mountains in the National Park. always living on the edge...

the more time we spend in the great outdoors, the more Aaron & I are starting question our city-folk status.

well, the birthday just keeps on going... they surprised me at work on Tuesday with some birthday goodies! We still have a dinner to celebrate with the Chaloner's coming up, and Aaron & his parents gave me the new Olympus 1010! I had been wanting a smaller point-and-shoot camera that I could take where my SLR couldn't really go. & it is awesome. I'd say I'm all set, photography-wise. It has so many new modes [the crazier ones being things like behind glass, documents, fireworks, underwater] I'm not sure what sensor-shift image stabilization or face detection software is, but it sounds like something I'd need working for the CIA.

...Thanks to all for a memorable 25th!