I'm really not sure of. So I'll just give a brief overview of our last few days and try to get my goals up here tomorrow for you all.
Friday night we were, quite admittedly, old fogies and went to bed before midnight. We knew that Lane would probably wake up early, and Shannon had to go to the airport pretty early to pick up our friends. So we went to bed early and on Saturday morning I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes for my birthday breakfast. I got things organized a bit for our company, and when they showed up we just spent most of the early part of the day chatting and catching up. Their daughter is a teacher at an international school in Ankara and they were coming to spend Christmas break with her. When we found out they were coming to Turkey we, of course, offered up our place for them to stay at if/when they came to Istanbul. Saturday evening we all went to church and had Black Eyed Pea Stew for dinner. I'd forgotten how good that stuff is...I'll definitely be making it again, and soon! Sunday we all went out touring, which is for another blog post, because I'll have to resize my photos and I don't have time to do it tonight (you can thank me for not being one of those people who uploads 5MB photos to their blog, causing my readers' computers to take forever to load them--aren't I a considerate blogger? :-)). But, in actuality, the Hagia Sophia really does deserve its own blog post anyways.
In front of the Hagia Sophia. Lane's snoozing. And wearing tights, pants, 2 shirts, a jacket, mittens, and 2 hats.
Anyhow, our friends brought us a few goodies from the States, Haba Fantasy Blocks
for Lane's birthday (these blocks are gorgeous and fantastic quality...I love them), a new book for Shannon, peanut butter (oh. my. yum. at the first taste of real peanut butter in 6 months), and my favorite, our new camera. Our other camera does still work: my mom got it for us the summer before we got married, so it's lasted 3 1/2 years so far. It's a Casio Elixim, a typical point-and-shoot, and it's been perfect for us. But one of the little clips that holds the battery cover closed has broken off, so the battery doesn't stay put very well anymore and I just knew it'd break completely at a totally inopportune time. So it was time for an upgrade.
I've been chomping at the bit to get a DSLR camera. I took a photography class in high school and loved it, so I'm really interested in learning all the intricacies of photography again (let's face it, I'm an oldie now and that class in high school was a good 15 years ago). However, a really expensive camera just wasn't really in the budget right now. So I began looking for something else. And this is what I found:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35
I think it's going to be a good bridge camera...not as expensive or complicated as a DSLR, but with a lot of the same features. I think I can (re)learn some about apertures and shutter speeds on this camera. It has an awesome zoom and takes awesome video. It weighs less than a pound (DSLRs weigh a ton). And we got a killer deal on it. This camera does have a newer version out, but the price difference and the 4.5-star rating by hundreds of people (as opposed to only 30ish reviews for the newer version) were enough to eventually convince me to get the older version. We got the camera, a bag, a spare battery, and a 16-gig memory card for less than the newer version would have cost. So far it's been great. It actually worked out really well that we hadn't been inside the Hagia Sophia before, because I'm sure that I got much better photos than I would have with the Exilim.
This photo never would have happened with our point-and-shoot. I didn't use a flash and it was pretty dark. The lines are as clear as day. Love it.
Now the only bummer is that I really don't have time to play with it, at least not for a couple of weeks. We're moving this weekend. Then we're taking another 2-day vacation the following weekend. And then Shannon will be out of town on business for a week. So...maybe in a couple of weeks I'll have time to pull up the owner's manual and figure out how to start messing with the settings. Until then I'll have to settle for pics taken on intelligent auto...
Bracelets for sale in the Spice Bazaar.
***There's still about 28 hours to enter my giveaway, don't forget to enter! I'd really like to see it have more than 25 entries!***