June 30, 2011


I'm in love this this app. Of course, i'm not very good at using it...but it's getting better. Somehow I keep changing the lens or film or flash without knowing it. But when i actually want to change them...i can't figure it out.

So here are some sweet hipsta pics from the Car Show...and Sunday Night at the Duck Pond. Enjoy.

 See I had no clue it switched to this new style.

 And then it switched to a new one. So confused. This is my dream car by the way. 69 Chevelle. Yum.

 Dad with his dream truck.
 And the Duck Pond with cute babies.

 Yum. Algae-pops.

June 28, 2011

The Tunnel of Love, Indubitably

Gold star if you knew that tv reference...

Moving on.

The tunnel. EEEEKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!

Kidding. It wasn't scary.

Okay fine, it was a little bit scary.

More claustrophobic than scary really. And really really really dark.

There was actually a couple that approached us at the entrance and asked if they could come with us through the tunnel. They didn't bring flashlights (duh people!) and they had tried to go through without light. They freaked out a little ways in and groped their way back out and found us. It is pitch black in there.

Here, I'll show you:

See what I mean?

Here's a little history, shocking, i know.

It was dug 700 years BC by King Hezekiah. He was preparing Jerusalem for the impending siege by the Assyrians and decided to bring the water inside the city walls. So they started digging from both ends. Up at the spring and down by the pool. , By some miracle, they ended up meeting in the middle, although you can see several places along that way where they made corrections in bearing.

You have to climb down quite a bit and can see the old building structure:

(Dixie heading into the abyss) 

It is quite narrow, but i don't blame them for not wanting to dig anymore.

At some places the ceiling is very high:

(sorry, really blew this pic out so you could see the ceiling)

And at others, very low:

Somewhere in the middle-ish (no clue where I was) archeologists found a stone plaque:

It is called the Shiloah Inscription and was written 2700 years ago! I find that very cool. It's written in Hebrew and tells how the tunnel was made. Pretty sweet engineering for 2700 ago.

Can you tell by our faces that we were happy to reach the end?

It was very hot and very humid and very...tunnely :-)

So when you come out at the bottom you dump into this:

Which they used to think was the Pool of Siloam.

But they later discovered the actual pool and figure this is just a little conduit area.

This is what the pool originally looked like:

This is it now:

You can still see the step leading down but most of the pool is covered by a mound of dirt.

So the water was safe and the city could hunker down and wait out invaders. Ingenious. And a very cool tunnel. And so great that you can walk through and experience something that old.

Ooh ooh! I almost forgot.

At the bottom where the tunnel comes out they recently discovered stone steps heading up the hill. They've started excavating and have found an ancient road/walkway and drainage canal heading back up to the Temple Mount. Well. The road it heading up...the canal is coming down :-)

Here is what they are guessing at:

It's not open to the public yet...but i didn't let that stop me!

Have I ever mentioned that I'm not super smart? It's true.

Roley said I could go take a peek...so I did...and in my world "peek" translates to hiking halfway up the hill in an archeological dig tunnel...that is not open to the public.

But it was so cool!!! Those steps were 2000+ years old!

This is the entrance, I wasn't supposed to go past that door up there.

This is way past the door...

It's still very narrow, they haven't gotten far. This really is a brand new dig.

I could faintly hear someone screaming my name and reluctantly turned back.

I really think that I could be very happy with a pick and a brush, digging in the dirt all day. Anyone want to hire me?

June 21, 2011

The day I almost died...before that last day I almost died.

This day was in Israel! Aren't you excited? I knew you would be.

This day we went to Bethany. Bethany is where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived and where the Tomb of Lazarus is.

Bethany is on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives and in Christ's time you would've walked out the Golden Gates on the east side of Jerusalem, up over the Mount of Olives and down into Bethany. Now however there is a wall cutting it off. Bethany is in the West Bank, Palestinian territory. Israel has built a massive barrier called the separation fence. It was started after the increase of suicide bombers during the second intifada. So, you now have to drive really far out of the way around to a security checkpoint where you enter the Palestinian territory. It was very interesting. And it is a serious wall. No one gets through.

Anywho. We made it through the checkpoint's full-cavity searches and made our way to the tomb.
I will remind you again that this is not the actual tomb of Lazarus, it's traditional and supposed to give you an idea of what it would've been like. Either way it was really old and I loved it.

You had to walk down a flight of VERY steep, old steps. The stones were worn smooth and had deep indents where thousands of feet have walked.
At the bottom of the stairs you can see a now blocked doorway into an ancient crusader church, which was of course, built on top of whatever Jewish building had been there prior.
To enter the actual tomb you had to scoot down into a hole in the ground turn around and back through a little "tunnel" into the tomb space.
The tunnel was only a few feet high so you pretty much crawl backwards. I was very concerned about everyone doing it correctly and not being hurt :-) I have issues. And obviously Mike is paying close attention . 

(oh there you can see the blocked entrance to the crusader church behind me.)
It was SO hot and stuffy in the tomb. I imagine the bodies disappeared pretty quickly.
I think you can actually see the water running off of me.
Did you know that they would lay out the body on the main slab of the tomb, let it rot away, and then go back, gather up the bones, put them in a vessel of some sort and put them into holes carved into the tomb walls. Then it would be ready for a new inhabitant. Cool eh? (you can see one of the holes to my right in the pic above)
So after losing 5lbs in water weight, I ventured topside to bake the sweat away. It was blistering that day. Right next to the tomb is a shop run by a funny old guy who weaves slings. David's sling to be exact. We tourists are suckers. Just saying. But he did show us how to use one. It was great. He could really get some distance.
Then...came the 'almost meet my Maker' part.
Enter. The camel.
Enter the camel. With a very pushy Arab who drug me to the camel and put me on it. Yes, he was strong.
The camel was actually really sweet. I scratched his head. From behind. No camel spit for me. Or getting bit. At another spot some dumb tourist walked right up to a camel and reached out to pet its nose. Its master reached out and grabbed her hand just before the camel bit her. Who does that?!?
So it turns out that riding a camel is nothing like riding a horse past the fact that they both have four legs.
Camels really lurch getting up and down and have a funny swaying gait. I'm sure you get used to it but egads.
Standing up is the worst. They stand up back legs first so you lean back as far as you can but still feel like you are going to face-plant. Once the back legs are straight they kind of jerk the front legs straight up and you feel like you are chucking backwards. They are also very vocal which can be disconcerting when you are used to the relatively quiet horse.
Can you see how much fun i'm having written all over my face?
Life flashing before my eyes here.

But it really was fun, and the Bethany trip turned out to be one of my favorites.

Any questions?

June 15, 2011

The Day I Almost Died

Nope, it wasn't in Israel... it was last Saturday.

It all went down like this:

I went outside to try and figure out why my sprinklers weren't coming on. Being the very sprinkler savvy person that I am...I looked in the sprinkler box in the back yard. I twisted some knobs and declared "What the beans?!? Everything is fine!".

Still no sprinklers.

I then found another sprinkler box in the front yard. It appeared rather magically. I could've sworn it wasn't there before. Just saying.

I took the lid off and set it to the side. I prepared to reach in the twist some knobs with precision and finesse.

Suddenly I caught a infinitesimal movement from the corner of my eye. I have amazing eyes, I could be a sniper. They call me eagle-eye-Kate.

I froze and looked to my left.

And saw....



I uttered some tame expletive along the lines of "Pleh!" and gracefully fell backwards onto my tush.

I then ran into the house to get my phone and the Raid. The phone to call the person I always call when i'm in trouble...and the Raid...well, duh.
The conversation with Caleb went something like this:

Me: "AHHHHHHHHH Caleb the hugest monster black widow ever just attacked me and I almost died!"

Caleb (sounding oh so concerned for my life): "You didnt kill it did you? Don't kill it. I'm on my way down."

Me: "Fine. I won't kill it. GET HERE!"

I then ran back into the house to get my camera... because...well, duh.

I tried to take some good pics but I was scared to get too close and my macro stinks. But i did have fun playing with some PW actions :-)

Look at how amazing her hourglass is!
70's Spider

I think my favorite is Heartland Spider.

So anyway Caleb showed up in about two seconds with a jar and leather gloves. He captured it for the office. They keep black widows as pets at their shop. They feed them and they get even bigger. Sick. They name them all Black Betty. Great song BTW.

Side note: The reason he showed up so fast is that I have black widow killing experience. Back in high school I was babysitting and we found a black widow on the wall in the garage. I decided that I should dispose of it so that it wouldn't kill one of my brothers. I would never live that down...

I looked around me at the various killing implements and decided on...the axe.

Turns out that I have never lived down hacking a huge whole in the garage wall trying to kill a spider.


Black Betty by Ram Jam for your viewing pleasure.