I’m antsy in a way I haven’t been since I believed in Santa Claus. This year for my birthday my family members pooled their money to allow me to purchase my first ever big-girl camera. Well, the first I’ve owned since the ancient Minolta I perma-borrowed from my parents when I was on my high school newspaper staff, then handed over to my brother when I graduated and no longer had daily darkroom access.

I ordered my new toy over a week ago, and it’s still in transit, which means that I’ve been checking shipping information every three hours, just in case the package mysteriously traveled from Secaucus, NJ to my corner of the southwestern U.S. in less time than it would take for me to watch Anne of Green Gables for the seventy-eighth time. (<– An estimation. Probably a low one.) I’m actually squirming with impatience.

Too bad, since according to UPS, which is now employing an especially slow breed of Peruvian snail to deliver all its packages, my camera should arrive Monday evening. That’s a whole weekend and several full week days from now. The good news is that the filters I ordered to go with it have already arrived, so I can fondle them and dream of pictures to come whenever I’m tempted to check the tracking information yet again.

Out of the two filters I ordered, the one below is my preference, not because of its spectacular performance — it’s still sealed in its case — but because of the packaging. And what, ladies and gentlemen, do you think this amazing filter might do? Go ahead. Take a guess.

Yes, that’s right! This special filter adds a hat!

Oh, wait. No it doesn’t. It has something to do with UV rays. Um. Yeah. That’s right. Too bad, since that blue hat is pretty snazzy, I must say.

As much as that amuses me (and, oh, does it ever) I have plans to do more than gaze adoringly at my filters and check the UPS website for the quadrillionth time. My mother has informed my father (who also has a June birthday) and me that we are to be spirited away to a mysterious location tomorrow evening. I’ve been given strict instructions on when to show up and what to wear, but no other clues as to the occasion. I’m up for about anything as long as it’s not skydiving; I draw the line when a flimsy piece of fabric is all that stands between me and the pull of gravity from a great distance. With most mothers this would not be a concern, but this is the woman who took me hot air ballooning for one birthday and requested a canyoneering trip, complete with two rappels over 100 feet each, for Mother’s Day a few years ago. Nothing is beyond her, which I admit is kind of fun.

My other big plan for the weekend involves skidding into Monday morning’s SoCNoC deadline with an unimpressive number of words written for the month. So far I’ve managed just over half of the 50,000 required, so unless I develop an unprecedented amount of discipline and creativity and an unhealthy reliance on caffeine, I’m not going to make the official word count. Which is fine, since I’d rather take my time now than untangle a hurried manuscript later. Anyway, I did warn everyone that I’m writing at my own pace, even if said pace currently feels slower than the slothful snails who’ve been holding my brand new Nikon hostage.