Wednesday, February 28, 2007

belated political post

I meant to blog about this a while back, but I can't express how happy I am that a couple of Georgia state reps are pushing back on the red-light camera craze. Typically, red-light camera's don't end up being about public safety, but about revenue and are ripe for abuse. See this instance in Texas (one of several stories I've seen), as posted by the Agitator.

Also, an editorial by new libertarian (?) Bob Barr on the proposed legistlation.

Monday, February 26, 2007

So, what's going on...

So much. I spent the week before last editing Belize pictures for our post-trip picture swap dinner. Then I spent all last weekend, last week, and this past weekend studying for a class final. The studying apparently paid off, and with 4 gimme points, I passed and managed to bring my average up from my midterm grade. The next class starts on Monday, but at least I have a week to not think about that stuff.

I guess that means I need to clean the house, which hasn't been done in two weeks because of working until about 7pm every night, then coming home to either study or do more work of some sort. It's a wreck, and my lovely system is out the window.

And now I've got some bug that makes it feel like someone's standing on my chest, very difficult to breath, and not fun at all. And poor Dave has thrown his back out somehow and can barely move. We're a pitiful pair right now.

And the big news is that we had a passing in the family on Saturday. Because of studying and class, I haven't been able to call a few people, so I'm very sorry for that. WaB, I should have called you, but just haven't had a chance. Anyway, my Aunt Lou died on Saturday - peacefully, in her sleep. She is really my great aunt, and she's been in homes (assisted care, then nursing) for the last few years. The last three or so were spent in a true nursing home because of her advanced Alzheimers.

So, while we are relieved that she has gone on to a better place (Look out, Uncle Frank!), I can't say it was expected. Outside of the Alzheimers, she was physically very healthy. We actually had reason to believe that she would go on for years. So, it was a shock, and even though I know it's for the best all around, it still makes me very sad.

Aunt Lou was an amazing woman with a spirit many people never have. A quick Radcliffe temper, but so loving, creative, and fun. She never had children of her own, but with 10 brothers and sisters, there were plenty of nieces and nephews to care for. And my mom and her sisters spent many great times with Aunt Lou and Uncle Frank. And then there were the great nieces and nephews, too. I loved spending time in Thomaston.

When I think of Aunt Lou, I think of many wonderful weeks and weekends. And so many other things: hammocks made out of sheets hanging from the huge trees in her front yard just for my visits, walking the railroad tracks, sleeping in the king bed between her and Uncle Frank, playing solitare, flowers, her neighbor Hazel, fried pies, fishing, eating catfish, digging up earthworms, pouring salt on slugs, swinging in the backyard, climbing the magnolia tree, walking around the block, walking to the convenience store for candy, walking to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard, pool room hamburgers, pot roast, movies at the Ritz (particularly Six Pack with Kenny Rogers), driving her red Chevette around the block to the churches and back when I was way too young to be driving, hanging out in the attic, the ice crushing "machine" she had, those ice cold bottled cokes, the Braves (where she worked for Hank Aaron), her typewriter and the way she'd type out letters and recipes. There's so much more.

With the Alzheimers, she obviously hadn't been herself in years. But there were glimpses, even recently. Last time I saw her, she was very chatty, and though most of it was gibberish, she let out a couple of "shit"s and some of her glares and exasperated tones, and those knowing grins.

I will miss her so much. I've missed her for years, but now it's real.

And I also have to give so much credit to my mom during all of this. Because Aunt Lou didn't have kids, my mom really stepped up when Uncle Frank died in 1992. She took amazing care of Aunt Lou, in spite of horrible treatment by some members of the family and often by Aunt Lou herself, who really didn't understand what was happening at the time. I hope that if the time ever comes for me to do something so generous, I can be half the woman my mom has been through the last 15 years.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who I'll be voting for in the primaries next year

Based on Radley Balko's recent Fox column, it will be Congressman Ron Paul.

Now, I'll admit that there's a long time before the primaries, and I could very well change my mind. But right now, this is the guy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday blogging

Well, I have the computer out because I need to be doing some work. I can't get my VPN to launch, though, so I can't get to any of my files. This actually kind of stinks because I have a presentation in Minneapolis on Tuesday, meetings all day tomorrow, then class from 6-9pm, and my flight is at 7:50am to MSP. That makes it kind of hard to prepare the presentation, which is what I intended to do tonight. I'm sure I'll find a way.

As for blogging itself, it's looking like next time I log in, I'll have to update to new blogger. Based one what I've heard from the circle, I'm not real thrilled about this. Another, oh well.

This weekend was pretty full, but not too eventful. I would have liked to have gotten more done.

Well, it's off to the great white north on Tuesday and Wednesday. At least they've had a warm front come in and it will be highs around 14 on Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday. That may sound awful, but it's a smidge better than last week's weather which was a high of 1. Seriously. Plus, if I don't want to, I don't ever have to go outside. I can take the habitrails everywhere. But I think I'll at least stick my head outside one night to see what -6 feels like.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dinner with the girls

Every once in a while some college friends get together and have dinner. WaB and I are two of those girls. Tonight it was supposed to be five, but it turned out only to be three because two got stuck at work. We had fun conversation and interesting people-watching, and then WaB and I went to Super Target to get a purse for her sister. All-in-all a nice night. But my favorite line of the evening ...

"I've been reading your blog lately, and you sure are filled with the Spirit."

All I could think to say was, "Yes I am."

Oh well. I am, and when it comes right down to it, I'm really not sure yet how to talk about it. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to push anything on them, but yes, I'm happy about where I am and about some realizations that I've had over the last seven years, leading to my being "filled with the Spirit." So there it is.

If you want to talk about it, then go ahead and ask, just understand that it may be a bit awkward at first. If you don't care or don't want to know, don't worry, I won't be asking any of you about your relationship with God unless you bring it up first.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Quick movie reviews

The last two movies we've seen are The Illusionist on DVD and Pan's Labyrinth in the theater.

We saw The Illusionist last week, and I was pretty exicted about it. We weren't excited enough about this movie to see it in the theater, but I do love Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. And Dave loves Jessica Biel for entirely different reasons.
So, anyway, to the movie. A friend of mine with whom I usually agree had given this a so-so review. So I wasn't expecting much. Maybe that was a good thing. We really did enjoy this movie. The lighting was beautiful. It was like the entire movie was lit with candles. The acting was great. I don't specifically remember Jessica Biel turning in an amazing performance, but she also didn't seem outclassed by Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, either, the way Katie Holmes did (against Christian Bale and Michael Caine) in Batman Begins.
And the story was a pretty cool one. Not a ringing endorsement, but we did enjoy it, and would recommend it as a rental.

Now, onto Pan's Labyrinth, which was just dark and cool. This is definitely NOT a kid's movie. It's also not a movie for What's a Blog. You want to talk about having nightmares. Some of these images will stick in your head for ages. Especially this guy (WaB, you really may not want to click on that link - fair warning). The movie progressed very slowly, but we enjoyed that about it. It goes btween the two worlds, building up the story about why this girl would want to escape. It doesn't take us long to understand, but they really do drive the point home. The bad guy is just horribly bad. This movie is dark and violent, in both supernatural and earthly ways. I'm amazed by people who have these kinds of things in their heads, and can translate them for the rest of us.

Ah, the concert

Last Saturday, Dave, Mom, and I went to see an awesome show at the Tabernacle. First of all, I love seeing shows at the Tabernacle. Pretty much anywhere in the house, you feel close to the show, not like you're watching a concert on TV.

Back in the late eigthies or early nineties, four singer-songwriters decided to get together a play some concerts - just the four of them and their guitars. It turned out to be a bit of a hit, and they all had so much fun that they do it again every few years. The four guys are: Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, John Hiatt, and Joe Ely. I think everyone who's read this blog for a while or knows me, knows my love for Lyle. This is the fourth time I've seen him live. The other three times were with his "big band," though, so this was a new experience. I also have a couple Guy Clark CDs and have seen him at the 40 Watt in Athens. I hadn't seen John Hiatt or Joe Ely live before this. I've known for several years that John Hiatt is a legend in the songwriter world, but back in college when I heard some of his music, I couldn't really get into it. And I've heard of Joe Ely and seen a video for the band he was in, The Flatlanders, on CMT's Wide Open Country.
So, to the concert...
There was no opening act, and they got started only about 10 minutes after the listed showtime. It wasn't what I expected, though. I thought they'd do something similar to what Paul Simon and Bob Dylan did a few years back, which was each come out to do a couple of their own songs, then they'd all do a few songs together. Nope, it was so much more fun than that. This was Bluebird Cafe on steroids.
The four guys walked out and sat down across the front of the stage. They began from stage left to right: Clark, Ely, Hiatt, Lovett. Each sang a song, then moved on to the next one, in order round and round for two hours. Between songs, they would tell stories about the songs (Joe Ely, "I've written two songs with the word 'chihuahuah' in them. This is the second one."), or about past tours, or about each other. Lyle was the deadpan comic relief, asking John Hiatt "deep" questions about the themes and meanings of his songs. Lyle commented on the "elemental" nature of many of John Hiatt's songs with references to the earth, sky, etc. One in particular, though, is called Icy Blue Heart. Again with the elemental theme, Lyle asks about what image Hiatt had while he was writing that song. Of course, Hiatt comes back with something to the effect of "well, actually, I pictured a heart in a freezer" about as matter-of-fact as you can get.
The best thing about the show, besides the music of course, is that it really felt like we were spying on these guys sitting in a living room late one Saturday night, singing for each other and showing off their work.
It was pretty cool, too, because I wasn't sure my mom would really enjoy it. But she did. And we ran into one of my cousins and her husband at the show, too.

So now I need to go out and get some more Guy Clark and a few John Hiatt CDs - maybe even some Joe Ely, too.

Let's see ... what is there to talk about

I believe I owe you guys a few posts. I promised to talk about my geeky mission/vision/values. I promised to talk about other stuff, too, but I can't remember what, so I'll start with the MVV.

As a small recap, last year was amazing, but really felt like complete chaos. Because of that, and because of decisions that are looming, I felt like the best way to help me stay focused was to really sit down and think about where I am, want to be, and what "things" in life are most meaningful to me.

Some of this may come as a surprise (at least the language) to some of you, but my politics haven't changed. None of this reflects how I expect others to lead their own lives, only how I need to focus on my own life.

I strive to live a life of meaningful relationships with Christ, Alone at Sea, my family, and friends. I will be a positive force in the lives of those around me. I will embrace those things that inspire and fulfill my life, and I will eliminate distractions.

I will live near the ocean where I can enjoy a peaceful and inpsired life as a loving wife and mother. I will be an active member of my church and community.

Christ-centered life
Fulfilling relationships
Good health through enjoyable exercise
A meaningful career with personal impact on clients
Art: musical, visual, literary, and culinary
Adventure in travel and photography

They sound so formal, and corporate, but I really couldn't come up with a better way to word them. So, anyway, for those of you who care, there they are.

So much to blog ...

I know I really haven't blogged much lately, even though so much has been going on. Well, chalk it up to laziness - a special kind of laziness. Since the hard drive on our laptop fried last summer (and we had it replaced), we haven't been able to get the wireless to work. This means that in order to blog, I must make a special trip downstairs to the desktop computer. When I'm on that computer, I'm usually working, so by the time I'm done with that, I really don't feel like blogging. Well, as it turns out, it wasn't the laptop at all, but the desktop computer that over the last few years we've filled up with programs and data - 35 gB of music and more than 200gB of pictures. That poor computer has been chugging along with patches and restarts for the last three months until yesterday, when we were able to go get a screaming fast new computer. And Dave got the wireless working. So, hopefully, this means I'll blog more. I know I'll blog a few today.