Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Scrooge Effect

"People don't change." I hear that all the time, even from brides and grooms who have just embarked on one of the biggest changes in their lives - marriage.

To that I say: "Bah! Humbug!" We all know from Dickens that people can change radically, overnight. It's known as the Scrooge Effect. (Young readers might know it as the Grinch Effect. Same difference, as they say.)

I know what you're thinking: "A Christmas Carol" is a story. It isn't true. Well, let me suggest that if it wasn't true, it wouldn't be a story that would connect with audiences deeply.

When people say: "People don't change," what they often mean is: "Don't expect me to change," or "Don't expect me to expect change from the people close to me," or "I've tried to help folks around me change, but the people close to me are pigheaded stubborn!"

The first two attitudes are cop-outs. The third is understandable, of course, because some people really do dig in their heels. But I'll bet that for every heel-digger there is someone who really can change.

Not everyone wants to change or ever will change. But many can, and some will.

Notice in the Scrooge story that the Ghosts use three things to change Ebeneezer: emotion (nostalgia), awareness (of the present), and revelation (one might stretch this and call it imagination -- for practical purposes, let's call it that.) It probably does take all three of those to create change in one's life.

For example, let's say I remember the day Marian and I were married. We didn't yet have any baggage as a married couple. I remember how beautiful she was and how much I loved her in that moment. I remember that feeling.

Now let's say, six years later, Marian is really upset at me about something I did. Maybe it's not unlike something I've done or said a hundred times. She can't expect me to change!

But I remember how much I loved her six years ago, and so I want to do something. I'm aware that she's upset, and I suspect she's venting to her friends on the phone. I realize that she's not so eager to make breakfast for me the next morning, and she seems not to be getting good sleep. She doesn't smile a lot. I can choose to pretend these things aren't happening. And I've certainly been guilty of this in the past. Maybe I can do it again!

But I begin to imagine how things might progress if I don't apologize, and the Ghost of Christmas Future shows me a very unhappy Marian -- and Eric. Is divorce out of the question for a couple that does not tend to one another's feelings? Do we think that divorce is something that strikes from the outside, like lightning? And even if divorce isn't in the cards, is an unhappy marriage a satisfying alternative?

It really does take all three of those to loosen my heels from the hard ground of my heart and say, "I'm sorry."

When you go to the doctor, do you tell him in advance, "Now, don't tell me anything is wrong with my body, and don't you dare prescribe any medicine, diet change, or treatment of any kind. Because I'm fine as is!"

Then why do we get mad at therapists who tell us we need to change our ways if we expect our relationship to get better?

And why do we dig in our heels when our spouse points out any character imperfection whatsoever?

One of the vows we make at marriage should be, "I invite you to help make me a better husband, a better parent, a better person."

Some would exploit an invitation like that. It takes honest effort on both parties for it to work well.

You used to be a fun-loving person. You used to be a happy person. But you changed.

If you can change in one direction, can't you change in the other?

Every day I see our daughter change. She has changed radically in the past few weeks, nevermind months. By the time she hits her 20s, it may be hard to see any change in her for years at a stretch.

But I'll hope she'll know she can.

Please post examples of people you know who have changed in small or radical ways, for good or bad.

"God bless us, Every One!"

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Blog-Solution Resolution

Part of the problem with most resolutions is that they are private affairs and no one holds you accountable. I probably need a life coach who will weigh me and whip me when I haven't lost the 20 pounds I say I'll shed. But I don't have the cash for that, even though it's probably a method that would work. (I really, really, hate to be whipped.)

So, I've decided on experiment: I'm hoping that those in the blogosphere who know me will supply the necessary encouragement and chiding to get me on track. Not with my weight, but with those more spiritual resolutions that we all try for. Ones like these:

1) I will be more kind, more encouraging, and listen better.
2) I will send ten thank-yous for every critical message I send.
3) If I think to say something that I think is lighthearted and funny but that might be taken the wrong way, I'll bite my tongue.

I could list more, but one of the problems with these things is getting carried away with good intentions. I'll do well to carry out even one of the three faithfully.

If you've noticed that I broke one of the above in 2006 in your presence, and it makes you feel better to point it out, I'll gladly hear you out and won't get defensive. And that goes for 2007 as well. You are welcome to post your comments as "anonymous," even if I know you well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of thank you notes to send.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"All I want for Christmas is my san-i-ty, my..."

Call me old fashioned, but I love those old Christmas albums my parents collected. Johnny Mathis, Spike Jones, and so on. Yes, we all know what we should know to be the real reason for the season, but there's something heavenly about Christmas kitsch, too. There is a cozy Christmas aesthetic that has been accumulated in our culture. Here are just a few holiday touchstones that come to mind, and you tell me if they don't ring a (Christmas) bell in your memory: Santa Coca-Cola glasses from Krystal; Rudolf, Heat Miser, and the odd way Frosty says, "Happy Birthday" whenever he comes to life in that cartoon; driving through otherwise uninteresting neighborhoods in the cold dark and checking out the lights; the cool feel of tinsel in your palms (because you just took it down from the attic) as you decorate the tree; the funky musty oldness of that 20-year-old cardboard box; the egg-shell ornaments your grandmother made during her "crafty" days; the color-coded (white, yellow, red, blue) painted metal ends of the plastic tree branches that you had to jam just so into the fake trunk; the Hickory Farms salami sausage you bought for your grandfather, which he shared with you; seeing a red light blinking on a jet and your parents confirming, yep, that's Rudolph alright; the plastic grips on your first bike's (a Rampar) handlebars that start to slip off after a few days; the way all the kids put their opened presents in a pile next to the hearth, and the fun of going through that pile again and again for a day or two; the feel and smell of new softback books you got for Christmas; the black, empty face of the Ghost of Christmas Future in the best "Christmas Carol" ever produced for film; putting together your first Star Wars puzzle with Han Solo and "Chewie" in the picture; helping out at the East Side (i.e. poor white side of town) Salvation Army putting toy-bundles together and groceries to give out to the families who show up there (yes, that's a cozy memory, too -- don't ask me why). I guess what I'm getting at is that being told over and over that we better be spiritual at Christmas ignores the fact that we are creatures of our senses, too, and have an affinity for sounds, tastes, touches, sights, and scents that are special and pleasing. Christmas appeals to the senses in so many ways, the closest to real magic we can ever get - save through romantic love. No wonder the Christmas story in the Bible is so appealing from start to finish. Depleting Christmas of Santa and presents and fine food (and fast-food Christmas glasses) might be like cutting out the part about the Three Wise Men and their exotic gifts; the donkey; the "Lo!" of the arch angel. We love those details of Christmas, too. I happen to think that God smiles at our delight of the so-called "trappings" of Christmas, because He gave us an awareness of beauty that is never so alive as at this time of year. Perhaps our senses (and our memories) are never more awake and aware than at Christmas. We're ready for a Scrooge-like conversion from our crazy, boring, insane adult lives. I'll take it. God bless us, every one!

Friday, December 15, 2006

canine cuddles (and struggles!)

I think Eric would concur that our biggest discipline problem with Stella is her physical, emotional, and verbal abuse of our dog. He has the patience of a saint, but any living thing can only take so much. She throws things at him constantly, runs full-speed towards him with her grocery cart/doll stroller/own body, yells very loudly when he comes near, and starts to cry when we are showing him attention.

OK, you may be laughing, but it's really not funny. I see now why people say to wait until all your children are older before introducing the family pet. I hate that Kope gets the shaft by being put outside for something he TOTALLY didn't do - but I can't risk a dog bite, no matter how much she egged him on.

After reading that, you'll see why this photo warms our hearts so much. Good night!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gingerbread Houses (well, sort of)

Hi Guys!

OK, I'm trying really hard not to be as lazy with my blog as I have been with journaling in the past. With so many other things to do throughout the day, it's hard to make this a priority. But I'm going to give it my best shot (just be forgiving until the holidays are over)!

The last few weeks have been busy around here. We're winding things up with the businesses for 2006 and are proud to have filmed 60 weddings for 2006! That's up from 28 in 2005 - so we more than doubled our numbers. We are so pumped. We hope to do 75 next year. Our other company, Stellar Media, hopes to expand even more next year - doing more property videos, and trying our hand at commercials and life stories.

We're headed to Alabama in a week to spend 6 days with the Larsons. It should be fun - lots of ridiculous eating and a younger cousin for Stella to play with too! We will stop in Chattanooga on the way down to meet a friend and take a trip to the Tennessee Aquarium there in downtown Chattanooga.

Speaking of Stella, she has really been a hoot lately. I think her current favorite thing to do is to push her babies in her doll stroller. We will bundle her up, take that thing outside, and push that cheap little pink stroller up these hills, through the puddles, over rocks, etc. It doesn't even phase her. And she even stops at various sights (stream, flower, etc.) to "show" her babies. I love it.

Tonight we went to a Gingerbread House-making party. Our friends Jeff and Laura went all out preparing for it - all the house pieces nicely organized, dozens of candies, etc., for decorating, and munchies and good drinks for those of us working so hard. Stella decided to eat most of hers, but she did create what one friend there named the "gingerbread playground." Take a look for yourself.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Out of the mouths of babes

This is just a quick post, but had to document what my precious two-year old daughter said today...

So we're walking at Lake Junaluska (a local lake near our home), and I'm just pushing an empty stroller because she wanted to run ahead, of course. So she stops, puts her arms out, looks up at the sky, and says,

"Wanna hug blue sky!"

I don't know if I've EVER heard words that I found to be cuter. Just wanted to share.

Hope you guys all had a wonderful holiday!

p.s. Her blue sky comment definitely erased some not so cute things she says in public sometimes, like,

"mommy's big butt"
"mommy's nose yucky"
"mommy's boobies" (why couldn't 'big' go with boobies and not butt?)
"daddy/mommy go pee-pee/poopie"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Thanksgiving I Can't Recall

I was 16 or just turned 17 - hard to know, because my birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving. I drove myself and my younger brother in our 1985 Dodge Omni to our old elementary school near our neighborhood in Florence, Alabama. This is where I had learned how to ride a bike in the school's huge parking lot. The school also had a huge (I mean huge!) field adjacent to an outdoor basketball court. Wade and I spread ourselves wide apart in this field and began to toss the Aerobie.

Anyone who has ever thrown one of these things knows how far they can go. At the time, the record for tossing an Aerobie was three football fields. No kidding! They are fun, too, because they have a nice rubbery grip to them and a hole in the center for easy catching. It was always a great feeling to run about 300 yards and catch one. It was the kind of reward a simple Frisbee just couldn't provide.

So we're tossing this thing and Wade really lets one go. It's headed over my head but I'm able to track it as I run backwards. I really don't think it's going to be a problem to catch.

Then, blackness.

Remember that basketball court I mentioned, the one adjacent to the huge field? I managed to run backwards full-tilt right into one of the large metal goalposts.

Wade, 12 or 13 at the time, ran my way and helped me sit up. He noticed (God bless him) that one of my contact lenses had popped out of my eye and was now resting on the back of my hand. He saved it for later. I am told that I drove us back home. "I kind of wondered if that was a good idea," he later admitted. Not only was I impaired, but I was driving one eye blind.

For the next hour my behavior was very erratic. I would laugh for a while and then cry, ask over and over again the same question ("Did I have my birthday already?") Everyone knew something was weird. It didn't take long before I was on my way to the local hospital, then placed in an ambulance and shuttled to Muscle Shoals for a CATScan.

The determination was that I'd had a concussion, but no dangerous swelling. It helps to be hard-headed. (At least that's what I keep telling my wife.) That evening I began to come to my senses a little.

So much for Thanksgiving dinner. That got postponed till the next day.

That holiday still remains the Thanksgiving I Can't Recall. I'm just thankful I survived.

Be thankful for memory - while you have it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Thoughts

When I was growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at one (or both) of my grandmother's houses. For the most part, the menus were basically the same: turkey, country ham, dressing (my family always used the word dressing, not stuffing - probably because we had it in a separate pan), green beans, candied yams, cranberry sauce, homemade cheese biscuits, mashed potatoes with gravy, collard greens with vinegar, and of course, pecan pie.

I just re-read that paragraph, and it sounds like I'm 80 years old reminiscing about the good old days. But given the fact that I LOVE food, it seems to fit just right.

Well, this year I'm cooking Thanksgiving for the first time. Our friend that we met in Peace Corps, Nerissa, is coming from Nashville with her new beau and her 3-year old son, Isaac. We've started the tradition of having Thanksgiving with friends, and so far I love it. So here's my menu, if anyone is interested:

homemade chex mix (eric's favorite)

roasted turkey breast
homemade mac and cheese
sweet potato and apple bake
green beans with lemon butter

pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream

We certainly have so much to be thankful for this year - a healthy family, a safe home, the beautiful mountains that we call home, and of course, all of you.

Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Get the Kleenex

Let me preface this by saying that I HATE FORWARDS, but for some reason I read this one. Glad I did.

Being a Mom

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that
she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family."

"We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should
have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable. I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire, will haunt her! That when she sees
pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make
sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child
molester may be lurking in that restroom.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to
accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. And that my daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much
more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste
the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.

"You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

I love you, Stells.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Household Woes

So we thought we were going to host a "caravan" of realtors tomorrow, which basically means that several real estate agents would be coming by our house. The idea is that all the agents in a particular office should be familiar with everyone's listings, so they can recommend them to their buyers.

Well, it was postponed until after Thanksgiving, which means our mad dash to get the house perfect has been put on hold. It kind of bums me out, not because I desperately wanted to be up until midnight with the shop-vac in our basement...but more that it would all be done. So now we're kind of forced to put off more cleaning/organizing because with a dog AND a two-year old, it's not like anything stays straight around here for long!

If this is the worst of our problems, then we really can't complain.

We're looking forward to Thanksgiving and to Eric's birthday on the 24th. Hopefully, a good friend of ours from Peace Corps may come from Nashville and join us.

Are you asleep yet? Nothing much else to say, so enjoy these photos of our everyday life that we love. Goodnight!
(disclaimer - I'm still not good at lining up the text with the photos. sorry!)

Our porch
Our best friends, Brittain and Pat
Our favorite hiking spot
Our Stella

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Someone's Gotta Win

I feel a weird kind of disinterest after the tidal wave of political turnover on Tuesday. Usually I feel SOMETHING after a seachange such as this. I did vote, after all. Got up early and everything. Felt good about myself. Looked at my fellow voters with the formation of tears in my eyes.

I think the cause of my ennui is what I'll call the "Brittany Principle." It goes something like this:

At any given time, there is a young, perky, somewhat sexy pop singer hitting it big on the charts, selling a gazillion records, taking the country by storm. That is because someone discovered in the early 1980s (perhaps it was with Tiffany, or Debbie Gibson, or maybe even sooner - Blondie?) that pop singing blondes really get a lot of good attention. I'm sure there are a lot of blonde ingenues vying for this position. But that doesn't mean any of them are talented. In any case, here's the principle: just because something floats to the top, doesn't mean it has a lot of value. (eg. Even scum floats.)

Someone's gotta be the "singing blonde" of the day. Someone's gotta be Congressman. Possibly, we'll be laughing at them in People in a few years. Perhaps I'm just cynical. But we just elected a former (very bad) NFL quarterback in our district. He flunked out while with the Washington Redskins. Way back, he was the most heavily recruited high school quarterback before he went to college. But someone has to be the most heavily recruited quarterback....

It's all relative. I hope, as a country, we begin doing a better job picking our leaders. This might be enough just to get me more involved on the local level. If we're going to throw the bums out, it would be nice if we didn't simply replace them with more bums.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A "Spookied Up" Wedding

When Ben and Tracy Phillips invited us to their Halloween party, our first thought was: "No way! That's our anniversary." Then we realized that a Phillips party would have everything we always looked for on our anniversary: good food, candlelight -- and martinis with floating eyeballs! So we threw together some costumes and joined about a dozen guys and ghouls for some good fun.

The Phillips really went all out. There was a ghost hanging from a noose on the front porch, with some dry-ice smoke and scary music. Inside there were plenty of candles and spider webs on everything. Ben had procured several pumpkins for a carving contest, and Tracy had found a way to make chocolate martinis scary. The scariest detail: family photo frames had been replaced with headless relatives, fanged portrait subjects, and so on. Freaky!

What Marian didn't realize is that a plan was hatching in my twisted little brain (which had been stolen from the grave of a criminal!). My bridge partner Scott Osondu had remarked to me that the best wedding he had ever attended was a Halloween wedding with everyone in costume. So I asked our hosts if it would be okay if a wedding took place in the middle of their party. Tracy was a total witch about it. Actually, she only looked like a witch. Her response was: "That's so romantic! Of course!"

I asked Marian to marry me again, to her, uh, horror. But she was on the spot so she said, "Okay." Tracy and a very Victorian Christine served as her bridesmaids while a male nun performed the service. It actually worked out just right, as I was dressed for the party as a Hippie Groom, while Marian went as a Gypsy Bride.

Marian and I tied the knot (not a noose!) six years ago on her uncle's farm in Raleigh. Marrying her was the best decision I ever made. And she is even more beautiful today than the first time I married her.

P.S. "Spookied Up" refers to one more hilarious story our friend Del Lancaster tells about his kindergarten students. One child, Justin, won't use a modifier when he speaks. So, when a classmate gets muddy, Justin says, "Uh-oh, you're all muddied up!" When Justin saw Del's new October calendar on the wall, it was, in his country drawl: "Mr. Del, that picture's all spookied up!"

Friday, November 03, 2006

Home Sweet Home (if we only had a kitchen)

Hi Guys!

Been a while since we wrote, but we have been in Raleigh, NC, all week visiting my aunt and uncle. They live on a beautiful farm there, and it's of course special to us since we married there six years ago. They have tons of space, both inside and outside the house, so Stella had A BLAST! Oh, and the llamas and cows that they have - you can imagine how exciting that stuff is to a two-year old. She basically ran from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and then collapsed into her pack and play dreamland every night!

We saw some old friends while we were there, including author Reynolds Price, whom Eric worked for years ago. He took us to an incredible dinner at Taverna Nikos (Greek food) in Durham's famous Brightleaf Square. We also saw my oldest friend Sarah, who was the maid of honor in our wedding, and we saw Kristen, who took these beautiful photos that I've posted. She is Stella's godmother and loves Stella, at times, even more than we do, I think!

Eric got some work done on a story he's working on for Duke Alumni Magazine too, which was the main reason we decided to take the trip in the first place.

We came back to what we thought would be a new kitchen - new cabinets and countertops, appliances re-arranged, etc. Well, we have the cabinets. That's all. It looks like Sanford and Son on our porch. We have a dishwasher, sink, and range just sitting outside our house. Which means we can't cook. We can't wash dishes. Now, I know we were in the Peace Corps, and we're tough and all - but adding Stella to the mix changes everything. She's underfoot when the workers are around, and there are deadly nails, staples, and wires everywhere. So basically we're eating out a lot and trying to keep her busy out of the house until they are finished. It better look awesome when they're done!

But home is sweet, back to our comfortable bed and quiet wooded neighborhood. And back to 42 degree temps during the day! Brrrr.

Hope you enjoy these photos.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dad's Morning In

The photos Marian posted recently depict Stella in her crib "mosh pit." You'll notice she is slam dancing to some classic Kiss!

Tonight I had duty so that Marian could get some sleep. Stella is stuffed up and uncomfortable so she woke up a few times last night. This morning around 5, she "not want it" her blue pacifier and demanded a "new one." The old one probably tasted bad, I guess. The she called me in and said "nose," perhaps indicating she couldn't breathe through it. "'tella play with toys?" she queried. Of course, to Dad at 5:30 a.m. it does not follow that a stuffy nose entitles one to play with toys. So I put the kibosh to that idea, covered her up with her "bumpy," and I haven't heard much sound from there since.

Of course, now I can't sleep, so I'm burning copies of a wedding we shot in August. The funniest thing that happened at this particular wedding was that the best man hid the keys to the getaway car. Needless to say, the groom felt a little awkward.

50 minutes of silence, and now "'tella wants Mommy!" Daddy will have to do. Oh ... she stopped. Maybe she's realizing that she's REALLY TIRED and that sleep is a good thing after all.

When she is a parent, I will remind her of all the time she wasted not sleeping in her youth.

* * * * *

I think it's great that Marian started this blog. I never thought about doing it myself, but it's bound to result in more journaling. Paper is sooooo 20th century!

My friend Neal (who is always sending me interesting stuff) sent me a link to Scott Adams' blog. Adams is the creater of Dilbert, and he has a fascinating testimonial of a recent medical problem:

A blog is an efficient way to let everyone know at once what you would have said if folks bothered to call. That means we don't need to pass information on the phone to one another anymore. We can just serenade each other with such standards as "biddy, biddy Bider" ("...went up the water spout..."etc.) or "Ko, Ko, uh-oh Ko!", a little ditty that Stella made up all by herself a couple months ago. It's the theme song she created for herself and our dog Kope (Co-pay), but we can all make it our own.

Last night I attended my first book club meeting. There were about 12 of us and we discussed "Saturday" by Ian McKewen(sp?). The narrator in the novel is a British neurosurgeon and there were, in the room, a surgeon, a neurologist, and a retired family doctor. I'm glad I joined the club, because darnit if I can find the time to read these days left to my own devices. Also, it is a great place to get free medical advice. So next we're reading "The March" by E.L. Doctorow and that should be fun, hanging out with Sherman as he razes the South. We will find out if, in our group, there are any rapers and pillagers who can speak first-hand to the novel's authenticity. ("I noticed that in burning the farm, the character used gasoline to start the blaze. In 1864, peat moss would have been a more likely accelerant. I, of course, prefer jet fuel!")

There was a beep on my email, and I raced over there to discover that Boatman had written me about "lightspeed investor growth." This reminds me of a movie idea that may have been on your mind, too:

Joe, a financial consultant beleaguered by spam, misses several important emails from a client, a girlfriend, and his father. They get lost in the shuffle, or are blocked by his spam-blocker. In any case, he realizes his life has been ruined. So he looks up an old friend, Ed, from junior high, a real computer geek, in order to HUNT DOWN AND KILL ALL SPAMMERS (emphasis added) -- vigilante style!!! (Extra exclamation points delightfully included.) Come to find out that Ed is also a spammer, and Joe has a moral dilemmer on his hands. Does he let his buddy live. NO! OF COURSE NOT! ARE YOU KIDDING!? (Shut up, Id!)

Okay, I vented a little bit. I feel better now. Or maybe it's the VIhAGRA working...

* * * * *

I almost prefer the word blage to blog. That's because blage is "bagel" rearranged. I love bagels, especially pumpernickel bagels. You wouldn't eat a bogl, would you? No! If you did, that would probably make you Norweigen.

This is just the sort of idiocy that blogs have given voice to. I'll sign out before it gets worse.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

You wouldn't know it by these photos...

I guess all symptoms fade when we bring out the camera, because our Stella hasn't been feeling well today. She had a rough night last night, waking up every 2 hours asking for milk, which she's never done before. Today she was warm, with a runny nose and an extra clingy disposition.

When she's sick, boy does it affect our whole household. There aren't any sick days when you're a parent!

We're looking forward to our trip to the Triangle next week. Eric is working on a story for Duke Alumni magazine, and Stella and I are tagging along to spend time with my aunt and uncle and several of our friends who still live there. We have a soft spot for that area, since we both went to college in the area and also got married there six years ago.

Hope everyone is well, and thanks for commenting on our blog. It's great fun to see who's checking in!

Oh yeah, the babies that are hanging between the crib and the wall, in that strange voo-doo position - yeah, Stella puts them like that every night to "watch over her" before she sleeps. It's kind of strange.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First try with photos

this ain't as easy at it looks

Whatever friends of mine have suggested that I start a blog neglected to tell me that it's not as easy as they make it look. I have figured out the actual posting part, seen here, but photos are still a no-show, and my links section is all out of whack. I'll get it, but in the meantime, be patient with this blog not being nearly as eye-appealing as most of them out there.

Today I took Stella to a mother's morning out program at a local toy store. In the basement, they have a recreation area with toys, books and crafts for the kids, and they even feed them lunch. It's Stella's 4th time going today, and she loves it! I thought the transition for her (and for me) would be much more difficult, but it's been great. I've been getting some good work done during those three hours, and she so enjoys hanging out with other kids.

It's getting cold here, REALLY cold. Last night it got down to a frigid 22 degrees. I put flannel sheets on our bed and have had the fire on all day long. The leaves are beautiful - I've seen more people taking photos in town than ever before. Hopefully when I learn how to post pictures I'll have some for your viewing enjoyment.

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Our (actually, my) first attempt at blogging

I've always wanted to be someone that enjoyed journaling, and I've tried dozens of times to keep one. Alas, I'm 29 and have about 3 journals to my name, most of which aren't even full of entries. I'm hoping that this blog may change that. I want our friends and family to see photos and read about our happenings. I also want to save these posts for Stella, for her to read one day, so she can know what our lives were like during her toddler years.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I may be the main blogger in the house, but Eric will probably surprise you every now and then with a post. He's such an incredible writer - I hope he surprises all of us pretty regularly.

Good Night!