Goodbye 2005

Christmas in SC was fun and the Christmas contest went well. I did not place or show but I was happy with my entry and I was glad my mother won 1st place. There were a couple of years when my grandfather was judging that she should have won. He was not always a good father but that's another long and twisted story for another time. My mother's entry this year was good. Wanna see them all?

Highlights of the trip:

  • Cooking and listening to new music on Christmas day with a short mid-afternoon break to play a highly competitive game of bocce. "Steve Holt!"
  • Eating Christmas dinner: goose with fruit and chestnut stuffing, standing rib roast, winter root vegetables in a mustard cream sauce, green beans with with mushrooms and almonds, salad and bread made by my dad and latvians. For dessert there were lots of sweets, including homemade (by Austin) egg-nog.
  • Driving around the island with Lenore and Austin taking pictures. Lyla, Tracy and I also took some pictures of an old plantation on the way to Savannah.
  • Christmas Eve dinner with Tommy, Sandy, Little T and Sandy's parents in Savannah. I always enjoying being there to see them and their yard which has beautiful old huge live oaks and tall southern pines. Sandy's parents brought over some southern iced teas which was a real treat.
  • Assembling the Christmas Contest prizes in the waiting room while waiting for Lynda's blood work results
  • Hiking the Edisto State Park 3.5 mile trail
  • Seeing that guy on the side of the road to Charleston speaking or singing into a microphone again. I saw him when I was there last August.

Haven't seen enough pictures? Look here

Tis The Season

At Christmas time some Metro drivers decorate their trains. Decorations consist mainly of fake snow but that's OK. Seeing a Christmas train is like seeing a money train which is a train that runs through the system collecting the money from the fare machines. It is empty except for the employees who push the money vaults around and the 2-3 armed guards who step out of the train and stand on the platform until the vaults are back in the train. I have not seen a Christmas train or a money train in a long time. But some of the station managers also decorate. Joe took this at the Friendship Heights station.
/lauralu/Sites/metro station decorations

I am almost ready for Christmas. I leave for SC on Thursday. Hopefully the weather will stay good and we will all get there on time.

Long Time Gone

A new entry is long overdue. I have been a little busy with christmas shopping which I do mostly online but it's the management of all the alliances I have built with my sisters and brothers for gift buying that takes time. It is so complicated I have to keep a spreadsheet and this year Austin is organized enough to join in on the alliances and my aunt Zita wants in too because she hasn't travelled much this year, her usual source for presents, so it's even more intensive. But most of my shopping is done!

And then there is the Christmas contest. It's coming along. I have found that working on black velvet requires daylight.

And I have also been working on images and little movies that will be used in my friend Dana's dance performance in March. I am enjoying doing the research and video-taping and video-editing but I am now starting to think of the hundreds of people including dance critics from major newspapers who will see the performance. I am now wishing I had gone for that BA in Art instead of that BA in Astronomy.

Here are two pictures I took recently.

our new antenna local parade queen
This is a cool looking antenna we got recently to use to get some stations that are not part of our building's antenna (we do not have cable). I took this last month when nearby University of the District of Columbia held a parade that passed by our street.

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Mystic River
Excellent story, very engaging, beautifully filmed, great acting. My only complaint was the last scene that seemed tacked on and unnecessary. It should have ended with the Sean Penn character walking down the middle of the street away from the Kevin Bacon character.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
After the inital 15 minutes where the vulgar to funny ratio was a bit high I really started to enjoy the movie. I really like Jay's ramblings in this movie as I did in Clerks and the silly plot was actually interesting.

Craftiness and Cuteness

A couple of days ago I had my camera out at work so I took some pictures of some cute things around my desk including my dinosaur-with-his-lunch-box iPod cover.
cute office things

I went over to Austin and William's place today to visit with them and my aunt Zita as they prepared for Thanksgiving dinner. I did not stay because I decided to work on my Christmas Contest entry and have a nice quiet veggie Thanksgiving dinner with Joe. We had a corn pudding, the traditional and apparently 50 year old green bean/cream of mushroom soup/french fried onions casserole, pull-apart rolls and cookies that Austin made this morning for dessert. I did make some progress on my Christmas Contest entry but I still have a long way to go before it is a true work of velvet art.

Austin and William's table looked quite elegant with a touch of cuteness. Austin made the napkins and I loved all the textures on and around the table.

thankdgiving table austin's naplins
austin and turkey

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Koi... Mil Gaya
A Hindi movie that steals liberally from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Charly. A mentally retarded young man, his younger friends and a pretty girl find an alien and try to hide him from the authorities. It was fairly dumb.

The Secret Lives of Dentists
A family man and dentist thinks his wife, also a dentist, might be having an affair. He decides not to do anything about it but soon the jealousy and worry manifests itself in an imaginary alter-ego type character played by Dennis Leary (whom I really liked in his short-lived TV show The Job) who says what the dentist is thinking but dare not say. It is an interesting film, funny in parts but mostly kind of depressing because the family is falling apart.

Hospital Life

I was in Charleston this past weekend to help Lynda recover from surgery after her ovarian cancer crept back after 3 years of remission. I spent a lot of time sitting in the hospital room meeting the parade of doctors and nurses and watching them poke and prod Lynda. I kept hoping it would be more like an episode of Grey's Anatomy, you know pretty doctors saving patients while engaging in outrageous activities like flirting, affairs, drunken confessions, getting pregnant and spreading syphilis. Well all the caretakers were professional and there was one pretty doctor and a couple of pretty nurses but we did not get to see any behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

When I was not at the hospital I was putting in some work hours at Lynda's house. It was actually pleasant sitting looking out her back door at the birds and turtles. Willow the cat kept me entertained by trying to be the lion of her backyard although she mostly chased bugs. Graeme and I watched TV together but he was working on a school project so we did not have time to do much else. Here are some pictures from my trip.

moonflowers crystal lake
I got my haircut a couple of blocks from the hospital and a nice house with moon flowers in its garden was along the way. Lynda's back yard
heron in Lynda's backyard willow behind the screen
A heron and turtles on the lake. Willow through the screen door