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01/23/2005 Flu Season
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Riga, Latvia March 2005
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The most recent entries are first. If you haven't been here for a while scroll down or click on a date. And remember most pictures are links to a larger version.

Comments? Your movie reviews? I would love to hear from you!

Enough about you, let's talk about me....

January 23, 2005

Flu Season
I have the flu and it's been awful. What a waste of a beautiful snowy weekend.

I know I promised pictures of the outside construction but have decided they are not as interesting as this picture I took on our walk last weekend.

Tiny Blue Car

You may have noticed that I love these little cars as I have mentioned them in my blog several times. I love the look, the erratic movement when kids are in them. They weren't around when I was a kid. Maybe that's why I was so attracted to the Mini.

Ok here's my favorite outside construction picture although it was very early on.


Some more movie/DVD reviews
Capturing the Friedmans This is a documentary about a father and son who were accused of child molestation in an upscale Long Island community in the late 80s. The documentary part was very good but the inclusion of home movies showing the family dynamic - their closeness, meltdowns and naivete - made it even more interesting. Very moving.

January 17, 2005

The Hood
It was nice to have 3 days off but it was so cold, not Chicago-cold but still too cold to ride bikes. I can handle the 40s but not the 30s and 20s. We did some furniture shopping. We are looking for end tables and a wall system that efficiently stores our DVDs. We did not have much luck.

Friday night Lyla, Austin and I went to Zita's in Baltimore for her annual Russian Orthodox New Year's party. I was able to practice Latvian with Zita and two of her Latvian friends. I am excited that I can speak some sentences but I always have to ask to have everything repeated several times. I may not have that luxury when I am in Riga and trying to get directions to the nearest restaurant that serves potato pancakes AND beer.

Our apartment building is undergoing major renovations inside and out. The design decision for the new carpet, wall and door colors for the hallways has almost caused WW III. Three areas were each redecorated with a new decor and many people voted (there are 466 apartments). A petition was started after the results were announced complaining about the winning decor, mainly the carpet. Three more areas were put up and we voted again on those and the previous winning design. The results were the same but another petition was started. The Board actually chose a design that got the least amount of votes. But it was the one I liked 2nd best. There was only one design I really hated. The building was built in the 60s and some of the designs seemed influenced by the decor of that era. Mostly I would like to get rid of the Holiday Innesque decor that is there now.
Current Ugly Decor Ugly Design
The current green and pink decor has got to go The carpet here reminds me of couches I used to sit on
in the basement rec rooms of high school friends in the 70s.
Blue Door Most Votes
A rare blue door design This one actually got the most votes
but also elicited the most wrath.
Winning Decor
This is the design that was selected

Next time we'll go outside.

January 9, 2005

Joe bought me a vintage (1984) Atala team wool bike jersey on ebay. My bike frame (also from ebay) is Atala brand from Italy. It is a beautiful jersey and is quite warm. I might have preferred vertical stripes to horizontal but, let's face it, bike clothing is not meant to be flattering.

So I wore it for the first time this morning but I had to wear a jacket too as it was 40 degrees. I asked Joe to take along the camera to take a picture of me in my jersey somewhere along the way. It turns out he took several pictures along the way since he, unlike me, doesn't have to hold on with both hands at all times.
atala jersey Passing a guy
Pretty jersey, no? Here I am passing a guy. Guys hate that.
(It doesn't happen very often)
Czech hill Hurting but Smiling
Here I am speeding past the Czech Embassy
- a 11% grade.
I'm smiling but it hurts.
Up Linnean Team Atala
At this point, I'm not smiling. I obviously need the hat to go with the jersey.

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Ok this was not good but I still had to see it. Johnny Depp was either developing his role for Pirates of the Carribean or coming down off it. (He was the best part of both movies) The plot was a mess. The characters were way less than 2 dimensional. It was not particularly picturesque. But it had some fun parts and it did not make me angry as some bad movies do.

The Office This is a British TV series in mockumentary style about an office that is being downsized. The boss is as sleazey as they come but tries his hardest to come across caring and politically correct. It is a little mean from time to time but even the meanness can be uniquely funny.

January 2, 2005

Happy New Year!
I had a nice trip to South Carolina for Christmas. I thought I would relax but that was not in the cards. There was a lot of cooking to be done and I had to finish my contest entry and I had to wrap presents and I had to make some jewelry for stocking stuffers and then I tried to put together a quick web site after the contest but that did not get finished until this morning. Take a look at the entries!.

Our flight down went very smoothly but our flight back was cancelled. But all in all it worked out. We were maybe an hour late arriving and although our luggage took 45 minutes to appear, it did appear. We had Ethiopian food for Christmas dinner, which was pretty risky since we had never made Ethiopian food before and we were serving it to the judges of the contest. It all turned out quite well. I was able to practice my Latvian with my mother and one of the quests, Ilze, who came to the US to go to Charleston College and now works for a non-profit there. My Latvian is still so limited but it was still nice to be able to say a couple of full sentences even if the verb tense and noun declination was all wrong.

boots and deer
Click for more Christmas pictures

For New Year's we spent a quiet evening at home watching the British TV series The Office. After the first episode I wondered if I would like it but the more we watched the better it got.

Today we did a litle shopping and took a long walk and ended up in well-to-do suburb Bethesda. As we were waiting for a light to change at a crosswalk next to a multiplex a group of kids were sort of pushing each other around and then it turned into a full-on fight with fists and kicking. It took me by surprise. It just kept getting rougher and rougher. I think I was expecting a teacher to come out from a school building or someone else maybe from a TV show like The OC to stop them but it didn't stop. People were beeping their horns but it was a good minute or so before people nearby broke it up and then the kids just dispersed. It was quite unnerving.

But on a happier note we had tamales air-shipped from Houston, TX tonight for dinner.

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