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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....

December 19, 2004

Let it Snow!
We had some snow tonight but earlier while it was still raining miserably I took a little movie of our balcony Christmas lights and a picture from the parking lot (our balcony is on the left side, one down from the top floor). And here's an inside shot as well, all bases now covered.
balcony lights     balcony lights

December 17, 2004

Every year I curse the day I thought of having a family Christmas Contest. Christmas is stressful enough. That said, I am 75% done with my diorama and have shipped it to my parents's house so I don't destroy it trying to get it through security at the airport. And it's nice to get my living room back. I'll have 2 days to finish it. I may even be up for the Tardiness award, which Austin usually wins. I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing.

Last week Lyla and I had homemade tempura at our aunt Zita's place in Baltimore. When we got there we found out that she had parted with her 16 year old Toyota Corolla station wagon and purchased a new Subaru Impreza.

new subaru
Latvian Lesson update:
Latvian lesson: I managed to explain the Christmas contest and the diorama to my teacher in Latvian.
American culture lesson: I explained why she should let her 12 year old son should watch The Simpsons and we talked a bit about difficult co-workers

December 5, 2004

Cultural lessons
So I have been taking Latvian classes for a couple of months and I wish I knew more but I have been learning. The structure of the class has been established. The teacher, Irena, asks me what's new. I try to form the sentences that describe something that has happened in the last week. Then we go through the homework. And then she wants to discuss some aspect of American culture. This discussion is in English. Irena is from Riga, Latvia. She married an American man and has been in the US for 2 years. Our first discussion was on race relations here in the states. Then two weeks ago it was about her obnoxious American brother-in-law. We talked a bit too long but I felt bad for her. She was truly upset and was left puzzled and hurt by the family dynamic the she did not understand and that her husband would not talk about. This past week we talked about body hair aesthetics and removal.

Last week I was with my family in the Shenandoah Mountains and then here for Thanksgiving Day. In the mountains we took lots of walks, shopped in quaint town and celebrated my brother Tommy's 40th birthday. He has been wanting a telescope for years and that is what he got. After all my attempts to find out exactly what he wanted we were surprised that he had no idea he was getting it. Here's a trailer for a video that I will eventually put together of the big event.

Thanksgiving dinner was great fun. Lynda surprised most of us by flying in that morning to spend the weekend. Friday and Saturday we went to some museums. A highlight was the Concrete Exhibit at the National Building Museum. Here is a little movie about that.

Morning Clouds Deer in Yard
Morning view from our condo deck Deer staring at me on my walk
Austin and William Lenore, Paula and Sandy
Austin and William in Staunton, Va Sandy, Lenore and Paula after shopping
Dobsonian telescope Cooking Blur
Tommy with William and the new telescope Kitchen activity on Thanksgiving Day
Fun with Food Turkey on a Pie
We had a little fun with the cranberry sauce Decorated pie
Some more movie/DVD reviews
Home Movie
A documentary about unusual people and their unusual homes. There's a tree house, a home in a missile silo, a house full of space age gadgets that almost work. It's quite fun. And the extras on the DVD include commercials for some home/hardware store made from documentary footage. It was interesting to see how a professional can give very different meanings to the same footage. The director, Chris Smith, also directed "American Movie", another documentary I enjoyed.

The Man Without A Past
A very bleak but not totally unhappy Finnish movie. It is about a man who loses his memory after being beaten up by some thugs. Some kind strangers help him set up home in an old railroad car and he starts dating a salvation army worker. I am glad I watched it all the way through. The plot and the mood improved and the cinematography was nice. I know this sounds shallow but I have to say that I wish there had been at least one good looking character in the movie. You know how sometimes charm or grace can soften a not-so-pretty face, well there was none of that here.

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