Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you are all having a wonderful time, wherever you may be! As for us, we’ve just finished an outstanding Thanksgiving lunch at Laura’s parents house in Paris and now we’re off to College Station, Texas in anticipation of the A&M vs. Texas game tomorrow. Kristi and Eric are coming as well so the road trip is going to be a blast in and of itself. They’re both Longhorns (class of ’04) so if the Aggies manage to somehow pull off the upset and spoil U.T.’s National Championship hopes in the process, it could make for a long car ride back to Paris. :) My seat is with Shailen up in the End Zone, but Kristi and Eric will closer to the field. Watch for them on TV, they’ll be the two burnt orange dots in the sea of maroon.

After the game, we’re coming back to Paris and my family is having Thanksgiving on Saturday afternoon. Much love and pumpkin pie.

general update…

Just to let you know what we’re up to:

Recently, a puddle of water had formed in the front yard right next to the house. We had someone from the city come out and take a look. His assessment, “well, it’s either just a little crack in the line out here, or it could be a leak in the pipe within the foundation of your house.” A pipe in the foundation? “How do you get to that?” you might be asking yourself. Answer: jackhammer. Jack frickin’ hammer. Thankfully, and I’m usually not a big fan of the gratuitous use of the all caps, but THANKFULLY it was only a crack in some kind of PVC compression adapter junction coupling something or other that we were able to remove and replace ourselves. Granted, it took two nights of digging and cutting through roots to get to it, but all the same, problem solved. Showers on. Yeah, buddy.

We’ve seen two incredible movies back-to-back. First, Crash. This is an emotionally wrenching story that explores racial prejudice and classism in America. It’s tough to watch but absolutely gripping. Every five minutes you try to tell yourself, “that’s awful, but it’s not really like that…that doesn’t really happen.” Even though it is and it does.

The other movie is The March of the Penguins. It’s the National Geographic documentary with a “plot” that sounds a little dull. Penguins go to hatch an egg. Ok, a lot dull. But seriously, if you haven’t seen this one yet you gotta check it out when it hits video in late November. Or, Dallas friends reading this, it’s at the dollar theatre in Lewisville by Vista Ridge. Go check it out now! These creatures are already interesting but the filmmakers do a great job in telling the story of what it takes for an emporer penguin to be born in the harshest climate on the planet. Let me just say that now that I know, I can’t believe there are any left. The opening credit sequence is of the landscape in Antarctica. All I could think of was how extraordinary this planet is that we live on. The diversity of geography, climate and life itself is so exciting and there is so much to see and discover. Thirty seconds in and I was already loving the movie. Then, along came the penguins. These animals leave the sea in packs and waddle in their awkward – yet perfectly-suited – bodies for seventy miles to reach the breeding grounds with only instinct, God’s whispering, to guide them. The very spot where they were born. That blows me away. But it’s the rest of the process that now has me calling the emporer penguin my favorite animal in the whole world, and it’s a process you should see for yourself. Rent it as soon as you can.

Laura took a sewing class with a friend last Thursday and came home with a brand new purse! It’s very nicely done and I expect she’ll be ready to announce her own line of women’s handbags and accessories in late Spring of 2006. She picked out the different fabrics for it and everything, so not only did she create it, but she designed it as well. Very impressive! These are things that will come in handy when our “back to the land” phase sets in. Sewing, I mean. Not handbag design.

My personal boycott of the NHL continues. I haven’t watched a single game this season and am glad to say that I have no idea what the Stars’ division standings look like. It took about four years to get back in to baseball after a CBA dispute cancelled the ’94 World Series. So, it’s possible that the next time I really follow the hockey season we’ll have a new President, Aidan will be in Kindergarten and Laura and I will just be getting back from Guatemala.

We have tickets to see the Polyphonic Spree’s Christmas show in December! It’s going to be amazing. We’re also going to see Sigur Ros at Bass Hall in February! Two amazing bands in the span of a couple months. It’ll be the first time we’ve seen Sigur Ros in concert and they’re supposed to be other-worldly.

All for now!

So This Is Nebraska

I heard Ted Kooser, the current U.S. poet laureate read this poem on the radio the other day. You can listen to the whole interview here.

So This Is Nebraska

The gravel road rides with a slow gallop
over the fields, the telephone lines
streaming behind, its billow of dust
full of the sparks of redwing blackbirds.

On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,
a meadowlark waiting on every post.

Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.

You feel like that; you feel like letting
your tires go flat, like letting the mice
build a nest in your muffler, like being
no more than a truck in the weeds,

clucking with chickens or sticky with honey
or holding a skinny old man in your lap
while he watches the road, waiting
for someone to wave to. You feel like

waving. You feel like stopping the car
and dancing around on the road. You wave
instead and leave your hand out gliding
larklike over the wheat, over the houses.

How’d They Find Us?!

We have this little stat counter on the blog that tells us how many people came today, what city they are in (or at least, what city their web provider is in) and also, where in the internet they came from.

The latter is my favorite feature because sometimes people will find us through coincidental Google searches. For instance, a couple months ago someone had done a search for “Homemade Classroom Decorations” and that post I had written about tacky classroom decor happened to have all those keywords in it.

Well, today, somebody found us by doing an MSN search for, “Brian’s Wedding, Oregon”. http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=brian%27s%20wedding%2C%20oregon&first=11&FORM=PORE


“Crawling in to a dark hole for 500, Alex.”

Last weekend, we were at a friend’s engagement party. It was nice. Great appetizers, Dos Equis and a chance to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in years. But wherever there is labored conversation with semi-acquantances, there is also a good chance that I’m going to embarrass myself. Well I didn’t even need a conversation to pull it off this time.

I had gone to get a drink, and as I was going back to the couch that Laura and I had staked out I passed a woman just as she was turning in my direction. At first, I just gave it the ol’, “Hellooo” and took another step. But then, in that dreadful split second, I thought that I recognized her as someone I knew. Before I knew it, I had immediately reacted with an ohmigosh-I’m-so-happy-to-run-in-to-you, “Oh!! Hey!”

Buuuuuut, you guessed it. I had no idea who this lady was and the expression on her face said the exact same thing about me. In retrospect, I could easily have said, “Ooops. I am so sorry. You look just like someone I know. Sorry about that! Have a great night.” Case closed. But if my life were that simple I wouldn’t need a blog now would I? Instead, I did what any true social bozo would do; I nodded awkwardly, gave it a sort of, “weeell, alright” and just kept on walking thank you very much.

It was no good. No good! So for the rest of the night, whenever we were within 20 feet of each other I had to act like I was preoccupied with something or someone else. It got to be quite a chore.

Shot through the heart…and you’re to blame…

Sing It!

You give Democrats…a bad name! Bum-bum. *Now starts that really sweet power rock chord progression…Larr, you know what I’m talkin’ bout*

Last night at UNT, a former Congressman by the name of Chris Bell spoke to the University’s College Democrats and Laura, myself and two of our friends went to check it out. He’s running for Governor of Texas as a Democrat and we wanted to hear what he had to say. We found out about it through a random series of events that began on Sunday with a magazine article mentioning that Kinky Friedman’s campaign is going to be featured as a reality series on CMT. Yes, that CMT. Anyway, a Google search and two web sites later I found out that he was speaking here the very next day. Providence? Happenstance? Worth a chance.

So, there we were in a College Democrats meeting at one of the most liberal schools in the whole state. Mr. Bell was running late, so in the meantime the leaders of the group opened the floor for announcements and it was in those thirty minutes that I realized why “liberal” has become a swear word. These are people with whom I probably agree on 95% of the issues facing our country, but after thirty minutes I began to wonder, “do Democrats care about anything besides abortion and homosexuality?”

I know, I mean I absolutely know that the answer to that question is, “yes.” However, it didn’t sound to me like the young Democrats of UNT do. What’s more is that it seemed with every point they raised, they weren’t able to state their position without simultaneously dogging conservatives or religious groups and that got very old, very quickly. This was huge for me to realize how annoying that is because I am so guilty of this…and having that dawn on me, having that flaw revealed to me so that I can work on correcting it is certainly one good thing that came out of last night.

Even so, here’s an e-mail that I sent to the club’s VP.

Thanks for allowing us to sit in on your meeting last night to hear Congressman Bell speak. It was a very interesting evening and I am glad that we came.

However, I wanted to share something with you that you can either take or leave, but it still deserves to be brought to your attention. My wife and I are firm Democrats and we invited two friends to come with us who are moderate Republicans. They are both open to new ideas and are very reasonable people, and that’s why we invited them because we thought it would be a good opportunity to expose them to a Democratic candidate for Governor and give them a chance to be with a group of Dems at the same time. I am sorry to say that it was a grave mistake and these two may be lost to the Democratic Party forever.

This is due in no part to Congressman Bell. Both of our friends said that they enjoyed listening to him and he gave them a lot to think about. What turned them off and left them with such a bad taste from the evening was the attitude of many of the people gathered in the room. When we left, I felt like I needed to convince them that Democrats do talk about things other than homosexuality and abortion, and what’s more, we can even do so without disparaging Republicans or religious groups. But you wouldn’t have known it from being in that room last night.

Our friends are exactly – and I mean exactly – the kind of people that the Democratic Party needs to be working very hard to welcome in with open arms if we want to get this state and country moving back in the right direction. They were both raised conservative but are at the point that they’re starting to ask questions for themselves and restructure their understanding of our country and its policies. They are devout Christians and could be easily convinced that the Democratic platform is founded squarely upon morality. This is an argument that can be made by pointing out the Party’s record and it doesn’t have to include rude or sarcastic comments made at the conservatives’ expense.

Don’t we agree that one of the most unnerving things about the Republican leadership is their arrogant attitude in general and their almost religious devotion to immediately dismissing anything that they don’t already agree with? Please, read that sentence again and let’s ask ourselves how many moderate Republicans and Independent voters we’re going to win over by exhibiting those same qualities.

I wish I could’ve talked to you individually after Congressman Bell’s talk so that I could’ve shared this with you in-person and talked about this at length. I hope my comments don’t come across as rude or ungrateful because we are very happy to have heard Mr. Bell last night and it is because of your organization that we had the opportunity. Thank you for the time and energy that you put in to bringing young Democrats together and I wish you continued success!

I’ll let you know if I get anything good back.

Halloween Party Pun Goes Here.

In Texas, if a grown man puts on makeup, spends thirty minutes on his hair and invests a solid hour in to getting his clothing to look just right, he’s likely to hear the phrase, “Heeay…we don’t take kindly to your kind ’round ‘ere” at least once throughout the course of the day. However, there’s one day a year that society says, “Aww, you know what? Have a ball.” That day, my friend, is Halloween.

To celebrate, Laura and I hosted a little Monster Bash at the old haunted Rhea Mansion. Legend has it that back in the late 20th century when the mansion was first built, the children who lived here went through seven hamsters in four months and the aura’s never been the same. Honestly, I don’t know how we manage to sleep through the night.

Our costumes : “Lightning and Struck by Lightning”

Funniest Costume : Jay and Heather

Best Costume : Rudy and Ashley