Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I love my iPhone

So, yes,
I am a touchscreen kind of person after all.  
We made the big leap to ATT a week ago and so far I am pleased.
But I am more than pleased with my new iPhone, I love love love it.  
So many things so easy to do, but I want to learn more and better and so will be taking a free class at the local Apple store Saturday. 
In the meantime, I am looking forward to a few extra days off and a big fat book and maybe a couple of movies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Video Greetings from the Library

The staff of the Jimmie B. Keel branch library, where my office is, created this holiday greeting for the library system's staff blog.
Pardon the shaky camera work by me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This Beer's for You

Another cool post from Death & Taxes.
This post dedicated to Mark and Thom.

Black History Timeline

Take a look at this fascinating mashup on the Death & Taxes blog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Abby & Doug's Annual Holiday Party

Last Saturday evening -- Alan, Abby, Paul, Norman, Mark & George, hanging in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Libraries in Hard Time

This report that was on NBC Nightly News tonight made me feel proud to work in a library.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It was a short and stormy relationship.

I went out and bought the
BlackBerry Storm at Verizon a few weeks ago, the very day it came out.  I had been interested in an iPhone, but liked Verizon's phone service and had heard many bad things about ATT service, so no iPhone for me.  But the Storm looked like Verizon's answer to the iPhone and it is made by BlackBerry which I already know and love from my work phone.
But I didn't love it.  I couldn't type a quick email on it, I was so clumsy with the touch screen, it was very frustrating.  And there were other annoyances, for one big one, I couldn't get it to reconcile my personal email.  Was I on the internet or not?
And then I read David Pogue's scathing review  and felt somewhat relieved that I'm not the only one and also regretful about how quickly I had bought it.  But as Pogue pointed out, Verizon has a generous return policy.  So I tried for another week, and then gave up.  I returned my Storm to Verizon and they gave me all the money back, no questions asked.  
Big Sigh of Relief.  And I realized I'd missed my simple little LG Chocolate.  
But still, I do want a phone that can give me access to my email and to Google.  And it's nice to have a calendar in there too, and a camera.  So what do I want?
Well I think I want something that ATT has and Verizon does not.  And so I am almost ready to make the jump.  But which will it be?  
There's the iPhone of course, but now I am wondering if I am just not a touch screen kind of person.  And people keep telling me how lousy it is as a phone though they love everything else about it.
And then there's the new BlackBerry Bold.  I know how to work a BlackBerry and it's got a gorgeous screen.  And David Pogue likes it.
Any advice?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

_MG_8382, originally uploaded by Our Labor Of Love Photography.

Our traditional photo, in our traditional spot.  This year by Whitney Chamberlin.

And Marley is somewhere, we just don't know where.


_MG_8558, originally uploaded by Our Labor Of Love Photography.

Now that is a good looking poodle.
Thank you, Whitney.

Dogs and Toys

Daisy feels the need to protect her favorite toys.
Because if she leaves them alone, Marley is likely to hide them where she cannot reach.

Some new art is hung

Mark hung the new pieces I picked up from the framer this weekend.  
I love this poster of Barack Obama made all from words that make up the country's hope for what his administration will mean for our future.  It's a limited edition print I picked up from the Artists for Obama part of the campaign website.  I also got a print we bought from an expat artist in San Miguel de Allende when we were there for the wedding last spring, and a Matte Stephens New York City print I got on Etsy recently.

Dylan loves the women

Dylan was so happy to see Jen and Leigh last night he could not decide which lap to settle on.

Thanksgiving in Atlanta

As always, we had a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend in Atlanta at Barbara & Steve's home. Mark, Dylan, Marley and I drove up Tuesday night, and the next morning we headed down to Little Five Points to pick up Jesse, Thom and Jasper who spent the night at the home of Jesse & Whitney Chamberlin, wedding photographers extraordinaire. They have an amazing abode, it feels like country but is literally right in the middle of the coolest part of Atlanta.

We got to pick up the gorgeous wedding albums we had ordered, to meet the Chamberlin pugs, and then we took off.

Stopped for a little lunch at the bakery in Decatur where we picked up the cakes Jesse had ordered for our Thanksgiving dessert. Back at the house, we got to show off the albums. Then Mark and I headed out for massages.

We went to R. Thomas for dinner.

Then we headed over to Grant & Joanna's apartment for dessert and some fun with Rock Band.

The next day was Thanksgiving.

We played Wii tennis (Thom actually made an avatar for every single person who came),

sampled some great beer brewed by a friend of Krin,

sat down at our longest table yet, twenty people, for a wonderful, nearly vegetarian dinner.Afterwards the guys cleaned up,

we ate those amazing cakes,

and played Trivial Pursuit.

It was fun to have the Chamberlins -- Whitney, Jesse & their son Gracyn -- join us this year. You can see the great photos they took here.

During the weekend lots of laptops were always in evidence.
Sarah got the chance to catch up with old friends

and to do a lot of work.

Dylan relaxed in Mark's suitcase.

Chaos relaxed in a sunny spot with a good view of the front door.

Friday we went to the High Museum to see a fascinating show about the Terracotta Army discovered in China.

Later we went to see Milk, an important and beautiful film, had a great veggie dinner at Dynamic Dish, and did a bit of bar hopping (and played Random Article Wikipedia Charades once again).

It was a wonderful, if exhausting, holiday with great friends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy day off and some local election news

It's so nice that both Mark and I have the day off today, the day after his birthday, the day of my mother's birthday, it's that thing of great value, a day off in the middle of the week.
It gave me the time to relax and read the paper this morning, and since there was still more time to do nothing in, I picked up one of the weekly freebie locals I never normally read.  In fact I don't read any local news anymore, it's just been too trite and embarrassing.  

But here, from Community News, coverage of the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections race, where Democrat Phyllis Busansky suprised and delighted us by beating incumbent Republican Buddy Johnson:

"Some of Johnson's staff did not include the second page of the ballot to an unknown number of voters.  Johnson, never one to take personal responsibility, said it must have been volunteers who slept through training....Johnson made a short concession speech....He said that the office would help with the transition to Busansky's command.  Whether Busansky wants some of the bumbling help remains to be seen."

Reports of problems at local polls include one where "poll workers required voters to line up alphabetically, instead of the normal first-come-first-served basis.  One voter told the media that she was one of the first in line...around 6:30 a.m. and that she had to wait a couple hours because the poll workers took people alphabetically."

Buddy himself managed to avoid all the controversy last Tuesday night with a simple strategy.
"Throughout the evening, Johnson remained mostly out of sight and did not make himself, his staff or even officials from Premier Elections Services available to answer questions."

Oh, what a riot this county is.  Too bad it's too important to be really funny.  But important too is the slightest tilt toward the middle now that we have a second Democrat on the County Commission.  Let's hope Kevin Beckner encourages Kevin White to act a bit more like a Democrat.  And how great that we don't have to wait more than another week to be rid of Brian Blair, the holy roller wrestler who tried to get the county to continue down the destructive path Ronda Storms worked so hard to forge.  Ronda is mean but somewhat smart; Blair is too dumb even to know how to campaign.  His relection campaign consisted of billboards illegally paid for and ads in which his wife waxed eloquent about his strengths as a family guy, and by the way, there was nothing at all to that old domestic abuse charge.

Now it's just two little bits less embarrassing to live in this county.  And a big blue bit less embarrassing to live in this state.  Who knows, I may even pick up a local paper again one of these days.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Here's to Obama! And Kevin & Phyllis! And us!

Last night we had a victory party! It was so great to be able to celebrate after years of nothing going right politically, in our country and in our county. But not only did we have President Elect Obama to celebrate, we had a couple of important victories in Hillsborough County as well. We actually ousted a right wing born again wrestler from our county commission and replaced him with a bright, young, progressive, cute, gay guy, Kevin Beckner! And good riddance to Buddy Johnson, our Supervisor of Elections who was nobody's buddy. Welcome Phyllis Busansky, long time local Democrat, great to see her back in office!Lots of people stopped by to celebrate, library, school, sailing friends, even a neighbor stopped by -- she saw our party decorations outside and said, hey, it's my celebration too! The biggest surprise was a big McCain supporter, Mark's sailing captain, who said he was in mourning but showed up anyway.
We raised glasses to toast a new direction, a new future, and positive change in our country, in our county, and in the new blue state we all are relieved to be able to say we live in without shame.
All the dogs had a great time, they were so social and really well behaved. But they are exhausted today; we are pretty tired too. And still basking in the glow of this best election ever.

Check out Abby's photos from the party right here.

What This Election Means

From today's New York Times OpEd page, two views of what President Elect Obama means, to Arabs, and to African Americans.  While this historic election means something different to everyone, this glimpse into other peoples' points of view is very moving.

Political Humorists Worry

They fear they are entering years of nothing to make fun of in the administration.  
Jon Stewart has warned that we should all be aware that if he makes jokes that refer to Barack Obama's race, they should no more be taken as jokes about all black people than the jokes he has made about George Bush should be taken as jokes about all mentally challenged people.
This morning on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, they were able to find some good humor -- talking about how "Barack Obama gets to be the guy who cleans up after eight years of a drunken frat party".  And how "Sarah Palin was defeated on Tuesday along with the old white guy who kept following her around."  And, my favorite, since she has four years now to cram, "Sarah Palin is moving her family to a new house, this one with a view of a library."
But actually, all the above jokes are still about the lame duck administration.  
Yes, it could be a dry time for the comedians, but what a great time it will be for the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


What a magnificent night!
And Florida is blue again!
The party is on at our house Friday night!
We will be celebrating our new blue county commissioner too!

Monday, November 3, 2008

VOTE tomorrow if you haven't already

and have a free cup of coffe on Starbucks. Just one more reason I like this big corporation that does so much good.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Chilly, Rainy Fall Day

The boys got groomed this week just as it was turning chilly.  And we could not remember where we had put their Tshirts, so we had to get some new ones.  To our surprise, they love putting them on, they get just about as excited when you mention the shirts, as they do when you talk about treats.

What I Will Miss About President Bush

Really, I will not miss him at all, no how, no way. But I just finished reading Curtis Sittenfeld's new novel, American Wife which has me thinking about Laura Bush in a different way. I can finally understand why she fell in love with George, though I can't understand why she didn't make more of an effort to change his mind on some issues.
Anyway, Sittenfeld's part in this combined Op-Ed piece in today's NY Times was particularly meaningful to me, but I was better able to appreciate the other contributers here as well, especially Scott McClellan and Robert Draper.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We decorated our new wall for Halloween this year. The pumpkins you see here are our second batch, put out just as dusk settled in on Halloween night. The first batch, put out a couple of nights early to decorate in anticipation were gone the next morning. When Mark went back to the high school pumpkin patch on Halloween afternoon with the stolen pumpkin story, they took pity -- he bought the big one and they threw the others in for free.Then Mark got dressed for some trick or treat door opening. He has experience with this costume, having worn it earlier at school for the "book character" parade (since you can't officially celebrate Halloween in the schools and libraries of the south). The boys, having just been groomed, decided to pull up their little "I've been groomed" bandanas and became little old Russian ladies.Daisy didn't want to be left out. She's the big babushka.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who ARE these people?

This past week Wait Wait Don't Tell Me did some funny bits at the beginning about undecided voters.  And I have been wondering, can there really be undecided voters at this point?  I don't think so.  Unless they are morons or have just woken from a coma.

Here's some more thoughts on the undecided from one of my favorite commentators on society.

"For as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. 'Who are they?' the news anchors ask. 'And how might they determine the outcome of this election?'

Then you’ll see this man or woman— someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. 'Well, Charlie,' they say, 'I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!' Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. 'Can I interest you in the chicken?' she asks. 'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?'

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what’s to be confused about?...

I wonder if, in the end, the undecideds aren’t the biggest pessimists of all. Here they could order the airline chicken, but, then again, hmm. 'Isn’t that adding an extra step?' they ask themselves. 'If it’s all going to be chewed up and swallowed, why not cut to the chase, and go with the platter of shit?'

Ah, though, that’s where the broken glass comes in."

Read the rest of David Sedaris' essay in the Oct. 27th issue of The New Yorker.

I, by the way, am not undecided.  Not in the slightest, though I admit to some indecision during the primaries.

But now, I am fully committed to my candidate.  And for the first time in my life I have voted for someone who not only has a really good chance of winning, but whom I really really like.  A lot.  Yes, I voted for Barak Obama, instead of voting for the Democrat because he is not the Republican.  

I cannot wait to see what he is going to do when he is President.

And I cannot wait to have my library back from the insanity of being a place to  vote.  I must retire before the next Presidential election hits the libraries.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Curb Appeal Updates

The new door has been stained.

Tired of dealing with plants that look great one day and wild and weedy the next, we are beginning to replace groundcover with stones, for a more zen like look.

Mark is working on the abundent ferns and vines -- begone, I say, the rocks are coming.
Eventually the front will get there too, some plants will remain but weedblock cloth and stones will prevail.

It's a bit chilly in the house this morning...

so I was able to capture a glimpse of the rare and elusive cuddling-poodle-boys.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Comment on The Caucus

I love this comment on a post on the cost of Palin's hair & makeup on the NY Times' political blog, The Caucus.

$150,000 for the latest fashions.
$55,000 for beauty care.
$25,000 to have your family come along.
Defeat on Election Day, priceless.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Red States

I love this, but please, can Florida come too?  
We're really really trying, and I'm hopeful.
And I voted today!  
Yes I Did!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Planter's Ball

We celebrated the beginning of the season at our farm last night, even though two city sewage line breaks that flooded our creek and well with sewage made our fields unuseable this year, and forced the heartbreaking plowing under of early crops. Luckily we have other fields available, the organic farmers are a supportive community and our farm will have a good season even if it starts later than usual.
We had a great potluck dinner; the vegan and vegetarian tables were overflowing with tasty dishes.
Jen and Mark are taking a break before tackling dessert.

The Urban Gypsies play regularly at Sweetwater Organic Farm parties, they do everything from bluegrass to roots rock and are easy to dance or hula hoop to.

Kaiser had a great time playing with his new farm friend.