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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Michael Yon : Online Magazine

Michael Yon : Online Magazine
Jim forwarded this blog link to me and it is excellent. Not the story you usually hear, and worth taking a look at.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Trapeze Lessons

Emma and Jim have just gone off to Emma's first Trapeze lesson. She went to a birthday party last weekend at the Trapeze Studio and had a great time with the other kids swinging and learning some "tricks". The studio where she is taking lessons -- Canopy Flying Dance Trapeze Movement Arts and Performance Center -- is right here near downtown Athens. This is going to be a Daddy Emma time on Saturday mornings which means Mommy alone time for me -- yeah. Take a look at the photos below to get an idea what she will be doing and why Daddy offered to take her.

Standing up on the trapeze bar -- you can swing on these standing up just like we used to on regular swings when we were kids Posted by Picasa

The instructors helping Emma with something Posted by Picasa

In mid swing with her friend Robert running in the background. Posted by Picasa

Swinging with her friend Meghan Posted by Picasa

Watching the other kids on the trapeze bars at MacKenzie's birthday party Posted by Picasa

Emma in motion Posted by Picasa

Teacher helping Emma get on to the trapeze bar Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Emma as Tiger on our front porch

Halloween photos

Here we are ready to go out trick or treating. Emma decided to dress in her Tiger costume for the evening. This year it was actually cool enough to wear it -- in fact I wished I had put a jacket on. Jim is dressed as a Highlander and I am a black cat -- sort of. We went all through the neighborhood this year and ran into our neighborhood friends Mason, Morgan and Mia as well as meeting some new people.

A princess and two fairies waiting their turn to parade Posted by Picasa

During the Halloween parade at school. Posted by Picasa

Close up of the fairy. Posted by Picasa

Another shot of our fairy. Notice Maggie in te background at the top of the stairs Posted by Picasa

Emma as a fairy for school Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm back from San Francisco and we're staying in Athens

After two weeks of research, much discussion with Jim and others, and soul searching on my part the Holmes Family has decided to stay in Athens, Georgia. I turned down the job offer I had received from Georgetown University Law Library in Washington, D.C. I did so for a variety of reasons which I would be glad to share with you off Blog if you are interested, but won't bother with here and now. Mainly quality of life and cost of living issues. I'm sorry about the impersonal nature of this announcement, but it seemed the fastest and easiest way to reach all of you without multiple phone calls and e-mails. As I am still trying to recover from my weekend in San Francisco and from this decision making process.

I had a great time in SF with about 13 of my old St. John's friends from my years there 1974-1978. I saw some of them nine years ago, but others I hadn't seen for as many as 27 years! We all stayed together at a really cute hotel right near Chinatown called Hotel des Artes. We all had painted rooms. Check mine out.

I hope to post some photos soon. I didn't take any, but others did and I'll share a few when I get them.

Now that I am home Jim is off to Moscow for almost a week. He leaves on Saturday and returns on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cutting the cake

We had a lelo and stitch cake for Emma's 6th birtday party on the 8th of October. It was yummy as you can see.

Emma hula dancing at her 6th birthday party

The girls learning to hula dance

Emma turned six last Friday, October 7. We had a luau theme party with twelve 5 and 6 year old girls. They did the limbo, ate cake and ice cream, opened presents and also learned to hula dance wearing costumes including grass skirts and leis. They all paid so much attention to the great video I bought and really enjoyed the dancing. It was great to watch. The adults looked on and sipped mimosas. All in all a very successful event. Here's a photo or two.

Dr. Helen

Great blog -- check it out: Dr. Helen

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Photos from our visit to the Rees Family

Gavin playing with his light saber while Wendy and I look at scrapbooks

My Godson Gavin age 6

Gavin and Morgan waiting for the bus to day camp

Back from Stone Harbor and Taiwan

Well, we are all home again and getting back into the routine of school and work. Emma began Kindergarden on Monday -- but since she is still at the Athens Montessori School this was less new than changing schools and because they have three years grouped together in classrooms she is now in the third year in the Purple Room which is one of five Primary classes for 3-6 year olds. She was very excited to start school again and see her teachers.

Today was her first ballet class of the year at the Athens School of Ballet, and she has moved up to a "real" ballet class -- Level IA. The last two years she has been in Pre-Ballet and now she is in Ballet Technique. She is thrilled to be in the big studio and to have Miss Erika again and now assistant teacher. When I peeked in at the end of class Miss Erika was doing the steps behind them as they all looked in the mirror and she was calling out the names of steps to them. It was neat and Emma was following along just fine.

Jim is still jet lagged, but by all accounts he had a marvelous time in Taiwan and learned a great deal and loved the country. He took tons of photos and I haven't even looked at all of yet. I wish he had had more notice so I could have gone with him for part of the time. I was happy to get my Jersey Shore time in though. A Summer doesn't seem complete without going to Stone Harbor. We did all the usual thigns: ate lots of homemade ice cream at Springers, played mini-golf, went to the water park and to the Boardwalk in Wildwood, and ate lobster and fresh local corn on the cob. I also painted pottery for the first time which I really enjoyed. We had good weather for almost all the days so we got to swim and to walk and play on the beach a lot. Emma and I also took a overnight jaunt up to see my Godson Gavin and his family in Princeton. He is 5 months older than Emma and his sister Morgan is 2 years older than that so the kids had a great time playing together and having a sleep over and Wendy and I got to catch up and look at her scrapbooks and scrapbooking stuff -- a new hobby of mine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Off to the Jersey Shore

Well I am off to Stone Harbor, NJ tomorrow to join Emma who is already at Grandma's house there. I am looking forward to a week or so away, walking on the beach and catching up with Mom, Aunt Kate and Uncle Ron. I am taking Maggie (our Pug Dog) with me and we take a day and a half to drive up. We are going through Norfolk, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and then up the DelMarVa peninsula and taking the ferry from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey. It's actually not Maggie's first ferry ride -- she took it with us last Summer -- not that she enjoyed it that much. She mostly sat on my lap because she didn't like the vibration of the ferry boat. I've included a photo above of Emma at the beach in Stone Harbor in the Summer of 2000. Hard to remember her when she was that small isn't it?

Monday, August 1, 2005

News from Jim in Taiwan

Here's an excerpt from Jim's latest e-mail -- I've also included a photo of the Longshan Temple from the Web.
Greetings from the far side of the world,

Fine weekend. Charles [one of the other fellows] and I spent most of Saturday at the
National Palace Museum, where all of China's art treasures
are on display (including the ones from the mainland, which,
ahem, found their way here from the Forbidden City here
along with the Nationalists). Really splendid.

On the way back, a few hours at the Shilin Night Market, a
quarter of town where merchants set up dumpy little shops,
carts with cheap Chinese food -- not sure there's any other
kind here -- and you jostle with zillions of other Taiwanese
to look at the merchandise. Much like the suq over in the
Middle East, except with beer and without prayer.

Yesterday, on my own, spent the afternoon at Longshan
Temple, the most amazing Buddhist shrine -- every inch of
the building is an artwork. Interesting difference here is
that the temples are actually in use -- incense sticks
everywhere -- whereas under the communists they're just
museums. Reportedly Taiwan is a very religious country, and
the Presbyterians seem to be the leading Christian

Then, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial for the changing of the
guard. It's in Taipei's central park, where a farmer's
market featuring really bad entertainment was underway.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A hot July weekend in Athens

Emma and I survived our Mother /Daughter weekend. It was hot and sunny on Saturday so we headed to the outdoor pool at UGA. It's a huge pool and has two shallow ends with lap lands across the middle where it is deeper. There's a covered area with picnic tables and plenty of shade too. We ran into several of Emma's school friends so she had people to play pretend with and I had adult conversation so it was a success and we ended up staying for over four hours and probably getting too much sun.

Today we went to see the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie starring Johnny Depp. Charlie was played by the same cute British boy who played opposite Depp in Finding Neverland and he was perfect. I went in expecting not to like it as much as the "original" Gene Wilder version entitled Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but instead I enjoyed it very much -- probably more than Emma did -- though it was just fine for kids -- nothing more weird or odd than the other version. It's really impossible to compare the two as they are just different -- like oranges and apples. I haven't read the book so can't tell which was more true to the book. I do know that I and most of the audience couldn't stop laughing when we were introduced to Violet Beauregard and her mother from Atlanta, Georgia (about 70 miles away) -- they were just such perfectly drawn charactures.

After we headed home Emma helped me fold laundry and load the washing machine and dryer. It's such fun to watch her get a kick out of ho humm household chores that are just a bother for me -- it makes it fun again for me too.

She also took some photos with her camera and I'm including one of me talking on the phone. It could be just that I'm her mother, but I do think she has a good eye.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What kind of English do you speak?

I took this interesting quiz I just happened to run into on the Web. Turns out I am not even slightly Midwestern -- well that is no surprise. I do seem to be fairly evenly balanced? or maybe conflicted? between dixie and yankee, but mostly generic American English. Try it out yourself and let me know how you do.

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

35% Yankee

20% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We highly recommend the movie "Finding Neverland"

Jim and I watched a wonderful movie last night called "Finding Neverland" with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. It was about J.M. Barrie and his friendship with the Davies family who served as part of his inspiration for Peter Pan. I can't recommend it highly enough. We rented it from Netflix and I am going to watch it again this weekend with Emma. It is certainly appropriate for some younger viewers as there is no sex, no violence and lots of neat scenes depicting J.M. Barrie's staged plays and looks inside his Imagination. It also deals with the issue of death in a very mature way without being maudlin at all and without delivering platitudes, religious or otherwise -- and also without talking down to children (the Davies boys have recently lost their father when the movie opens). Johnny Depp was fantastic -- whatever you think of him personally he is one of todays best actors. I'm also inspired to go back and watch "Don Juan DeMarco."

I also just read a really good New Yorker article "Lost Boys" by Anthony Lane from last Fall when the movie originally came out. It's longish, but gave just the amount of information I wanted to know how much of the movie was fact and how much was fiction and some background on Barrie. Don't read it before you see the movie -- it might spoil it!

Right now, Jim is enroute to Taiwan on a flight to Los Angeles. He arrives sometime tomorrow both here and in Taiwan -- they are 12 hours ahead which is easy to remember, but difficult for getting in touch with the person while he is awake.

I bought Emma a small present yesterday which was on sale at my favorite store in downtown Athens -- Helix. It is a colorful 12 by 18 inch or some cardboard chart which hangs on the wall and has nine dials that represent "Good Habits". After you have done one of them you turn the dial and there is a word of praise or congratulations on the back. You can also customize the "habits" using additional stickers that came with and to make it even more exciting for Emma there were even more stickers to decorate it with. I think she went to be early last night just so that she could turn the "Went to bed on time" dial earlier. I wonder how long this will work as a motivational factor. I know the sticker chore chart wasn't very effective so we will see. I have been telling her that she needs to be my even better about helping out for the next few weeks while Daddy's is away and that I need her as my helper.

Hope you are all having a great day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Jim's off to Taiwan

In case we haven't told all of you -- Jim is off to Taipai, Taiwan for a month and leaves tomorrow. He's been awarded a Democratic Pacific Union fellowship to study there and will researching and writing an essay about "U.S. and Taiwanese maritime strategy in the rapidly evolving East Asian security environment." He will be affiliated with the National Chengchi University, Institute of International Relations while he is there and will be living on campus. Emma, Maggie and I will miss him, but it's a great opportunity. We're looking forward to exchanging e-mails and hearing all about it and also seeing photos when he returns. You can reach him at his earthlink e-mail account.

Meanwhile Emma has two weeks of Summer Camp at Athens Montessori before she heads of to the Jersey Shore to stay with her Grandma for a couple of weeks before school starts again on August 22. I'm going to join her for 10 days right at the end which I am also looking forward to.

Hope you are all doing well -- I also wanted to recommend the movie "Sideways". Jim and I both really enjoyed it and laughed outloud and enjoyed our glasses of wine while they enjoyed theirs -- and no we weren't drinking Merlot, but we were drinking Chardonnay!

Best wishes!

Friday, July 15, 2005

More about our trip to California

Friday evening Jim headed off to the rehearsal at the church in Rancho Palos Verdes about a half hour away. I decided that I wasn't needed at the rehearsal and headed off to the hotels outdoor pool for some relaxation and swimming. After I had been there awhile I ran in to our friends the Winners, minus Drew who was also at the rehearsal. It was great to see Charlie and James and Ann again. All of us meet up again at the rehearsal dinner which was held at a private banquet/restaurant place right on the water in San Pedro where we had delicious salmon. There were lots of toasts and speeches made by Toshi's family and friends of the family and he had to work very hard translating them. My favorite part was when he was translating his mother's speech in Chinese and translated one bit as "lots of embarrassing compliments about me..." He refused to clarify this later.

After the dinner we delivered our Japanese guests back to the hotel and then went back downtown to meet Toshi and Susan and the "younger" set at the Sheraton to do Karaoke. It was a blast to see and hear Toshi and Susan do the duet of the 70s Carpenters song "Why do birds suddenly appear every time you draw near...." complete with a dance in the interlude. I did get up with one of the groomsmen and his fiance who I had just met and sing "Go Greased Lightening". We were terrible, but had fun. We all packed it in and went home about one in the morning.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Photos from our trip to California for Toshi's wedding

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share some photos from our trip to California for Toshi and Susan's wedding. We headed out on Thursday the 7th and landed at John Wayne Airport in Orange County then drove up to San Pedro/Port of Los Angles to check into the wedding hotel -- The Marina Hotel. It was lovely and had a Mediterranean feel. The weather was just to terrific and it was wonderful to feel chilly and to be able to open up the window in the hotel and let FRESH air in. We had time Thursday afternoon to explore the area around the hotel and went out to the Pt. Fermin lighthouse which stands in a lovely city park overlooking the Pacific. Then it was off to a BBQ at Susan's sister and brother-in-law's house. They lived very nearby in San Pedro about a block from greenway on top of the cliffs by the ocean in a cute house which reminded us off lots of the places we see all the time on the show House Hunters on HGTV. All the guest who were in from out of town were invited and there must have been 50 or so people and lots of kids.

On Friday the guys went off to get the tuxs and afterwards Jim and I headed off to Long Beach which was right next to San Pedro and looked around the water front and explored a used books store which was billed as the second largest in California. We had a relaxing late lunch overlooking the harbor -- my favorite thing to do is sitting outside eating delicious food and drinking a glass of wine -- well if the weather is right and it was the same as the gorgeous weather we had atop the hill in Italy last year.

I'll write more later -- but have to go now -- enjoy the photos.

Here's the more modest view from our hotel window. We could see everyone coming and going and hear them too!  Posted by Picasa

Beautfiul flowes outside the church. They matched the bridesmaid's dresses perfectly. Posted by Picasa

The bride and groom: Mr and Mrs Toshi Yoshihara Posted by Picasa

Hanging out after the wedding waiting to have photo's taken. (L to R: Susan's nephew the ring bearer, Jim, Drew and Christian) Posted by Picasa

Groomsmen hanging out before the wedding with the Father and Brother of the pride. (L to R: Jon, Susan's Dad, Susan's brother Dan, Christian and Jim) Posted by Picasa

Jim and I dressed for the wedding. It was an incredibly beautiful day with temps in the mid 70s, a breeze, no humidity and sunshine.  Posted by Picasa

Toshi's family and friends. His parents are on the left and Toshi is in the middle standing next to his Uncle from Taiwan. Posted by Picasa