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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

Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro, CA. It was surrounded by a gorgeous Victorian English Garden and has a view out over the Pacific towards Catalina Island Posted by Picasa

Boats in the Marina. This was the view from one side of the hotel Posted by Picasa

Beth by John Wayne at the Orange County Airport aka John Wayne Airport Posted by Picasa