hot tubbin'
kevin and i just got out of his awesome hot tub. we were in there for about an hour. yvonne was busy working in the closet, and she cooked chili and planted some plants outside. the mcclards are good for nuthin'.
hangin' in houston
All decked out with my cowgirl boots on down here in houston. nice to finally be in sunnier climes. Kevin, my brother, and his wife, Yvonne, live here in some very fancy digs. This is my first visit ever to his house, so I really had no idea what to expect. He just put in a new swimming pool and spa that we were able to enjoy last night. He has one on Michael's paintings that I have always loved, "Woman with a Yellow Face." I saw Michael working on this painting in his studio in 1985.

Yvonne made us a wonderful dinner. It started with a pureed carrot soup, then we had kabobs, tomatoes, and hummus. Yvonne is Lebonese-Mexican, and she is gorgeous. How my brother got her is a mystery to me! I guess "Beauty and the Beast" are no fairy tale

We are off to San Antonio this morning, where I will be doing a volunteer training for the project that I am working on for the Mathematics Association of America.
states and capitols
Zoe is tasked with the arduous work of learning all of the states and capitols by next Tuesday. She actually is not too bad at this, even though her short term memory isn't very good. In helping her study for this I am astounded by the variety of places out there on the web where one can find study tools for things like this. One of my personal favorites are the Flash-based flashcards. Here is a link to one: States and Capitols flash cards. There are also a number of games one can play that involve finding places on maps. States and capitols game.
I hate sanctimonius spam, especially intergenerational sanctimonious spam. You know what I am talking about: the emails that you get from your "older" aunts, uncles, parents, and some of their friends. I received this one yesterday from a contemporary. Yeah, yeah, yeah, all of this is true, but so what? I am sure that our children will be saying something similar to their children and grandchildren.

KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

  • First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
  • They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
  • Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
  • We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
  • As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
  • Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
  • We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
  • We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
  • We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
  • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
  • We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
  • We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
  • We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
  • We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
  • We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
  • We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
  • The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
  • This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
  • The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
  • We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
rainy days
driving in the rain,
deafening sound,
drumming, drowning, tunnel.

news blares from the radio.
dead soldiers walk the streets of bagdad
looking for a way home.
dead iraqis watch,

dying leaders,
under the knife,
threaten peace.

Finding the muse
So, today is the first day this week that I actually have time to work on my new novel. Instead, I am rattling around, doing the dishes, cleaniing my email box (much needed), and generally just farting around. I have wrestled considerably with what I want to write next, and so, have settled on two different things that I will work on alternately, depending on my mood. One is a serious novel dealing with serious timely issues--a real downer, and the other is an upbeat romantic comedy. First, I decided not to work on the serious one at all, given the rainy season and my natural depressive tendencies. I figured I could work on it only if I let myself go the other way, to the completely superfluous and fluffy side of things. Ken maintains that one can be "serious" and write a romantic comedy. In my case that will remain to be seen.

Rain and more rain
Okay, so we had a little argument today about how much it really rains in Portland. The High Country Gardens catalog put our rainfall at 50-60 inches. I said it wasn't that high (and it isn't). The average is about 36, which isn't that horrible as a statistic. Then, Ken found this picture that really shows what our life is like:

This is the chance of rain from January to January. The threat of rain itself is oppressive by itself.

State of the states
This is the same sort of thing as before, only for the states. I think I have been to Louisiana and Alabama as a kid, but since I can't remember it, I didn't count it.

create your own visited states

Where in the world...
Ken sent me this link where you check off the countries/states you have visited. For what it is worth, here is my map.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands
New Year's Day
today is the 10th anniversary of my father's death. Hard to believe.

last night we tried to go listen to music at trinity. when we got there it was totally packed so we headed to block buster and rented some videos to wait out the new year. first, we watched the fantastic 4, which to my way of thinking was not a fantastic movie. the kids liked it though. after that we watched a christmas carol. it turned out to be a musical. it was bazaar, gilbert and sullivanesque. kind of a mockery of dickens, if you ask me, but enjoyable just the same. it ended right at midnight. martha, tim, and the kids came over to clink glasses and set off fireworks. after that we all went to bed.