Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve Report

Finally after three weeks of freezing weather it started to warm up in Springfield, and it was time for us to drive down to St. Louis for Christmas.

This is the third year in a row that we have come down to St. Louis to have a Christmas with my St. Louis family (my mother and step-father). My sister Jennell brings her family from New York as well.

As a Baha'i Family, we still celebrate Christmas, at least when we are in the United States where it is a traditional family holiday. I think if we were in Taiwan with Jeri's family we wouldn't make so much of it. I remember I didn't make a big deal of it on Christmas 1990 or 1991 when I was in Taiwan.

Saint Louis is a great town to visit. And it's always a pleasure to visit my parents and see my sister and her family. So, I'm feeling pretty good.

I'm spending much of my time working on a calendar project for some friends or reading about human nature.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

December 20

Yesterday was a fairly slow day. It was too cold. I think it was -15 C when I woke up.

Went to the office to try finishing up grading student papers. There are still a few in my on-line course who haven't turned anything in for the final assignment. I'm waiting.

Went to a party for some friends from the Philosophy Department. Met Gary and Karen, Nathalie, and Eve (Peter's wife), as well as John from the philosophy department. It was a good scene and I was enjoying myself, but after only 30 minutes I had to come home and take the family to the Cub Scout pack meeting. Arthur carried the pack flag in, which is a big honor for a Tiger Cub Scout. The pack meeting was fun.

Last night I wrote a long post to Talisman9, a newgroup listserve I read regularly.

Today (the 20th) I'm helping clean up the house and prepare some gifts. While sorting photographs I came across some good pictures of old friends. There was a nice image of Henry Lee, a high school friend who died of brain cancer who died about six years ago. The photograph was taken at my sister Jennell's high school graduation. I'm glad Henry's family keeps in touch with us.

I'll spend the afternoon in the office finishing up some loose ends from the Fall semester (I hope the students have turned in their final assignments), and get to work on the courses I'm teaching next semester. I also must remember to buy a car battery. I've given up on maintaining my older car (a 1988 Honda Accord with 163,xxx miles), as it would cost thousands to make it nice and I'd rather just save for a different car. My grandfather's car (1995 Honda Accord), however, get's good care (over $1000 worth of good care this month!) We've had it since 2000, when my grandparents died. Anyway, if I don't get a new battery for it soon, one of these mornings I won't be able to start it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

First Post

I've decided to start my 39th year (I'm 38 today) with a family web log. I look forward to posting news and photographs of the family here.

Today was my birthday, although we did most of the celebrating yesterday. The gifts were exciting. I received two laundry containers where I can throw my clothing at night when I undress, and then use these amazing inventions to easily carry my clothing downstairs to the place of washing. I also received a mirror with medicine cabinet to replace the mirror that had been over our sink in one of the upstairs bathrooms. There was also a little storage thing to put in the wall where we may now hang towels and place shampoo bottles. But this was not all. I also received a watch, a warm, white synthetic fleece pullover, a white scarf, a white hat, and an artificial Christmas Tree. I also gave myself several books and music CDs. These included a couple books by historians Christopher Buck and Juan Cole, a book about 'Abdu'l-Baha edited by Steve Scholl, and some books about human nature to possibly use in creating lectures for the class I'll be teaching next semester. The Music CDs include Rimsky-Korsakov's opus 30, a Piano Concerto in C sharp minor that I previously only had as a scratchy version I digitized off an old album I loved as a child. A recording of Carmina Burana by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, a couple CDs of the New Age group Secret Garden (like Enya), A couple Litolff piano concerti, Sharon Isbin playing baroque pieces on guitar, Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale, the singles of Jesus and Mary Chain, and Orchestra Baobab "Specialist in All Styles". The Rimsky-Korsakov and Orchestra Baobab are my favorites among these, although it's also great to hear the Jesus and Mary Chain stuff from the 1980s again.

Went to church with my parents this morning, but attended Sunday school with them. I did that fairly often when we lived in St. Louis, but since we moved to Illinois I haven't been back so often. Today the topic was forgiveness. There was a fantastic aphorism I hope to long remember shared in this class: "Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person gets sick."

After church we went to watch my nephew Brett play an indoor soccer game. His team is amazingly good. A bunch of third graders who play better than I ever did in high school. Sebastian and Arthur enjoyed watching their cousin Brett play. He had spent last night with us down in St. Louis.

Bought Jeri a ticket to go back to Taiwan for a month (mid January to mid February). She'll be gone from the time I get back from the SSWR conference (Society for Social Work Research) until we pick her up in Chicago just as the CSWE conference begins up there (Council on Social Work Education). It would be nice if we could all go back to Taiwan for Chinese New Year, but our work and school schedules don't allow it. We're planning on all going back in June for a month, God willing.