Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Christmastime in Darbun, MS

It is no secret that I have been greatly looking forward to going to see my family in Mississippi for the holiday. It is also no secret that I can say, without trying to brag too much, that I happen to think that my family is one of the coolest families around. Christmas in Mississippi reminded me of this once again. In my family, although I am the second of three sisters, I love how Christmas in Mississippi means waking up in the morning, taking a shower, and then absolutely not bothering to look in a mirror for the rest of the day. It means engaging in such feminine activities as tractor riding, gator riding, shooting, golfing and Wii playing as exhibited by the following:


Sarah and Melissa play baseball on the Wii that we got my parents for their respective birthdays.
Sarah practices her golf drives into the wind in my parents' backyard.

Here is where the real fun begins when Dad brings out the 22 (Jordan is pictured trying it out here). Although it may look like we are expert, we never shot guns when we were growing up except on that rare occasion when visiting family in Mississippi. Now, however, we all look to be seen as expert marksman, and spent much of the afternoon the day after Christmas adjusting our aim against a line of soda bottles and cans.

The time spent with a firearm also gave us the opportunity to learn more about one another. One piece of information I learned about my husband is that apparently, he likes shooting guns so much that he recently took his team from work in Seattle to a shooting range. For the urban yuppies that we are, I don't know whether I should be concerned by this or not.

Here I am doing my best to exhibit the classic definition of the word "hipshot."


Sarah's wonderful friend Helen, who works with Sarah at Harvard in Boston, but who is originally from the UK shared Christmas with us. I am sure her British family will be quite concerned when they see these firearm shots. It is precisely the kind of thing that those Brits find particularly appalling about us Yanks.

Just to make sure that the worst of American stereotypes was firmly cemented in pictures for Helen's family to see, my dad next brought out the Glock. I have to admit, this wasn't my first time shooting a Glock. I shot this same kind of gun back in my New York days, not roughing people up in the mean streets of the Bronx, but rather, at the Police Training Facility at City Island and also at the NYPD Ballistics Lab in Queens. For Sarah, pictured above, it was a new experience.

For the record, I would like to note that we followed the best possible gun safety practices, including protective earwear when shooting the pistol as seen above. As I was told by an NYPD officer at the training facility, "A gun is just like any other tool - like a blender or something. It is only dangerous when used incorrectly." I pause, to let you take that statement in.....




Back to slightly less dangerous activities, the time in Mississippi also gave my dad the opportunity to teach us to drive his new tractor, including a demonstration of picking up dirt from piles. Pictured below is Melissa, giving it a try:


It also gave us the opportunity to endulge in another favorite Street family activity - "Gator Ridin'".



Wait, who is that cute little puppy that I am holding in the shot above, you ask. Well, that is Knightley, our new puppy and the newest addition to the Street family. He officially joined the clan on December 24, 2008. He promptly set out fitting in and leaving his mark, literally.



Here is Mom introducing Knightley to Ralph. Although Ralph is more of a people dog than a dog's dog, I appreciate his patience in dealing with a very curious little puppy. (Sidenote: if you are a dog lover, you might want to think twice about seeing the movie Marley & Me. We made the mistake of seeing it on Christmas day, and Melissa and I bawled our eyes out so much, that we will still sobbing upon exiting the theater, the entire hour car ride back to the farm, and after we were home as well. It made us think about the mortality of Ralph, who is such a fantastic dog and who we know is starting to have some serious health problems. Here I go crying again as I am typing this. Fortunately, my mom went to the Tom Cruise Nazi movie with Sarah and Helen. If she would have seen Marley & Me with us, then she similarly would have been a wreck.)
Here is more evidence of my mom's affection for the canine variety:



Most of all, what made this Christmas so fantastic is the opportunity to spend time with my family, the people I love most. Melissa and Jordan gifted to my parents a fantastic outdoor fire pit that we made use of on a breezy warm evening. We cooked hotdogs and smores, talked, and sang along to our favorite songs. The evening was one of the best I can recall of recent memory.






Three loud huzzahs for the opportunity to spend Christmas together at a place already filled with happy memories.







Sunday, December 21, 2008

Contemplating Christmas

I am very excited for us to go to Mississippi in a couple of days and spend Christmas with my family. Of course, picking up our new puppy will also make this trip very exciting. In the meantime, we have been preparing for the Christmas season here in DC. We put up a tree and displayed our lovely African Gourd Nativity Scene -

Last night we visited the National Christmas Tree. How do I put this delicately . . . I was not impressed. I imagined that it would be much, much larger (having seen the Christmas tree at Rockafeller Center, my expectation is that National Christmas Tree would at least try to compete). Also, the tree was sort of lumpy. I wasn't expecting that.

I did enjoy the fifty states' trees display. They were very festive. My favorite was North Carolina, whose tree was decorated by children at Discovery Place, in Charlotte, a science museum we loved as kids. One of the ornaments displayed one of our favorite childhood adventures - Tweetsie Railroad in the Mountains of North Carolina.

Despite my lack of awe of the tree, the visit still managed to get me in a Christmas mood. The Christmas songs helped. And also, while their Christmas tree may not be impressive, they did manage to get the most impressive, authentic looking Santa Claus around. I didn't get a picture of him, because there were far too many people around him.




We also stopped for a moment, since we were in the neighborhood, to contemplate the future of this place:


Sometimes, I just love living in DC. This day helped - we also visited a great exhibit about the recovered art of Pompeii earlier in the day. Sidenote, and not to brag, but how great is it to walk to a fantastic museum exhibit (which is free) from your apartment. Lovely.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I love Roy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Unseasonably So

Here are some pictures my mom sent me of the crazy snow they had in Southern Mississippi today. They had about five inches at my parents' house which is just unbelievable...






It was up to Ralph's knees I tell you! I wish I could have been there to see it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No Stamps Required

I have been trying to organize the boxes in our spare room, because the clutter of boxes, months after we have moved in, is really starting to drive me crazy. However, organization projects like these are very time consuming for me. I spend too much time going through the boxes of old essays, tests, school assignments, and various writing projects that I feel the need to save. However, what take up the most time for me, because I give them such a detailed reading, are my stacks and stacks of old, unsent letters to people. When I was in high school and in college I frequently would stay up late in the evenings writing letters to people that I knew I would never send. It was my way of communicating what I knew I could never actually say. Maybe in the back of my mind too, I had this idea that one day someone would really care to know what I had been thinking and feeling during those awkward years. Perhaps, I thought, I would be a famous writer and literary critics, scholars and fans would pour over my letters trying to understand my formative years and the emotions that shaped my life. It was a very naive notion. Certainly, no one is interested in the formative years of a law librarian.

Nonetheless, even though I only read the letters every 3-5 years, when I get the craving to clean and organize, I am happy that I have been so insistent on saving them. Because I am so intent on practicality these days, it is nice to be reminded of a time when feeling came first and idealism was the order of the day. Sometimes the total melodrama that I inflicted upon myself is completely grating, but endearing as well. When I am old and gray, I will know that I felt things deeply.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Nothing like a Good Arrest of a Politician..

To warm the soul during this holiday time of year. Here is a link to the criminal complaint of Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, who apparently, was selling just about everything affiliated with state government short of the Illinois capital building itself.

Another corrupt politician, it just warms my little heart.

Fire Jon Favreau Now!

This story came out over the weekend, but I am so disgusted, I wanted to post this now. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/12/obama-favreau.html

This 27 year old Frat jerk, who writes great words for Obama to speak needs to be fired by President-elect Obama now. This behavior is so offensive and certainly confirms that there are some incredibly disrespectful sexists among his closest advisors. Maybe Hillary can be quick to forgive, perhaps feeling that she has to since she is now a cabinet nominee, but for the sake of every other woman in America, Obama needs to clearly signify that this 27 year old's behavior has no place in his administration. I don't care if he was at a party, if he was drunk, whatever - the fact that this jerk thinks that he can act this way in any forum is evidence of his own inflated sense of self as well as his lack of respect for all women, much less a woman who is trying to serve this country.

And why isn't there more of an outcry over this? The best CNN could muster is, "Obama Speechwriter Favreau Learns the Perils of Facebook," as if somehow, it is Facebook's fault that this guy is Misogynist in Chief.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Worthy of Consideration

Regardless of whether you want to call it a rescue, bailout, or whatever - this report, detailing that as many as 3.3 million US jobs will be lost if the US automakers fail (from the Economic Policy Institute), is worthy of a look. Then, you need to decide whether or not to call your Representative or Senator and tell them that it is worth it or not. Or you could just decide to go out and but a new car built by one of the big three automakers. It is your decision.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some things never change

For example, how women continue to fare worse in terms of personal wealth. New studies point this never-changing condition out. However, generally, men on their own seem to do just fine.

People who act like gender differences in pay and wealth do not exist, simply are not apprised of reality.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

There is a reason I have a hard time with the youth of today

This report about the Ethics of America's Youth pretty much points out the problems that I have with the youth of today. Newsflash: statistics report that the ethics of the youth of America is getting worse, or rather, that few are operating by any real ethical code. Although most youth respond that "It is important to be a person of good character", fewer and fewer of them are actually not cheating, stealing, and lying in general. So I am not sure what "good character" means to them.