Friday, May 02, 2003

Visit From a Friend

Dear Julia,
Today is Friday, May 2. I didn't post right away this morning because my computer didn't come on. Turns out my new APC Backups is dead. They are going to send me a new one. This is kind of scary because we have power failures here every once in a while from the construction. Sometimes the power will go off just for a few minutes and then other times it can be an hour or more.
Lois A is here. She's taught me all but the last song in the beginner piano book she brought. She swears I'll be able to play some basic ragtime before she leaves on Sunday morning. HA! I've always said just teach me enough piano to be able to play ragtime...
We're going out for lunch now. She wants to try the Indian place Mom and Dad and I went to a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Practice Jumping the Shark

Twins 12-14 Braves 17-10
I think the TV show "The Practice" has really Jumped The Shark now. Actually...last week.
"Jumping the Shark" is when a TV show has reached it's peak. It's all downhill from there. You've enjoyed it all along, maybe there were some episodes that were a little questionable, but for the most part you keep watching.
But then the show makes a change and it never seems the same again. Maybe they kill off a favorite character, like Jimmy Schmits on "NYPD Blue", or add a new person, like Shemp on "The Three Stooges". Remember when they added Cousin Oliver to "The Brady Bunch"?
"The Practice", I think, took a 3 step approach to jumping the shark. First, the shark started thinking about going up to see what the world was like when they moved the show from Sunday night to Monday night. Then, they broke up the partnership of Lindsay and Bobby. She moved across the hall and started up on her own. That was the shark taking the leap.
But I think the shark hit the top of his leap into the air last week when Bobby slept with the old girlfriend. That episode actually wasn't too bad until the very last camera shot, showing him in bed with her. Up to that point we had a serial killer killing another serial killer and Lindsay forsaking attorney-client privilege to save a life. Not bad.
But I'm done. Didn't even turn it on this week.
I only have 5 shows left to watch now. "American Dreams", which I'm afraid is doomed because it's just too good and I don't know anyone else who is watching "Homefront" was. I'm still watching "West Wing", "Survivor", "CSI" (not the Miami one) and "Without A Trace".
Bad thing is, when there are so few that I watch, I am able to keep up with them all winter. So this summer I won't be catching any other shows on reruns.
Cassie and Peggy are considering dropping "24" because they can't take it anymore. They said they end up every episode with big headaches because each episode ends in a big cliffhanger. My advice to them is: wait until it comes out on DVD. Then just have a big marathon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: My New Farm

Twins 10-14 Braves 15-10
Comments from yesterday: My Dad wrote in to say he's working on tearing down his old garden shed so he can erect a new one. Wanted me to pass on to Nate that "No, he is not putting a bathroom in it". He also is lamenting the absence of chocolate marshmallow anythings.
I did buy a box of Malomars yesterday. The Bob the Builders were good and whetted my appetite for more. I figure each day I ride my bike on my new 5-mile route, I will reward myself with 2 Malomars.
Julia wrote in to say that Michael, the middle nephew shown below, looks strikingly similar to Mensa Boy when he was younger and had his hair permed or longer. She thinks she has a photo of MB looking like that. She's digging around for it. If either of us find it, I'll post it. She also reported that her dinner of Halibut stuffed with brie, crab and apples and cooked on cedar planks was a wild success at Jeff's birthday party. The kids had hot dogs, and the adults entertained themselves by watching Jacob peeling the skin off his hot dogs. Yes, our family really knows how to have a good time!
I went to meet my new farmer last night. Many of you know that I was a shareholder for several years with Big Woods Farm in Northfield, MN. I was also their webmaster. Big Woods Farm, and my new farm, New Town Farm, are part of the CSA movement. CSA=Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, each spring I fork over about $500 and then all through the growing season I receive weekly baskets of organically-grown vegetables. My money is really stretching far with this new farm, as the growing season goes from May 1 to Thanksgiving. In Minnesota it went essentially from June 1 to Labor Day.
Big Woods Farm is all shareholders, no farmers market work or extra stuff like that. Dave and Laurie Hougen-Eitzman do a wonderful job supporting around 70 shares, with the assistance of an intern. Dave is a professor at Carlton College in Northfield. Their farm is next to Nerstrand State Park South of Northfield. They are surrounded by big farms that grow crops for commercial use.
New Town Farm is a totally different deal. Sammy Koenigsburg went to school to be an architect and then sort of fell into farming when his Dad wanted to divest himself of this piece of property in Union County, North Carolina. Sammy started by selling produce to a few small stores and then got involved with organizing the Matthews Farmers Market, was approached by some big chefs in Charlotte about growing stuff for them, and then the rest is history. New Town Farm has only about 20 shareholders. We essentially benefit from the stuff the restaurants want. They want high-faluting fingerling potatoes, so we'll get them too. They want watermelon radishes, so we'll get them too. They also raise some free-range chickens and a few turkeys and have dabbled in beekeeping. They have a lovely, resort-type setting with a stocked fish pond. Their farm is rapidly being surrounded by subdivisions.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: "Blood Covenant" & "Leap of Faith"

Twins 10-14 Braves 15-10
A few days ago I finished reading Blood Covenant: The Michael Franzese Story. This is an autobiography. Franzese was a mob boss and now is a Christian and the founder of Breaking Out, LLC.
I'm a fan of "The Sopranos". I don't have HBO, but I've watched the first 3 seasons on DVD. This book reads like an episode of the Sopranos without the comedy. Franzese's self-portrait is one of a man who is gifted in business and pretty much ends up being involved with the mob because his father was and all his father's friends are associated with him. He makes it sound like he sort of fell into it. Franzese does not dodge responsibility for his involvement, but he doesn't really sound overly remorseful. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I think if he'd written the book too apologetically, it wouldn't have been as a good to read.
I'm working on Queen Noor's autobiography now. Called "Leap of Faith," the book is heavy with Jordanian history and the Arab side of the Palestinian/Israeli problem. If you are looking for a story about an American suddenly becoming Queen of Jordan, and want the story to sound like a fairy tale, this might not be the book for you. But if you are interested in reading about Middle East politics from an Arab viewpoint, this is an excellent book.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Gone to Carolina Archive: Everyone Else

Today's blog is all about everyone else...not us.
Here is a picture of the other our nephews, Jim & Anne's guys. Anne writes that They had these photos taken for their Canadian Citizenship Cards. So now they have official dual citizenship for life. See photo on old blog

I also have a picture of my cousin Wayne's new baby colt: Yup. Photo on old blog
Lila writes He was born Friday, April 25th. They haven't picked out a name yet. He's a registered Appaloosa. I can't wait to get over there to see him!
And my old high school and college friend, Mary F also sent some comments. She says her family just returned from a cruise to the Grand Caymons and Cozumel. Right after returning they traveled back to Farmington for celebrate Mary's Mother Marilyn's 75th birthday. Sister Cindy even came back from London to attend the open house. Happy Birthday Marilyn! Oh and for the record, Mary thinks perhaps there is a marshallow shortage...explaining the lack of chocolate covered ones. Good theory Mary, but apparently you don't remember ever eating my Mom's chocolate cake with homemade marshmallow frosting! Just karo syrup and some other stuff...
And finally, from "brother" Becky...
We are in the middle of prom week here in Litchfield and are starting to wear down. Can't believe that Stacy is as old as she is. She is pretty excited about the whole event and we know she will look like a fairy princess and are hoping she has a good time. Mike and the kids are all busy with golf. With Kayti now joining her older siblings it makes for fun golf talk around our table. It is so fun having a common interest with our kids. The next thing for us is the band season and the swim club season. Both of those are enough to keep our heads spinning. Mike keeps saying that we are at the pinnacle and we are trying to enjoy each moment.
You know Beck, that's a very healthy perspective to have about the kids. I should also use that thinking those days when Nate forgets to turn in his homework ....these are the best days of our lives!