Friday, February 29, 2008

Ripple Blanket, Part One

I began my Ripple Blanket today - woohoo! I'm making this....

With this....

More on Monday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Puppy Update

Since my last post was a bit....negative, I'm going to try to lighten the mood. It's been a while since I last talked about my parent's puppies, Cody and Max. I went to East Texas this past weekend and saw them - unfortunately, I did not get any pictures. If I had, they would have been blurry; the two monsters are never unmoving.

Cody is HUGE! Though we were told he's pure Sheltie, we think he's got the DNA of a horse. He's not the brightest dog in Texas, but I don't think he's quite the dumbest. I think he's finally learned his name which is an improvement. Max is the dachshund and he's pure dachshund. That nose of his is going to get him into serious trouble. There's no doubt that this dog is the new king of the pen, despite Mikey's mature age. Cody cannot stand to be away from the wily dachshund. Maybe they're gay.

Anyways, on that drizzly, miserable Saturday, mom and I let them all out for a romp in the yard - they rarely get to run free during the week. The did well until the end when Max took off across the pasture to investigate the brush-filled fence-line. I ran after him but could not get his attention - he was too busy smelling. I stood there for probably fifteen minutes while he ran around in circles, following only his nose; he seemed to have found something. Finally, I got his attention and when I started running back towards the house, he followed. And passed me. The little guy stands two inches off the ground but he can run faster than me!

Now I know that I've only had one running "lesson" from Jake but I was disheartened. I was surpassed by a dachshund - one not yet fully grown. However, let me tell you something: there's nothing cuter than seeing that little guy flying through the tall grass with his ears flopping like wings. It's so funny!

I'm sure if we could somehow harness the energy of these three dogs, we could power my parent's house for a year, no problem. They are wild! I need to find a way to have that type of energy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Tudors

I'm really not a history snob. Really. The time of the Tudors is not even a period of time I excel or remotely care about. When I rented the first disc of Showtime's THE TUDORS, I was merely curious; ROME was so good, what could be done with sixteenth-century Britain?

Well, let me tell you: not much, apparently. My disdain for the show began with the opening sequence: the music was mediocre, the shots were ridiculous, and why, in the world, did this show have a worse opening than a soap opera? I was flabbergasted. Moreover, no one - outside of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Jeremy Northam - seem the least bit at ease in the costumes. They appear to be playing dress-up. Add to that the fact that the first episode was basically a parade of breasts. Yes, boobies everywhere! Honestly, is that all they can come up with to fill an hour of TV?

And then, in episode two, the final shoe dropped. I may not know much about Britian and Henry VIII, but I know Rome. When the show flashed the Vatican before a scene of the dying pope, my eyes popped out of my head. That shot of Rome, which no one probably paid the least bit of attention to, ruined the integrity of the entire show. Why? The Rome shown was present-day Rome: a gleaming St. Peter's Basilica, a nice Baroque bridge, and the Via della Conciliazione - the nice road leading up to St. Peter's.

And now, a short history lesson that will show why this upset me so much. Henry VIII reigned from 1509 to 1547; we can place episode two around 1512. The modern St. Peter's Basilica was built between 1506 and 1626. If there was any church standing on the Vatican Hill in 1512, it would have been the remnants of Constantine's St. Peter's. The groundbreaking on the new basilica would hardly have been noticeable in 1512. Furthermore, to show that magnificent boulevard leading up to St. Peter's Square, the Via della Consiliazione, is only further evidence of the c
omplete ignorance of the producer/director/historian of THE TUDORS. That road was built by Mussolini, completed in 1950. Mussolini had a thing for roads and he did not care what he destroyed in order to have them. He put one through the (Ancient) Roman Forums, through the perfection of the Piazza Navona, and through the Vatican. With this particular road, which is actually quite short in comparison to his other abhorrences, he tore down over twenty medieval and Renaissance buildings, thereby ruining the space of St. Peter's Square which was meant to be closed and surrounded - as the arms testify. Instead, this superbly planned urban space was ruined by an ignorant, stupid dictator - it is now open and clear. I'm not saying it is unimpressive but it destroys the ideas of the great architects who were responsible for these great feats. Below is a view from the dome of St. Peter's basilica, before Mussolini's road:

This is what it now looks like:

In short, I watched the first three episodes of THE TUDORS and was completely unimpressed. (I don't know if that came through in the above diatribe.) All the information I gave above could easily be found in seconds on Wikipedia. Are the Hollywood-types so cocky they no longer bother with basic fact-checking? This only further purports my thoughts that ROME was unique. The togas were worn naturally, Caesar died brutally, and the sex was sweaty and generally not seductive looking. The world was right. Showtime should be ashamed of their efforts. Go take a lesson from the historians hired by HBO.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Library Thing

There's something new on my blog!!! Can you see it?? Look to your right!

Last week I stumbled upon Library Thing through a blog. I'd noticed people's books on their pages before but I didn't investigate. Well, I finally did and I'm so glad!

Library Thing is a way to organize and manage your books online. You go through and enter your books into Library Thing, which is connected to various databases like Amazon and Library of Congress. Most likely, your books are in one of these databases. You can then tag your book to make it easy to search topically - some of my tags are Christianity, Ancient, Primary, Saints - or you can organize your books by title or author with just one click of the mouse! The coolest thing is that you can see all your book covers, making it easy to find a book amidst the chaos of your physical "library."

Those of you who know me, know that (a) I have tons of books and (b) I love to organize. This was a dream come true for me. I tried it out by entering some of my history/Christianity books. I've entered 189 books and it really didn't take that long! You can enter 200 books for free and then it's either $10 a year or $25 for a lifetime membership to Library Thing. $25??!! I laughed when I first heard that! This is so incredible!

I was excited about this site for myself - of course - but it also made sense for work. My boss has an office filled with books. Literally - it's a big office and every wall is covered. My office is filled with his books as well. I'd thought about cataloging them - I'd even had an undergrad begin the task - but there was no good way to organize them. This site can solve that problem. My boss was ecstatic when I told him about it. He has a collection of Children's Books, pertaining to the Bible, and we've begun entering those into Library Thing as an experiment.

The only drawback with this system is that my boss has a lot of antique books and those are not going to be in the system. Actually, I'm amazed at what is in the Library of Congress. However, even if an antique book is in the LC, it usually does not have a cover on file. We have a lot of our covers scanned but not all of them. That's the only thing that will take some time.

So this has excited me a lot - as you can tell. I need to go ahead and pay the $25 so I can do my other 5 book cases! It's so much fun!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Old Stethoscope

My mother once let me play with a stethoscope. I though it was the coolest thing. I could hear things I never thought possible! Who knew you could hear your organs inside your body??! That's crazy! ...At least to a 7 year old.

My mom used a stethoscope everyday and this made an impression on me during my young years. She was so smart. She saved lives and still managed to make it home in time to make dinner. At the age of 7, she made me want to be a nurse. I could think of nothing else that would be cooler. I wanted to be just like my mom.

This phase didn't last long. Soon, I learned of some of the grosser aspects of the medical field. But I still played with the stethoscope now and then. I soon learned of other things that caught my attention and somehow I found out that I was good at history. While I did this, my mom, who started out as an OR nurse, rose through the ranks of hospital administration. She took a management job which led to Day Surgery Manager at one of the biggest hospitals in Dallas. Then she took over as Administrator of a separate Outpatient Surgery Center. While she did all this, she also got her master's degree. Now, she's a Chief Nursing Officer. For those of you unacquainted with hospital leadership, that's the equivalent of a Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for all medical aspects of her hospital. The only departments out of her realm are financing and compliance. Her office is next door to the CEO.

To say I'm proud of her is an understatement. In the summary above, her career sounds easy - like it was all a matter of time. It has been anything but. She's never been given anything and she's faced challengers that would have stopped me in my tracks. If I'd never seen her outside the home, I would not believe she was a successful business woman. But her goofiness at home becomes animated, compassionate leadership at work. I've seen her in action and she's incredible.

I recently saw that stethoscope - my mom dug it out to use one day. For some reason, I didn't think it worked, but it does.

Happy Birthday, Mom!