4.28.2005

It's 2 a.m. and I'm still up, which means I'm back on my normal schedule. Latest update is that they should be making a decision "soon" on the new hire, so perhaps it's only for a short while that I'm back among the nocturnal.

I brought along the camera again today, but this time for the purpose of capturing a glimpse of my daily commute; I also snapped a few photos of some off-the-beaten-path areas of my workplace. See what you think.

I just finished watching an engrossing film, Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. Though very distant, the characters exude an odd, subtle realness which makes the film work - especially within the context of Lee's direction, Frederick Elmes' beautiful cinematography and Mychael Danna's exquisite score. The tandem of young, relatively-green-at-the-time actors here - Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Adam Hann-Byrd and Tobey Maguire - is also an asset. It's a dark film, imbued with sadness, but worth seeing if for no other reason than just to celebrate the craft of filmmaking on display.

One more recommendation for today: the rich, sonorous Impressionist music of Claude Debussy, which I just recently re-discovered in my own CD collection. Among the highlights at least in this small collection are Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) and La Mer (The Sea).

4.23.2005

We just finished TAKS this week. We test these kids to death and never teach them to think for themselves. Art and Music are only frivolous time fillers and there is only one way to solve a problem. There is almost no creativity in public schools today and it is NOT the fault of the teachers. We have been given standards that are impossible to reach and many of us have given up. It is sad. The ones that still have the fire and the love for the kids are the teachers I am in awe of. They were the ones born to be in this profession…I was not. I DO love the kids…I just don’t always like them very much.

We had 2 incidences involving students at my school late this week that make me just want to cry. One, a 15 year old kid shot several times in the back right across the street from my school and second, 3 boys (all students of mine, but are currently in AEP) arressted for stealing a car and possessing a gun. These are kids...14, 15 year old kids. I am honestly getting a little scared.

Then I have the really sweet kids that I just want to take home with me like this one girl who's grandfather passed away last week and she wanted to draw a portrait of him to hang at his funeral. We worked on that for a couple of days and I told her how proud I was of her for wanting to honor him like this. We cried together. Some make it worth it.

I think I will just go to the IKEA job fair next month. They offer full benefits and paid maternity leave…and all the furniture I can carry!!

4.22.2005

11:00, Friday night. Em is sound asleep in the other room, and I just finished eating one of my favorite old-standby meals: sauteed vegetables on a bed of brown rice. Put the rice on, then cut up some veggies in a skillet and sautee in a bit of olive oil, minced garlic and soy sauce. Cook until slightly golden brown, mix with rice, serve. Absolutely delicious, especially with a tall frosty brew of your choosing (such as the one I'm drinking right now).

What a weird week. I worked my normal night shift for two days, worked a hybrid shift on Wednesday (half at work, half from home) so I could get to sleep at a reasonable hour, and then worked dayside on Thursday and Friday. It was difficult to adjust to the changes in my waking and sleeping hours, and even now I still feel a little bit off. Still, I like working during the day; it's quieter in the newsroom, I can take walks in the sunlight at lunch and the people on the train and its corresponding stations aren't quite as prone to ask me for money. I brought the camera along today since it was so nice out, so I've put together a wee gallery of my midday walkabout.

I've got my old Mac hooked up again, mainly because I have a huge collection of music housed on there that I'm too lazy to transfer onto our Wintel machine. Listening to the tracks housed therein brings back memories from so many different eras in my life, probably more vividly than any photograph or other memento could convey. Right now, for example, it's the Kings of Convenience, which recalls driving through dusky mists in the foothills of the Catskills nearly two years ago with my lovely now-wife, en route to New York City from her aunt's place upstate (mainly because our little rent car was the last place I listened to that CD all the way through, and because the pairing of the music and the scenery left an indelible mark on my brain). Music is funny like that, eh?

4.20.2005

I realize I've been on hiatus for a while, but about two weeks ago I wrote a lengthy post explaining my recent doings, as well as detailing several films and CDs I had been into this month. I hit send, forgetting to copy and paste it into notepad as a backup - and of course blogger then decided to eat it. The experience was so frustrating that I swore off blogging for a little while, but I'm finally over it.

So what have we been up to? Well, this past weekend was pretty much consumed by our attempts to install a dishwasher. The new Maytag works great, and would have been fairly easy to install on its own; in this case, the two-decade-old Hotpoint that died some months ago proved to be the real issue. A previous owner who had remodeled our kitchen decided to remodel around the old dishwasher, so we ended up having to rip up two beautiful floor tiles (one of which broke into 563 pieces) to even get the old unit out. Once it was disconnected, it oozed sludge all over the floor until we managed to get the drain line capped and roll the unit end-over-end out to the curb for bulky-trash pickup (as you can see in the photos). The entire process from arrival of new dishwasher to final tests took about eight hours, spread out over two days, and is probably not something I would attempt again (although it was definitely a learning experience). Now, the only problem we face is a very slow leak from the hot-water inlet underneath the machine (currently kept turned off when the dishwasher is not in use), but we're having a plumber out in another month or so to address a drain-line issue so we'll just have him take a look at it then.

I was recently given the American Roots Music DVD set as a gift, and after watching only the first episode I have to strongly recommend it if you're at all interested in the origins of the folk idiom in America. I have really gotten into this sort of music (featured prominently in the Coen Bros.' excellent O Brother, Where Art Thou? if you are unfamiliar with it), thanks in part to my tendencies to explore new musical forms and thanks in part to Em, who has been into this kind of stuff nearly since birth.

On that note, another film definitely worth your time - especially if you can appreciate true musical mastery - is Martin Scorsese's legendary The Last Waltz, which chronicles in vivid detail The Band's final performance with its original lineup in San Fran on Thanksgiving Day 1976. As a concert film, it's unparalleled in the way it it shot, edited and recorded; apparently Scorsese basically storyboarded the whole thing beforehand - down to the structure of each song - so he knew exactly who to focus on at any given time. Look for guest performances by Bob Dylan, the Staples Singers, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and many more including a top-notch brass section featuring Tom "Bones" Malone, a UNT One O'Clock alum and later of the original Blues Brothers band. I was never a huge fan of The Band until I saw this, but I've watched it several times since just to absorb everything. No wonder it's been copied by many concert documentarians since, and parodied in pitch-perfect form by Rob Reiner in This is Spinal Tap seven years later.

Now that I've finally gotten this thing to work again, thus ending my self-imposed exile, maybe I'll write more often. What do you think?

4.10.2005

We have received the negatives and rights to our wedding pics, so I figured I should put them online to make our gallery complete. A lot of these most of you have already seen...but we have received a couple of complaints for not updating our picture gallery in a timely manner...well!

So, here are the links to the following albums
Co-Ed Bridal Shower 09-04
Emily's Bachelorette Party 09-04
Rehearsal and Dinner 10-08-04
Wedding Day Prep 10-09-04
Wedding Ceremony 10-09-04
Wedding Portraits 10-09-04
Wedding Reception 10-09-04
Honeymoon, Tulum, Mexico 10-04
A Newman/Melson Christmas 12-25-04

This weekend didn't hold much in store except for sleeping in late on Saturday, a couple of very nice walks around Richardson in the lovely spring weather, having dinner with Alan's mom on our 1/2 anniversary, finding a VERY pleasant surprise of purple irises in our back yard (I LOVE PURPLE IRISES!) and driving around looking at houses (Alan's favorite past time).


4.04.2005

"You are the bear. You have a great strength in your limbs as well as in your heart. You enjoy being playful more than anything and love life."


Which animal totem best suits you?
created with QuizFarm.com

I am not sure if I totally agree with this...but it sounds nice.

Alan and I had a great weekend...tiring (for sure) but really nice. Friday night I took Alan to Bob's for a steak I think he will be salivating over for quite some time. Glad I could please my husband!! haha...

Saturday morning we woke up and went to church for the new member class. I learned a lot about the Lutheran denomination and specifically that church and we really feel that this will become our church home. It really feels good to be able to say that.

We then rushed home for some last minute cleaning and food prep for our little shin dig here at our casa. About 20 people came from all the walks of our lives. The blenders got a good workout, in fact Alan's mother's fried while making a pitcher of daqueries...yikes! People came and went all night. I have to say my favorite times at a party are the ones where most of the people are gone and there are just a few people left...we are all too drunk to really make sense so we just go and sit in the grass in the yard and talk out of our asses. I enjoyed some really good conversation with a couple of people from very different places in life, I love being challenged and yet respected for my opinions. Well, the last guests left about 1:30. Alan and I put the food away, crashed for the night about 2am, BUT given we lost an hour, it was really 3am. 8am came too soon for church. We were pretty bleary eyed the next morning, but a great nap in the afternoon and a lovely birthday dinner at the in-laws made for a good cap to the evening.

Thanks to all of you that came to our party...hope you will come back again soon!

Back to school for 38 more school days! 10 days until TAKS, which means there are 28 days in there where the kids know nothing matters...urgh.

have a great week!


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