Monday, not Friday
I'm listening to my dance mix channel (okay, it's my Bad Romance channel), and The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" is playing.

Well, it's actually Monday, alas.

But, happily, Grace and Blake should be here soon to spend the evening with us and stay over tonight. This will be the last time we'll see them in person until next year, since the Lloyd clan will be all scattered-like around Christmas time.

I'm glad we can spend some time just with them- it's always different than it is in a big, crazy family group, although that's fun, too...a little less meaningful, uninterrupted conversation, though.

Nate went to get wine while I was getting some other things done. Sadly, the local wine & spirits store closes at 7pm on weeknights! So, no Little Penguin chardonnay for me.

But the Beer Distributor WAS still open, so he did get some beer. Not that we're really big drinkers at ALL, but Grace likes to imbibe a little and we're happy to join her.

We also got a new mattress today! We're planning on buying a hardwood platform bed soon, and so Nate decided to be an overachiever and move our old bed inc. the bed frame, into the guest room as a surprise for G and B.

I think her reaction will be pretty funny- she'd mentioned that the air mattress had felt a little too soft. Nate plans to tell her that it's just blown up more this time! Har har.

Anyway. I think they'll be here momentarily. Yay!

P.S. I had some issues typing the word "alcoholic" in my tags section. And I haven't had any yet! Oops- there's the doorbell! :)

Lazy Sunday
Cider Day 11-1-08
We totally took it easy today. We watched a bunch of recorded T.V. and then later I watched ice skating...

We did get out of the house, though- we went to have late lunch at Aladdin's (our favorite Lebanese place) and to Old Navy where I found a nice pair of $15 boots and we also went to Steamers, our favorite coffee shop, and shared a cookies-and-cream frappe while not really watching the football game on T.V. Then we went to Good Will but didn't buy anything this time.

I've been online for quite some time now so it's probably time to switch gears!

I'm kinda avoiding some financial stuff that I should catch up on at some point this week.

This'll be a weird week, of course. Choir practice is on Tuesday evening instead of Wednesday and we'll have a small dinner at Nate's brother's house on Thursday (since we already had the main big family event yesterday). Hopefully one evening we'll spend some time with Nate's sister Grace and her husband before they fly back to Colorado on Thursday...and, on Friday, I have to go to work (unlike Nate, who has both Thursday and Friday off).

I'm just hoping Friday will be a quiet work day. Very few people in my dept. will be there and I am expecting to be asked to do some filing since no one who normally does the daily filing will be in! It'll be a fine change of pace, though. I don't mind that...and it might help the day go by faster!

We will NOT be trying to shop on Friday. I don't believe in that mess.

Squeaking In
It's pretty close to midnight I gotta get something in, right?

Well, we had Early Thanksgiving up at Nate's parents' house with all 26 members of, married to, or begotten from Nate's immediate family.

Yeah. 26.

It was loud and overstimulating at times but also fun and good and there was delicious food and great company and some singing and dancing, too.

When we got home Nate and I watched the second episode of Doctor Who with the 11th Doctor (the newest one, played by Matt Smith).

All I'll say is that the episode made me cry- for happy AND sad reasons. Wow. And, Staaaarrr Whaaaaale!!!


Good night!

Friday and Fabulous
ears winter 07-08
This evening we went to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1." Honestly, it was over too quickly!

I AM glad they divided it into 2 parts, though...part 1 was REALLY faithful to the book- really accurate.
I mean, of course some things were changed a little and some of my favorite minor moments didn't make it in, but all in all, it was good and I enjoyed it very much.

I especially appreciated the humorous moments. The movie would be too depressing without them! But then, that's what J.K. Rowling does really well- she expresses horror (both magical and human) really well and realistically and is still able to mitigate that with her wonderful sense of humor.

Plus the acting was, of course, very good, and the aesthetic as well. Certain deaths still made me get teary, and I know part 2 will also have such moments.

I especially appreciate the fact that a lot of the revelations in the book occur through reading, and obviously that's not a device that works in a movie, at least not the same way, so they obviously had to trim those parts but still get the vital information wasn't perfectly done, but being that it was such a challenge, it was definitely decently done.
And the way they visually interpreted the story of the Three Brothers was AMAZING. I loved it (and I love that little story as well).

Anyway. I can't promise I won't see part 1 again before part 2 comes out, that's for sure...

And I'll definitely be sad when the final movie has ended. Yay for DVDs though, right? And of course, yay for the amazingly written 7 books, too. Wow. :)

Busy for Guests
winter 06-07
Well, we have Nate's two younger sisters and their husbands (and one baby/toddler) staying at our place tonight. Nate has gone to pick up one couple at the airport and the other couple with their little girl should be arriving within the hour.

Needless to say we did a bit of scrambling around last night and this evening to try and make sure things are presentable and guest-worthy and welcoming.

The two sisters both live far away- one in Switzerland and the other in this will be a nice chance to see them without the entire chaotic family buzzing around. This weekend, everyone will get together for the giant family Thanksgiving feast.

I just hope I don't end up staying up too late tonight considering Nate and I DO have to go to work tomorrow morning...

The house is strangely quiet in anticipation of their arrival...Russell (our degu) and I are just hanging out and I put on some pretty music...we have candles and incense lit and clutter mostly contained- at least in the more public areas!

While we are not in love with this house, it IS really nice to finally have designated guest space- both the guest room in the main part of the house AND the addition off of the back of the garage (which normally serves as my workout room and contains the only currently usable shower- another reason to be glad it's there!).

Of course we don't have a real guest bed yet but we do have a double decker queen size air mattress in the guest room and plenty of space in the addition for the air mattress Rachel is bringing with her from the parents' house. Each couple will have its own private space, AND Nate and I don't have to worry about waking people up when we're getting breakfast in the morning. All good things!

Anyway....hopefully some guests will arrive soon. :)

P.S. Dievs Sveti Latviju! Happy 18. Novembris (the official "birthday" of Latvija as an independent republic back in 1918. :)

Musical Difficulties Can Be Overcome
Nablopomo 2010 is more than half over...and I am glad!

Tonight's MCP rehearsal involved Verdi's Requiem for the first half and Holiday Pops music for the second half.

The Requiem is becoming more fun and fulfilling to sing the better I am in singing it. This is my normal pattern, but sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) it still surprises me. I get discouraged about a piece, or even about a section of a piece, and feel stupid and hopeless about myself and at least somewhat annoyed with the music/composer.

I do put in a bit of effort at practicing parts that are difficult for me. But I never know how well I've drilled this or that into my brain and voice until is always a pleasant surprise when I realize that my hard work !as paid off, I'm not a hopeless case, and I'm not the weakest link in the choir.

It's definitely a process with me...I think sometimes part of the problem is when we're doing a piece that many people in the choir have sung before- sometimes multiple times...then I feel like I'm behind from the get-go and it can be a little more discouraging.

I also often mistake the results of good, hard work for natural talent. It's silly...but it's a tendency I obviously haven't gotten rid of yet. I guess I need to work on that, too!

Anyway! I'm really really tired so I'm going to bed. Good night!

Recently Watched Movies
So, in addition to counter-protesting and visiting and go cart racing (Nate, not me), and eating and talking and laughing and petting a dog named Molly, and visiting the Latvian Embassy, we watched FOUR movies during out time in the D.C. area!

First was "Due Date," which we watched in a theater in Maryland after we had some late lunch.

Saturday night, after dinner once we were at Graham and Sarah's (and Molly's) place, their friend Danielle joined us and we all watched "An Education."

Sunday night, we watched "Moon."

And, to top it all off, we watched "Tropic Thunder" on Monday morning.

Robert Downey Jr. was in two of them...they were my least favorite of the 4 movies but he is such a good actor (and, let's face it, really dreamy).

I'm pretty sure we watched four separate genres, although "Due Date" and "Tropic Thunder" are clearly relatives. They both made me laugh at points, for sure, and had their good moments, but over-the-top violence, physical harm, and/or grossness really wear on me after a time.

I liked "An Education" a lot, for the plot, the acting, and the was also a movie that made me think.

I think I liked "Moon" the best out of all four, though...I'd never heard of it before and it was a sci-fi indie film and a little minimalistic- but the minimalism was absolutely perfect for the kind of movie it was. If it had been done by a major studio it still should have been as minimal, I think. Plus Kevin Spacey's voice is in it (as a computer/android type character) and Sam Rockwell was the main character (essentially the only other character, more or less) and he was BRILLIANT.

Back Home Again
Cider Day 11-1-08
Here we are, back home in Western PA after a varied and fun weekend.

We would have gotten home around 7:30pm instead of closer to 8:00 but for the fact that we were both kinda daydreaming and neither of us realized our exit was coming up until, well, we were already past it.

So we had to take a roundabout way to get home.

But now we are home and mostly ready to resume normal work days tomorrow.

We'll probably turn in a little early...

My Latvian Passport appointment went fine and didn't take too long. The area where all the Embassies are located is a really fascinating place!

My Latvian passport should come to me in about 2 months, which isn't too bad.

Well anyway, I'll leave this post pretty short 'cause I'm tired from traveling and we want to relax a bit. Good night!

My First Counter-Protest (Part 2)
Many others at the high school went with the ludicrous or random vibe for their signs. One sign said, "Popcorn is snacktastic." Another was about butterflies and bees, and a little girl had a sign that said "He who smelt it dealt it."

I did find out today that the reason WBC people didn't show up yesterday was because someone slashed their tires. Now, while I appreciate the sentiment behind such an action, I wish it hadn't been done.

Such fanatics as those in WBC would probably say that the tire-slashing was "persecution" and that it reinforces that they are "doing the Lord's work" or some such nonsense because Christ said that His true followers would be persecuted.

Another person who has mentioned this was Heidi Montag...she said she believed she'd be persecuted because of her belief in Jesus. Um....well I'd rather not go on a giant tangent but I don't think Jesus is the reason that people ridicule her (and why many pity her).

Anyway. I wish the tire-slashing hadn't happened because I think a more effective message would have been the many many people who were at the school in support of the Laramie Project and in support of love.

In other news, we visited our friends' Episcopal church today and I was reminded pretty clearly of what I'm missing, of what I long for in a home parish. *sigh*

But then we came back to their place and had an amazing lunch and are now relaxing...and the weather here in Virginia is beautiful.

My First Counter-Protest (Part 1)
On Westboro Baptist Church's website's pickets page, their schedule stated that they would be protesting at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, MD because the students are putting on the play "The Laramie Project." The play is based on the 1998 murder of a gay University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard.
WBC's website state that they would be there to remind people that Matthew Shepard had been "burning in Hell for 12 years with eternity left to go." (That might not be verbatim but it's pretty close.)

We got to the area early...with our two colorful signs. Mine said "God Loves YOU" with lots of sparklies and smiley faces. Nate's said "God Loves Capt. Jack" (a bisexual character from the Dr. Who and Torchwood series'). He wanted to be funny and a little ludicrous, and I'm proud to say I helped him come up with the idea! But it was HIS idea to print out a rather attractive picture of the actor to paste to the sign.

There were A LOT of people there to counter-protest....and the WBC folks never showed up! A large group of bikers waited across the street from the high school but they never needed to rev their engines to drown out the hate...because those who represented it never came.

We counter-protesters were only allowed to be there as long as WBC was scheduled to be there- so at 2:05pm we were told to disperse, since WBC was only scheduled to be there from 1:15pm to 2:00pm.

During that time, we were all, at first, standing along one wall of the building that I assumed houses the school's auditorium. Then at some point we were told to relocate to the corner of intersection, where lots of cars and motorcycles would honk or rev and/or their passengers would cheer or wave, which of course we responded to with cheers and sign-waving.

It was SUCH a positive experience...I will post more about this tomorrow 'cause it's time to hang out with more fun people. :)


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