Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First Snowfall of the Winter

I've been so jealous of Anne's blog with its falling snow, and while this doesn't come close in aesthetics to her perfectly timed music and slideshow with the background snow falling, it DOES beat it in that it's REAL snow :) I'll try for better footage when TnT get home from school. The camera kept getting wet and Beth didn't like looking up into the snow for the camera...this is mostly for the sake of family in never-any-weather-California :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

HALLELULAH! and a Merry Christmas to you from Beth!

I don't know where she heard it first, or why she started singing it, but Elizabeth has been singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus over and over for quite a few days now. We all absolutely love it (even when it's the middle of dinner time she gets away with singing it, it's THAT cute.) So we finally got out the Christmas CD's yesterday and played it for her, and here's a video of her singing it tonight.

Tyra crochets a scarf during our Endless Autumn

I can't remember the last time the autumn leaves stayed on the trees for this long! It has been beautiful, first when we drove up to Princeton the end of October, and again when we drove down to Charlottesville in November. I love autumn! One of the neat things about the last few weeks has been watching Tyra's scarf get longer and longer. She just started doing it herself. She patiently undid many many rows at the beginning that somehow seemed to get skinnier and skinnier (I remember having the same trouble with some of my own early crocheting.) I was so proud of her continual effort even when things got tricky (like Beth trying to "help", losing her hook, etc.) Tom and I both kept saying how excited we were to finally get to wear "my scarf", but Tyra proclaimed the scarf for everyone, and that we could take turns. I decided Tyra would be the best one to model it for you, but I can testify, it really keeps your neck cozy!

Thoughts about Facebook

So I have joined the social networking phenomenon known as Facebook. Why did I choose Facebook? Because it is a Google derivative -- I mean, because most everyone I know signed up with Facebook instead of MySpace.

My Top Ten Favorite Things about Facebook:
10) I'm now a proud member of the "When I was your age, Pluto was a planet" group.
9) Making friends on Facebook is as easy as sending an email. It also appears that to get married you only need an email confirmation.
8) "Susan is listed as married to Thomas Draper". Phew!
7) I resumed contact with my old Brazilian friend Vitor from High School. I haven't heard from him for nearly twenty years.
6) Getting "poked" doesn't hurt at all online. In fact, I have no idea what it is for at all if you can't use it to raise the ire of your brothers.
5) I was able to "friend" the wonderful Pennington family, who showed me a wonderful time the Sunday I was in Brisbane, Australia earlier this year.
4) I like to "Flip my pillow over to get to the cold side" just like 398,683 other people.
3) My brother Michael was mocking me within ten minutes of signing up. To quote, he said, "Hey boy, what made you decide to join facebook?" Now I know why he never responds to my emails. He spends all his time scoping girls on Facebook.
2) Being "friends" with my mother-in-law is much easier in cyberspace.
1) My cousin Grace is already one of my friends. She has only been married a couple of months. So I was rolling on the floor in tears when I received a "friend update" that said, 'Grace Gordon Hart removed "my husband" from their interests.' Welcome to married life!

Feel free to friend me if you are short on over-aged, married, working males with four children. I seem to be a rare commodity on Facebook.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Car Trouble Plus Security Guard Equals?

We have been having a little trouble with our car engine recently, and this has evidently affected our fuel economy. I was driving to work up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, when my car started to sputter. I was about 50 miles short of where I would usually need to get gas, and I was actually planning on gettting gas at Costco on my way to work.

The car was sputtering on and off, and I was slowly losing speed. Luckily, there was an exit within half a mile and I slowly coasted down a gentle hill to the NASA only exit not too far from our house. Well NASA might not be as tightly guarded as good old NSA, but they still have security guards. I had my hazards flashing as I coasted up to the gate and pulled off to the side.

One of the guards immediately came out to greet me and I said that I had ran out of gas, and that I needed to call my wife. She said that she would talk to her supervisor and left. A few minutes later she came back and said, "I'm sorry. We don't have a phone that you can use. You just need to move your car out of here." "It's out of gas.", I said, "Do you have any sort of assitance vehicles? All I need is a splash and I can make it to a local pump. I would be happy to pay for it." "I'm sorry", she replied, "We don't have anything like that. Now please move your car."

Again I replied, "I can't. My car has run out of gas." I had noticed that she used a phone to call her supervisor. "Is it really not possible to use your phone? I just need to call my wife or a friend and they could bring me some gas." Again the reply, "Let me talk to my supervisor."

I waited patiently wondering if I had gotten myself into more trouble by pulling of the exit rather than flagging down someone on the parkway with a cell phone. The security guard returned, "Don't you have a cell phone?" "I did.", I confessed, "But we lost it recently." "You really should have a cell phone.", she reprimanded. "You're right.", I said, "We're planning on getting another one." I then hopefully asked, "Do you have a cell phone?" "Of course not!", she barked back, "Why would I have a cell phone?" "I dunno.", I muttered wondering how long this could go on.

"The other guard leaned out of the booth and shouted, "Tell that person he needs to get his car out of here!" The guard at my car turned to me again and said, "Sir. You really need to get your car out of here." I replied, "Do you want me to push it out of here? I don't think I can even push it back up this hill. If you just let me call my wife, she can bring some gas and I will move the car." She emphatically restated, "We can't let you use the phone sir." I said, "Okay. My house is only three miles from here I will run home, get some gas, come back here, and move my car." "You may not leave your car here sir.", came the reply. "So what do you want me to do?", I said. "I want you to move your car out of here.", came the reply.

"I don't know how I can move my car without gas." I said. "Do you have AAA?", she asked. "Will you let me call AAA?", I asked. "No.", came the response. Hrrrmmmmphhh. "Let me talk to my supervisor.", she said again. This time she returned saying, "My supervisor says that it is okay for you to call your wife on our phone." "What a brilliant idea!", I exclaimed, "I wish I had thought of that!" The security guard quickly drew her taser from her holster and I screamed, "Don't taze me sis!" ... No, I didn't really taunt the security guard. But I was thinking it very loudly. As I walked over to use the phone, I realized that my wife was leaving for a friend's house as I left, and I didn't know the friend's phone number.

Well the climax of this story has past. They let me call a friend instead, he brought the gas and I only arrived at work one hour later than I had anticipated.