Saturday, February 26, 2005

Community Theatre

Last night we went to see a play at the Albright Theatre in Batavia - Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. One of my former co-workers was performing in the play, so we went with a small group from the office.

The Albright Theatre is a little odd in that it is in the third floor of the Batavia city building. You have to take the elevator because the stairs only go to the second floor. The second floor has doors with signs like "Police Investigations", which is a little strange when you're going to a play!

If you live near Batavia, I highly recommend the play, provided you can handle a little smoking on stage and "adult" language.

Taking a Break from Home Improvements

The last several weekends have been filled with home improvements -- mostly painting. It started the last weekend in January with painting the powder room. The following week we painted the laundry room. The week after that we painted the master bathroom and two bedroom walls.

Bedroom walls in progress:
Painting the bedroom

Cricket sulking...she did not like us spending weekends upstairs painting.
Cricket sulking

Somewhere in there (I don't remember which weekend) we installed a new light fixture in the dining room.
New light fixture in dining room

Then, last weekend we finished up the second color in the bedroom and the "dressing area".
Finished bedroom

I also spent two days scraping old caulk out of the tub and replacing it.

So, after the question I asked Laura last week, we decided to take a break this weekend. We still need to paint the extra bedroom and clean the garage, but instead we went to see the movie Finding Neverland, which was excellent.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

ME: Do you remember when we did fun things on the weekends?

LAURA (standing on stepstool, painting around bedroom windows): No.

ME (crouched in bathtub, scraping out old caulk): Me neither.

Someday the weekends of hell will end.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Marriage, Marriage, Marriage

It's the week of Valentines day...a good time to talk about marriage. A few links of note...

John Scalzi explains why the concept of "covenant marriage" is stupid. He's referring to a law in Arkansas:
couples getting a covenant marriage agree to seek counseling before they wed and before they seek a divorce. A covenant marriage also requires a two-year wait before a divorce becomes final, except in cases of adultery, abuse or imprisonment for a felony.
Scalzi sums up his objection quite well here:
As a concept, it's pretty damn insulting. "Covenant Marriage" implicitly suggests that people won't stay married unless they subject themselves to onerous governmental restrictions on their personal freedoms; basically, it's the state telling you that it expects you to get a divorce at some point, unless it makes it too annoying for you to get a divorce to make it worth your while. The State of Arkansas is banking on sloth, apathy and state bureaucracy to keep a bunch of bad marriages together, as if bad marriages are really better than divorce.
You know, my parents have been married 40 years. I'm pretty sure that no-fault divorce has been legal in Illinois for many years, yet oddly enough,they have never taken advantage of that option.

Here is a good question that has been on my mind - exactly why is a high divorce rate bad? Before you freak out, stop and think - by the time it gets to the stage of divorce, the damage to the relationship is done. Requiring the individuals to stay in the marriage doesn't create a "successful marriage"; it creates a failed marriage that happens to still be intact. How is that a "success."

Creating successful marriages is a lot harder than disallowing divorce. It requires preventing the problems that cause the damage to the relationship in the first place. Marrying the right person is a good place to start. Pre-marital counseling is another good idea, but it hardly seems the place of the government to require that. Teaching people realistic expectations of long-term relationships would be another useful tactic.

Continuing on the marriage theme, there is this post from Jason at Positive Liberty regarding the idea of privatizing marriage. In this concept, there would essentially be civil unions for everyone and the"sacrament" of marriage would be left to religions. Jason does a good job pointing out both the advantages and disadvantages of this idea; I don't really have anything to add there.

Finally, a couple great posts from Daddy, Papa, and Me that absolutely made my day yesterday and gave me a best sense of hope I've had since the 2004 elections.

First, this post discusses the anniversary of his San Francisco marriage last year during the brief flurry of gay marriages (remember that?). I remember sitting here in the Chicago suburbs and looking at pictures of so many happy couples during those days and wishing that Laura and I could do the same. The lines wrapped around the block seemed the perfect illustration of the commitment and deep desire to marry on the part of the gay couples.

Anyway, Trey's post addresses the notion that "backlash" from those marriages fueled the 2004 election disaster.

Listening to him also, I realized and then did some searching on the net (and my own blog), the so-called 'backlash' against marriage equality didn't start after our 'marriage-in' winter of love here in San Francisco, no.. it started with [GW Bush's] state of the union address when he called for an anti-gay amendment, it started in the months before and during San Francisco's marriages when anti-gay forces had already started planning and pushing for anti-family amendments in those 13 states. They needed no San Francisan mayor to jump start their bigotry. They had already started, with [Bush] at their lead. Theirs wasn't a 'backlash', it was just an old-fashioned lashing

So, the question is, when you are getting a good lashing, do you bend over and let them beat you or do you stand up straight against them? Gavin Newsom, 4,000 families and couples and hundreds of city workers and volunteers decided to stand straight and not take a lashing. The hundreds of couples in many other states and then the thousands of couples in Massachusetts decided not to take the lashing

Then, continuing his theme of optimism, he describes in this post how the SF marriages had no effect on the election outcome. He brings up 7 excellent points to support this, and has promised to fill in with more details this week. I hope he does, as this is utterly refreshing after the gloom and doom of the past few months!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Happy ending for dog story and the power of the media

I was glad to see this story in this morning's Chicago Tribune (I think registration might be required, and the link will probably expire).

To quickly sum up: In yesterday's column, John Kass wrote about a Chicago lawyer who found a dog while in Florida. He brought the dog home to Chicago and refused to give it back to the family who owned it, which included a heartbroken 7 year old boy. I vividly recall how it felt when my family's dog escaped the backyard when I was a kid, and it wasn't much fun.

The family managed to get in touch with the man and tried to get the dog back. They resorted to calling the police. The lawyer refused. The family even tried contacting the firm where he worked. No luck. All in all, a depressing story to read first thing in the morning.

Well, apparently a great many people responded to yesterday's column. According to Kass's column today, readers called the man's law firm "in such numbers that you swamped the office phones and panicked the secretaries and apparently blew out the computer server with angry anti-lawyer e-mails."

The family got their dog back.

Pretty impressive. I hope the lawyer in question is feeling remose right now.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Tree Frog

I love this picture from Just Pictures. Have I mentioned before that Laura has a "thing" about frogs...causing us to collect them...

Big Stuffed Frog

Leapin' Frog Hotel

Another Strange Hanging Frog Thing

Strange Hanging Frog

Stuffed Frog and Frog Lamp

If Laura had a blog, she would probably want to call it frogblog. Since that name is already taken, it is probably a good thing that Laura has no desire to do this strange blogging thing.

In something utterly unrelated to frogs, the home improvement quest I mentioned last week is we painted the laundry room, which gave me the opportunity to slide my washer and dryer back and forth across the floor. We were about halfway done in this picture:

Painting the Laundry Room

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Impressive Literary Criticism

Reading the commentary John Scalzi provides for "The Friends Went to Camp" (by Athena Scalzi) gave me flashbacks to classmates in college literature classes pulling symbolism from every minor detail of a story.

Absolutely hysterical.

This also made me think of the first story I remember writing, in first grade. We were actually given an assignment -- pretend to be a flower or a bird and write a story about it. I thought the idea of being a flower was pretty stupid when the other option was a bird. Birds can fly! I was baffled by my classmates who passed up the opportunity to fly and would rather be planted in the ground.

Anyway, I think my story was about two sentences and mostly talked about how great it was to fly. The teacher typed up all the stories into a packet and sent them home so that the parents could get a good laugh, too. I think my parents still have that packet somewhere...I should track that down one of these days and see how accurate my memory is. And maybe provide some literary commentary as well!