Monday, July 30, 2007

Movie Reviews

Ratatouille: The animation on this is amazing. Challenges such as furry animals, tons of water in all forms (including steam), a ragdoll character, and food were created to perfection. The film was beautiful; every scene was fun to look at. The rats, when in droves, could be a little disturbing, but for the most part they were harmless. The story was pretty good, but I didn't have a stand-up-on-your-seat-"hooray!" moment. I could see where it should have happened, but it didn't. It felt rushed to get to that moment, so when it happened, I wasn't really ready for it. At the end of the movie, I was glad to have seen it, but it wasn't the "oh, man, that was a great movie!" like at the end of Monsters, Inc for example. The spectacular animation is worth watching, though, so I would recommend it.

The Holiday: This movie was fairly straightforward, but I was pleasantly surprised at the complications that were introduced. It wasn't just rebound girl-meets-boy, but dealing with issues of self-worth and family. One couple's relationship starts in bed, and stays that way most of the movie, but I was glad to see that the other couple never sleeps together, and Kate Winslet's character is a really good character. She does an excellent acting job, and the character is realistic, with goodwill toward others. Her soft spot for her senior adult neighbor made me happy. Jack Black is still pretty over the top, lacking the subtlety that makes great actors. And Cameron Diaz isn't a favorite of mine, either, but she does an acceptable job. Kate Winslet and Jude Law carry the film. Overall, it's a good chick-flick, and I would recommend it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Weather Wonders

July 25, 2007
1:10 pm 82 degrees
Expected high today: 90 degrees
Expected low tonight: 69 degrees

July 25, 2006
High: 98
Low: 80

And that's just the temperatures! There are loads of clouds in the sky, with a nice cool breeze. Everyone's lawns are green. The lakes are up. There's no burn ban.

What a great summer. We go biking at lunch, which I hadn't been looking forward to when summer came on, but it's been just perfect! If Texas summers were always like this, no one would ever leave!

Oh, and I've added a poll to the side column! Be sure and vote!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The CatGenie

I got an e-mail from Petco today with a new product highlighted: the CatGenie. One reviewer equated it to the move from bedpans to today's toilets. As I sit here, my nose reminds me that today is the day to change Friday's litter. Ugh. If it weren't for the cost--$279.99 (and that's with a $90-off sale)--I think this might be a great idea. Get it while it's hot; the sale ends tomorrow!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The best spot in the house

It's funny how smart cats are. What seems to be an idiosyncrasy can end up being something very intelligent. Take, for example, where Friday sleeps. In the winter, he sleeps on the bed--day and night. He doesn't ever curl up with us, but he likes the cushy mattress and the warmth it holds. In the summer, he sleeps on the tile, where it's nice and cool. He also sleeps on the carpet right next to the tile. This didn't make sense to me for awhile, until I realized that he's actually choosing the spot not for it's fuzzy nature, but because it's next to the air intake for the air conditioner. The air intake creates a breeze, much like a fan, which we all know makes it easier to sleep. So, I'll label this with the "innovation" label, so that one day, when you're in a place with no fan, you can make sure you nap next to the air intake!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Let's Goog it

I like to check out Google Labs every once in awhile. You can find some really neat stuff that will be coming soon. And Google is happy for you to try out the new things.

One thing I've tried lately is Goog-411. It's a free phone service that will connect you to the business of your choice. It uses the Google search engine and database, which works just as quickly on the phone as on the web. I've used it twice, and you simply dial 1.800.GOOG.411. Then state the city and state, then the name of the business. An automated voice repeats back what you say. When you've confirmed that Goog 411 has found the business you need, you say, "Connect," and voila! Your phone is ringing, and the business of choice is on the other side.

This is really handy for people who have cell phones, but don't have internet access on their phones. We've used it on the way to a movie place, to check on times before we got there. It would also be good to order your food at Chili's or Applebees, who both offer curbside service. Order while you're on your way there, and pick it up on arrival. Or if you're out running errands, and need to find out if your dry cleaning is ready before wasting a detour over there. The possibilities are endless!

"Google" has become a verb. And I think "Goog" just might as well. Next time you're out and about, try Googing something, just for the heck of it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007


I've gotten a few surprises in my garden this year! One is this beauty:
It's about 3 feet tall and the flower itself is 5 inches wide or so.

Then, because of all the rain, these came up:

And I don't remember planting these this year...I thought I planted them last year....

On the indoor front, my bonsai is making new branches!
They're bigger now than from this picture. I have three new branches. I'm glad, because with all the advances the tree has made this year, it still looks a little scraggly. New branches will be nice.

And in non-gardening news, Holly and Sophie went with us to the lake last week with our church. Here's Jon and Sophie:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hooray for Harry!

Earlier this week, I was away from home, spending a couple of days in the office for meetings. On the first day, my battery was dead when I tried to start the car up at lunchtime. Because I was on a schedule, I rode with someone else to lunch, and worried about it the whole time. I worried because my battery had worked just fine that morning, and I hadn't left my lights on, or a door open, or anything that would drain the battery. There was no reason for it to be dead. Except...on my way into the parking lot that morning, I'd bottomed out pretty hard on the inclined driveway. Enough to make my cd skip. Then, when I turned off the car, my cd popped out of the cd player. Weird.

So that was on my mind all through lunch. Everyone was busy and in a hurry (in all the same meetings as I), so I didn't want to inconvenience someone to help me jump-start my car. But I also didn't want to wait until the end of the day, in case it was something more than a dead battery. Then I remembered that Jon takes care of me, and keeps my AAA membership up-to-date. Hooray! I called AAA, and they gave me a call when they made it to the parking lot, so I could slip out of the meeting. I explained to AAA guy what had happened that morning, and how it might be more than a dead battery. We popped the hood, and sure enough, there was a problem. The battery had corroded so badly that it had compromised the strength of one of the clamps around the battery peg. My bump on the driveway that morning had jarred the clamp off of the peg. AAA Guy used some pliers to hold the clamp on while I started the ignition. Success! Then he told me that's all he could do, and I better go to a mechanic.

I happen to have a great mechanic in town. It was where Jon and I took our clunkers all through college and beyond. So, I gave Harry the mechanic a call, and he said to come on in.

Harry is an interesting character. He's a bit of a hermit, and doesn't say any more than he has to say. He sort of smirks as we try to explain the funny sounds or vibrations our cars have made. He doesn't ask many questions, just fixes it and goes on.

When I first brought my Hyundai to him, it was before I had even bought it, and I wanted him to look it over. He did, and said it looked all right. But then he took off his hat, scratched his head, and said, "But it's a Hyundai. I've got a good Ford Taurus over there that'll last you years. I'll give it to you for a good price." Noticing that the Taurus was several years older than the Hyundai, I passed up the offer.

Through the years, I've found out very little about him. One of the few things he's said to me was, "Some people sing in the choir; I get greasy." He views his service as a mechanic to be service to the Lord, and it is. He's blessed us many times with his honesty, fair prices, and quick response. It was no different this time.

When I got there, Harry stepped aside from the other cars he was working on to take a look. After a quick assessment, he went to the back his garage, rummaged around a bit, and came back with various tools and gadgets. Within about 20 minutes, he had a new clamp on my battery, and everything worked great. He turned aside to gather his things, and I waited so we could go to the office for payment. After a few awkward moments, he looked up and mumbled, "You're welcome" in a way that said, "There's nothing left to do. Go on about your business." I tried to insist, but he refused payment.

As for the battery itself, it turns out it's the original battery, now 5 years old. Harry cleaned it really well and joked that now that we'd fixed the clamp, the battery will probably go out. But I heard him mutter under his breath, "Huh...that's a good battery...a Hyundai battery...huh!"

I made it back to my meeting in under an hour, with a car that would start and a mind much more at ease. Hooray for Harry!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Friday!!

Today is Friday's birthday! He's officially 2! That makes him about 24 in cat years! This second year has been much easier than the first, in terms of health. Now, as many of you know, he's actually even starting to get social!

Happy Birthday Kitty!!!

(Oh, and in honor of Friday's birthday, 7/11 is giving out free Slurpees!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mawmaw's Wedding Photos

Here are the photos of the wedding! At least, the best 135 out of 421. :) The wedding was wonderful--very sweet. The new couple seemed to enjoy every minute of it, and everything was beautiful. I really enjoyed using the spiffy camera, too!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Geat News


My neighbor, whom many of you have heard me talk about, became a Christian yesterday at church! WOOHOO!!