Sunday, March 29, 2009

Road to Spring

This weekend my wife and I got just a small taste of how things are going in North Dakota. Her friend's parents live right on the Red River, and as such they spent most of last week filling sandbags and piling them into massive dikes behind their house. While the river was expanding, and they were stonewalling (or sandwalling, as it were), they got dumped on by rain and snow, even to the point of blizzard conditions. Eager to help, we left for Fargo after work on Friday and got there in time to help out at a local golf course where the river was threatening not only the course, but the entire neighborhood nearby. We spent about an hour and a half chucking sandbags around with 100 strangers, who were extraordinarily friendly and upbeat, despite the week of cold weather and hard work.

The next day things were pretty quiet, despite the unbelievable amount of flooding that was taking place. We helped out around the house a little, but mostly there was a sense of collective anticipation, or possibly anxiety, as people weren't sure what to do but wait. The dikes had been built and fortified, and until something happened, there just wasn't a whole lot left to do. We called the volunteer hotline again around 11am and were told of a sandbagging effort that was to take place in a nearby town in an hour and a half, but when we got there a policeman told us that there was, again, nothing left to do. And so even though we only got in a little bit of actual sandbagging, it was nice to go up and help out as best we could.

So yeah, between that and working far more than I usually do, it's been a hectic few weeks. Good, to be sure, but a little busier than normal. Our school's spring play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, opens in a few weeks and things are coming together very well. My little brother is getting married in a few weeks, my dad had a birthday, and we even made it up to The Brass Rail for some (what else?) delicious chicken, followed by an evening of Dominos with Sarah. Good times all around, I must say. God is good.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Expiration Date

I went to the dentist the other day, and while the receptionist and I were chatting, she asked if I wanted to set up another cleaning appointment in six months. "No," I told her, "I won't be living here in six months." "Oh really?" she replied, with just the right amount of calculated politeness so as to appear interested. She had no doubt perfected this art after years of similar interactions, and I responded in kind. "Yeah, we're moving to Oklahoma."

We've known since last fall that we would be moving this coming summer, but for the longest time, including even now, it has seemed like a vague date on the horizon. An event that would happen someday. But when a date on the horizon attaches itself to a tangible concept, like the date of a dentist appointment, it becomes just a little more real.

Here's an example: we buy lots of yogurt. At the store, we try to choose yogurt cups with dates that are far off--often about a month down the line. And standing in the chilly dairy aisle, the expiration dates seem so distant it's as if the yogurt will last forever. But inevitably the dates draw nearer, and as I peek into my fridge now, I see dates looming ever closer and closer that once seemed so distant.

All this isn't to say that inevitability is a bad thing. It's just a different way of looking at it. We don't know when we will start packing our stuff, or loading the truck, or actually waving good-bye to our place here in Saint Paul, but it's coming whether we realize it or not. The nice thing is that we still do have lots of time up here, and as I pray on a daily basis, I want to make good use of it.

So here's to life. :) Time to go snag a yogurt...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spring Break

So how's the break going?

I'm glad you asked.

I gotta say right off the bat that it's been really nice to just stay here in Minnesota instead of traveling somewhere to visit family or friends. Not that we don't like doing that--far from it, in fact. Visiting people out of town is one of my favorite ways to spend a three- or four-day weekend. But man, it has been great to chill here at home, get lots of video editing done, finish some grading, watch some movies, and just sort of take it easy over spring break. Best part? There's still one more day left. ^_^

I watched two excellent TED talks tonight (how's that for alliteration?), one on how Digital Domain went about creating a very old version of Brad Pitt for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and another from J.J. Abrams on mystery boxes, movie creation, and special effects innovations. I've always enjoyed seeing the man behind the curtain, just like Dorothy at the end of "Wizard of Oz," and finding out how things work, instead of taking them for granted. If any of this kind of thing interests you too, you should check out the links. Great stuff.

Tomorrow we will probably go Snow Tubing again, thanks to our free passes from when the conveyor lift broke down last time, and then Jon and Sarah are coming over for some board games and delicious baked ziti. mm...baked ziti...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Not long now...

I heard on the radio last week that Daylight Savings Time happens next week. For those of you who live south of the forty-fifth parallel it might seem a bit silly to take up valuable internet space to write about gaining an hour in one's day, but when I spend two months of the year watching the sun descend on the horizon (and, according to Calvin's dad, into its daily resting place near Flagstaff, Arizona) it's nice to know we'll have an artificially-created perception of longer days for the next several months.

An intense week of video work is wrapping itself up, and on its heels lies a week of respite from schoolwork as my employer is currently (as of tomorrow) on Spring Break. For the first time in a while, though, my wife and I aren't really going anywhere or doing anything special for it. Last year we were in D.C. seeing the sights and gathering data for her dissertation at the Library of Congress, but this year we're just staying here and chillaxing. After spending many hours working on a project for my uncle's company last week, and filming a wedding on Friday, it will be nice to take things at my own pace for a few days.

Incidentally, the wedding was our first one with our new equipment: two sweet-o tripods and a second really nice camera. So far the editing is going extremely well, and I'm very pleased with the footage my wife and I were able to get of the ceremony. The final video should be excellent.

Time to do a bit more editing before bed. But in advance of signing off, I must also wish a very happy birthday to my friend Steve. May it be (and I mean that in the past tense, of course, since it's almost over now) filled with blessings. And maybe some ice cream too. :)