Cross-Country Connections: New Year

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Christmas.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois: 

CCC New Year MomI fear we will begin the new year in the same fashion as we are ending it.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota: 

CCC New Year Brianne

A new year, a clean slate. Well, a fresh calendar at any rate.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

CCC New Year Erin

It’s a New Year with old things. This barge, The Georgetown, was part of the National Park Service’s interpretive programming about the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Damaged beyond repair, it now sits outside the visitor center for the site.

Cross-Country Connections: Christmas

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Christmas.

This week the three of us are all in Carbondale, Illinois for the holiday season.

From Erin: 

CCC Christmas Erin

Why yes, drinking is a holiday tradition in this household. So is Brianne bossing us around board games.

From Mom:

CCC Christmas Mom

Welcome to the holiday house! The front entry – Charlie Brown Christmas tree, musical water globe and ornament tree.

From Brianne:

CCC Christmas Brianne

Christmas Pug guards the driveway entrance. Beware, trespassers – watch your ankles! And look – no snow!

Traveling for the holidays.

The Hubby and I have been looking forward to seeing family at the holidays for a number of weeks. The downside is that this year seeing family involves an 11-13 hour road trip to southern Illinois over the winter season, which ended up meaning this:

The storm, part of a system that began in the Rockies earlier in the week, led airlines to cancel more than 1,000 flights Thursday and caused whiteout conditions that left roads dangerous to drive on. It was blamed for deaths in at least five states, with parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan hit with more than a foot of snow. - from CBSnew.com

Ack! As part of our route we have to drive along 35 South, which was closed earlier in the week due to a 25-car pile up that resulted in two deaths and seven injuries. BUT, the storm had moved past by Friday morning, and so we started our journey from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Carbondale, Illinois at 1pm this afternoon.

Driving through most of Minnesota was fine – we hadn’t seen any of the storm up by us – but by the time we hit Iowa the roads started getting icy and we were down to about 45-50 miles per hour. Happily there was no falling snow, but the big semi trucks kept kicking up wet slush onto the windshield. It took us four hours and about a full bottle of windshield wiper fluid to reach Waterloo, IA, which is only about 30 minutes longer than usual, but I was DONE. I was exhausted from clenching the steering wheel, switching back and forth between lanes to find the least treacherous path (often one lane was often better plowed or traveled than the other), and swearing at idiot drivers going far too fast for the conditions. The Hubby took over for a little while, but when the sun set the highway became an even less appealing place to be. So we called it and found a hotel.

This:

IMAG0981

Is soooooo much better than this:

IMAG0980

That’s really what the highway looked like in some places!

The hotel has ended up being an unexpected treasure. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but it’s a new construction and clean, quiet, with comfy bed and pillows, very sparsely booked tonight and the staff are all very nice. We had a pizza in the common room (well, my gluten-free self had pizza toppings) and we played a couple rounds of Lost Cities and 7 Wonders before retiring to the room. Tomorrow we’re planning on being on the road at sunrise, but since it’s December that’s not until about 7:30am. We’re hoping that as we get further south and leave the path that the storm traveled the road will be clearer.

Safe journeys to all of you who are also traveling for the holidays.

Geeks Without God

geeks-without-god-podcastGeeks Without God is a podcast put out by three Minnesota-based geeks and atheists, Tim Wick, Molly Glover and Nick Glover. And I am this week’s guest! So much fun – let me repeat this part of the blog – SO. MUCH. FUN. I was invited over to their recording studio (read: basement – steep stairs but good acoustics and apparently decent recording equipment – the sound quality is great, at least to my untrained ear) and we spent about 38 minutes bullshitting about blogging, Atheists Talk Radio, abortion clinics, Excel spreadsheets and board games. And of course, I had the supreme high honor of answering The Five Questions. I also got to say “geeky boner” and “cockmonster” while recording, so there’s all sorts of goodies on that thar show. You can listen to the episode on the Geeks Without God website, or you can download the podcast on iTunes. And if you visit the website maybe throw in a few bucks for their Camp Quest holiday fundraiser. The Razoo app is on the left side of the main page.

Holiday Office Party

Hi everybody!drnick

 

The days and nights have been just packed. I’ve had no time for catching up on current events or really having much of a life, and so no blogging. It’s been a whirlwind of holiday cooking, shopping, wrapping, and decorating.

Today is the office holiday potluck! Last night I diced 10 tomatoes, eight limes, two onions, chopped two bunches of cilantro, smashed an entire bulb of garlic, and slow-cooked eight pounds of carnitas overnight. The house smelled really good this morning.

The four of us who share an office have decorated it to the nines for the cube decorating contest. Live tree and all, yo. People are really getting in to it this year. I spent an hour on Sunday making ornaments (images of our company’s products taped onto ornaments), my officemate made garland out of expired plastic labware over the weekend, we saw one of our coworkers carrying a surge protector to his cube, and another guy brought in a working electric train set. Unfortunately I can’t post photos of the cube decorations because there’s too much confidential paperwork in the background of all the shots, but believe me when I say that it is a fabulously festive office environment this year.

I can share this photo:

Ugly Sweater ContestMy “Ugly Sweater Contest” entry. Once seen, it can never be unseen.

Happy holidays to those of you who celebrate!

Cross-Country Connections: B&W

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Black and White.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota: 

CCC B&W Brianne

Doll-sized dress form. Parisian, apparently.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland: 

CCC B&W ErinI’ve taken pictures of the Capitol everday since I see it during my commute to work, this one, taken on my very first day in town is still the best! P.S. does anyone know why we spell the “Capitol” building wrong?

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois: 

CCC B&W Mom

Don in his Hopalong Cassidy outfit – way back in the day.

Addie on Tolerance

Reposted with permission: 

Image is a capture from my friend Addie Kolm’s Facebook status update. Text reads: So I saw a post last night in my over tired state. It said a bunch of stuff about tolerance and how we need to teach it to our children. And I laid on the couch for what seemed like forever thinking about it. Why would we teach our children to merely tolerate another person? To tolerate another is a nice way of saying I still can’t stand you but will not speak of it or show it cause it’s not socially accepted. Wouldn’t it be better to teach our children acceptance? To teach our children that it’s ok that we are all not the same but that we are equals? No matter the race, religion, faith, lack there of we in the end are all the children of this earth. There is always someone you won’t agree with but in the end most of the time it will not effect you. So accept that they live life different than you and move on.

Bits and Pieces

First – whadaya think of the new theme? After spending a few days with it, I have to say that it’s growing on me. I think it looks more sleek and modern than the old primary blue and yellow that this replaced. If you haven’t had a chance to report bugs on other FtB blogs, put ‘em in the comments and I’ll pass them up the chain.

Second – the radio show I work with, Atheists Talk, recently put up a new Facebook page and Twitter account. Pretty please consider liking us on FB and following us on Twitter because more numbers help make us look awesome to potential sponsors and guests. Oh yeah – and because you’ll get the occasional sweet update about show guests and photos from the studio and stuff like that :D

Third – Someone wrote an article that I really disagree with on western attitudes about female genital mutilation. I really, really disagree with it. Really. A lot. Essentially it’s a cultural relativism argument, and all I’m hearing is “cutting up girl parts isn’t really so bad because they want to do it so quit being all judgmental ” But the early comments on the article give me hope for the human race (if you get over there quickly you might get to read them before the ZOMGWhatAboutMaleCircumcision!? derailing starts!) and Zinnia Jones has done an analysis of the article here that picks apart why the author’s arguments fall short.

FourthProlife advertisements on coat hangers. Oh hell no.

FifthAnti-abortion Christian reality TV show featuring women who regret their abortions. Repeat: Oh hell no.

Sixth – Kitty is back from dental surgery. Poor thing had to have three teeth extracted. It’s my own damn fault for not bringing her in more often, and I feel really shitty about it. I have to force feed her painkiller drops for the next three days, and what appears from her reaction to be nasty-tasting antibiotics for the next 10 days. She’s a little dizzy and confused right now, but she’s managed to eat some soft food and use the litter box, so there’s that.

Chasing the dragon – kitty in a buprenorphine daze.

Prada is 13 years old and I had somehow worked myself into a tizzy that she was going to die in surgery because surely she’s too old to survive general anesthesia!!! Thanks, asshole brain. Way to put that non-existent veterinary license to good use. At some point I caught myself thinking about how it sucks that I don’t believe in an afterlife, how I don’t have the comfort of thinking that she might die but-at-least-she’ll-be-in-a-better-place. Actually, that was a turning point in the emotional roller coaster that was my morning while I waited for the vet to call with an update on the surgery. The fact that there is only this one life, that there is no better place that she’ll go when she dies, that I won’t get to see her again in heaven, that there are no do-overs…those thoughts made me more determined that I would do what I could to get her home and healthy again. Even the life of a little cat seems more significant when I remember that this is the only one she gets, and the only one I get to share with her.

Cross-Country Connections: Green

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Green.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois: 

Let the holidays begin!

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota: 

Green camo for Santa. Because, that’s why.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

A dreary day in Washington DC, just the pine trees left in color.

Atheists Anonymous

“They couldn’t be free in the United States of America to say that they were atheists! I thought that was just terrible.” – Bridget Clarke-Smith speaking about the group, Atheists Anonymous, that she founded at her retirement center. This video highlights some of the challenges older atheists face. You rock, Bridget.

Hat Tip to Steve Peterson in the Minnesota Atheists Facebook group.