Saturday, January 30, 2010


We're not in Baghdad anymore, Toto! Six inches of heavy, wet snow blanketed the area last night. I-40 and I-26 were shut down for a while. The weather guessers were guessing about a foot of snow in our area, but it didn't happen - we got a smaller amount of heavier stuff instead. So I got to spend a couple of hours outside today, shoveling our steep driveway. We have to do this because our driveway is steep and, as I learned during our first winter here, if I don't shovel the snow early, it turns to ice later on and is much harder to get rid of.

As discussed in my last post, I've continued doing a lot of nothing during my visit home. In the past week, I visited with friends, took the truck, Land Rover, and computer to their respective shops for some maintenance and minor repairs, and eaten way too much good food. We saw Inglorious Basterds the other day and Public Enemies a day or so later - both of which were extremely good and both of which are much better films than Avatar.

Among the old friends I've visited with this week are some artists. Two of them have done some work that I think is wonderful. Virginia Derryberry is the chair of the Department of Art and UNC Asheville. She was one of my instructors when I went through the program in 2000-2003. Her recent work is based on mythology, using contemporary real-world people as her models, including her son, daughter, son-in-law, students, dogs, and friends. They're beautifully painted works. Another is Genie Maples. Her studio is down the hall from mine. She's an abstract painter and her work has become much stronger, more subtle, better composed, and better painted. Images on the web look good but they cannot compare to the beauty of the real paintings. Virginia and Genie could not be more different in temperament and painting styles, but they're both outstanding artists. Go take a look.

One last note on politics. It appears to me that President Obama read my last blog post and took action on some parts of it. He opened discussions with the Republicans the other day. From what I saw on the tube, it was a bit like a first marriage-counseling session when both sides are still angry. Still, it was a start. Let's hope that both sides keep it up. Better yet, get the Senate and House leaders involved as well, on both sides. And if they don't want to do it, fire them.

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