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26 November 2001

Catching Up

I've gotten away from using this as a personal journal since 11 September, as it's turned into more of an extended blog commentary section. But a personal journal entry seems appropriate after the last week or so.

For those who haven't figured it out, Jerry Markantonis (whose obituary is posted elsewhere on the site) was the father of my significant other, Callie. Since we're not married, it's technically not appropriate to call him father-in-law, although it feels right. His health had slowly deteriorated over the last year, and the end was expected. It happened in the evening on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and we knew that entire week it was coming soon (hence the relative lack of activity here compared to other times). Needless to say, we wound up staying in Houston instead of going to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving with my parents, as we had previously planned.

Callie's dad was a really interesting man and led a full life. He fought in wars, lived in two countries, raised an amazing family, and really found his calling in the form of the Ice House, where so many people adored him (even though he could be gruff at times). The man left many memories and many accomplishments, and truly defines the term "a life with no regrets." He will be missed by many. I wish I had had more time with him (I actually had become a "fan" of his via hanging out at the Ice House long before I met Callie).

Although I can't say I recommend the experience (death sucks!), I did get to observe an Orthodox Greek funeral service, and it was interesting. The party afterwards was a little more to my liking. The Irish have nothing on Greeks when it comes to throwing a good party. Just one word of advice: When hanging with Greeks, don't drink the Ouzo and you'll be fine.

* * * *

On Sunday, we sort of got back to normal and had a day to ourselves with no pressing concerns for the first time in ages. And I succumbed to the PDA craze. I've long been religious about my day planner, keeping track of EVERYTHING. And I've thought about a PDA, but the bargain hunter in me refused to fork over the cash for a glorified day planner. But Fry's (ah, wonderful Fry's!) ran an ad Sunday for an 8mb Visor Deluxe for $89. Too nice a device to pass up at that price. So far, I really like it. And just in time for the new fiscal year at work, which starts 1 December. Woo hoo!

* * * *

I found some time last week in the midst of the chaos to volunteer to be a poll watcher during the runoff election on 1 December. A poll watcher is sponsored by a campaign and must meet certain criteria, and is allowed to observe the electoral proceedings at a designated precinct. After hearing wild tales of voter fraud in Houston, I decided I could be of good use as a poll watcher. I think most people have this notion of the job being confrontational, but in reality it should be low key, and if there ARE problems, other people will get called in. Indeed, if a poll watcher turns confrontational, something has gone dreadfully wrong, and the poll watcher could get in big trouble. I haven't been as involved as I had hoped to be with the Sanchez campaign, but I will be on Saturday -- from the opening of the polls at 7 to the close, and then following the ballots to the central counting location. Hardcore. It should be an interesting experience.

* * * *

I have 2-3 essays percolating in my brain on articles/news now somewhat dated (losing a week can do that, I suppose), which may or may not get cranked out. I also am running up tight against my self-imposed deadline to finish the dissertation by the end of the year, although I'm going to take a long weekend this weekend and should be able to do quite a bit, even though Saturday is devoted to the election.

[Posted @ 10:40 PM CST]

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