2006 HERE WE COME... | DECEMBER 31, 2005

Happy Frickin' New Year, Y'all. This image pretty much sums up the character of the entire Ilax family.

I have been very busy this week... hence the lack of updates. I am currently working on reformatting the website (hopefully will be up and running by tomorrow), packing, and entertaining my weekend guests (my parents!).

Shall I post any resolutions for the new year? Muah ha ha... why post any resolutions when I am already perfect? Just kidding, I probably will have a longer list than anyone else.


Steven finally submitted and purchased the ultimate electronic toy, something we have been dreaming of and talking about for over a year - a Sony 400 disc DVD Changer (DVP-CX77ES). Basically, it is a big electronic box that holds 400 DVDs and stores information on all of them. You simply turn your TV and DVD player on, then flip through a menu to find the DVD you want.

So you never have to get up to "put a DVD in." The downside is that this is Steven's new baby, and I think he is having so much fun playing with it that he is forgetting I leave for Rome in less than a week.


I finally started reading the "College of Design Iowa State University Rome Guidebook for Students Spring 2006" this morning on the train. A few things stuck out to me:

1. In the category titled "Student Expectations" - "We are going to Rome to study; this is not a vacation." It is going to be very difficult to not feel like I am on vacation - I will be in Europe for Pete's sake!

2. In the same category - "Be aware that noisy parties at the student apartments are not appropriate." Also, in the same section - "Remember that excessive noise and/or parties in the guest rooms is inappropriate." So does this mean quiet parties are okay? I as disappointed that the faculty feels like they need to tell us to behave. It is also ironic though, because it seems this year, more than ever, our professors were using alcohol to bribe students. One instructor took his studio out to the bar after every review.

3. In the category titled "Security" - "Italians like to drive fast, have little respect for traffic lanes, rarely look in their rearview mirrors, and hate to stop" - sounds just like Chicago (or riding with one of my brothers), so that shouldn't be much of a problem.

4. In the "Culture Shock" category - the stages of culture shock are "Initial Euphoria," "Irritability and Hostility," "Gradual Adjustment" and "Adaptation or Biculturalism." Our professors seem to think that the majority of us are going to experience culture shock - that we are going to start freaking out when we get there and wet ourselves or something. So they stressed that we read this part of the handbook thoroughly. I find this amusing. "Initial Euphoria" is described as being incredibly positive about your abroad experience, and being amazed by how similar people around the globe really are. BUT BEWARE - "the letdown is inevitable."

Hmm, "Irritability and Hostility..." hits a soft spot - I am always irritable and hostile, just ask my friends. Apparently, during this phase, you notice all the differences between cultures and blow up at everything. NO!!! I actually just plan on complaining about things here when I feel this way, ha ha ha. "Gradual Adjustment - the crisis is over and you are now on your way to recovery... you become more comfortable and feel less isolated." In the final stage - "Adaptation or Biculturalism" - you feel confident and sad to leave. There is actually a whole section about "return" culture shock, which I am more likely to experience.

Seriously, I don't believe this will be an issue for me. If anything, I will miss my family. But I am always irritable and hostile, and wanting to isolate myself - so I welcome it. I like being independent. I will figure out how to adapt to Rome on my own. When I went to Spain, I felt comfortable and happy to experience a new environment (but maybe I wasn't there long enough to enter the dreaded phase 2?).

I know this will be a problem for some people, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I want to make the most of my time there. So I will prepare this week before I leave by being hostile and irritable towards everyone.


Have you tried a Su Doku puzzle yet? They are paper puzzle - a 9x9 grid that has a few numbers in it - and it is up to you to fill out the rest (see image below). Andrew, Steven's brother, was doing them on Thanksgiving, and I immediately asked him to show me how to do them. He taught me, and norw I am hooked. He also showed Steven, and now Steven is hooked (he is currently "developing strategies").

The same thing happened with my family this weekend. Anytime that Steven got out his Su Doku book, people wanted to know how to do it and give it a try. How cute! We showed Courtney, Christina, Anthony, Mom, Tracy, Taylor, Tom, Sue, Linda... and now my sister is adamant about getting a Su Doku book or handheld electronic game (I received both this Christmas).

The game originated in Japan, and is becoming very popular here in the States. The rules are very basic - each horizontal line must contain one and only one of each digit, each vertical line must contain one and only one of each digit, and each 3x3 box must contain one and only one of each digit. Basically, you need to make sure that you have only the numbers 1-9 once in each vertical and horizontal row, and each square. I think there are some techniques to figuring it out, but right now I am just having fun with it.


On the left is the original grid, and on the right I have tried to show the logic behind the placement of the numbers. The number 4 appears in the top and third horizontal rows, and also in the seventh and ninth vertical rows, so the only logical place for it is where those lines do not intersect - the last vertical row in the second horizontal column. I have learned that I am bad at explaining this (Steven is definitely better), but you probably get the idea if you haven't tried it yet. Here is the solution.

I think this is a game that everybody can enjoy. At least that is what I thought when everyone wanted to learn how to do them this weekend!


It's a Christmas Miracle - my hotel room has free wireless internet!

The funniest thing happened this morning. When I was loading the car to drive to Iowa this morning, I noticed our neighbor was out in her garage. Steven and I had a holiday card to give her, so I went across the driveway to give it to her. After I gave it to her, she said, "So it just Steve Jewish, or are you Jewish too?" I said, "No, we are both Christian, why did you think we are Jewish?" And then she told me that when she saw a single candle lit in each of Steven's window, she thought he was Jewish because that is a Jewish thing to do. I started laughing and told her that Steven just put the candles in the windows because he thought they looked nice.

So when I went inside to make fun of Steven for being Jewish and not telling me, he immediately starting doing research on the internet to prove that the candles weren't a Jewish thing. He found some babble that said they were a tradition from colonial Williamsburg, but I am not convinced. I think he is Jewish and hasn't told me for the three and a half years that we have been dating!

I think he converted to Judaism so he could have eight days of presents instead of one. But since I didn't know he was Jewish until yesterday, I only have enough presents for one day. I guess I will have to wait until next year to celebrate Hannakuh with him.

But by that time he might be Bahai.


Happy Holidays everyone! I will be in no man's land (Iowa) for the next few days, and may or may not have internet access. So ciao for now, and have a happy and safe holiday celebration!


Steven seems to be enjoying his birthday present - a Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital Elph camera. He has been taking some... "creative" photographs.

The original size of this image was 2304 x 3702 pixels - 12.8" x 17" at 180 pixel per inch resolution. You could literally see the taste buds on Steven's tongue if you wanted to. The camera is 7.1 mega pixels with a 3x optical zoom and a digital zoom. I am so jealous of this present, but that is the nice part about having a fiance (or spouse, I assume) - you can buy them things that you want and still get to use them! Ok, within reason, I know you have all seen the episode of The Simpons where Homer buys Marge a bowling ball for her birthday with his name engraved in it. She then gets bowling lessons from a handsome man who tried to seduce her. Don't worry, this plan won't backfire like that!


Alright, Steven's birthday is actually DECEMBER 22nd, but I am going to post my Happy Birthday wishes to him tonight, so he can actually read them on his birthday. As you know, I tend to update very late at night, so if I post it tomorrow, he won't read it until the 23rd or later. So here we go!

Dear Steven,

I can't believe another year has slipped by. I can remember like yesterday the day I struggled to find a present for your 22nd birthday. We had only been dating for about 3 months, and I had no idea what to get for you. I wanted to get you the perfect present, to prove to you how well I knew you after dating for such little time. Already I wanted only the best for you, and to make you happy... but I crapped out and got you a stupid XBox. Worse yet, I told you it was your Christmas present as well - BAD BAD BAD!!! How unlucky to have your birthday so close to Christmas. Let's not do that to our kids, ok?

The twenty-fourth year of your life has been filled with accomplishments - you bought a house (well, technically you were 23 but blah blah), switched jobs, got a new car - you made many important decisions. Like always, you made all of these decisions after much internal debate and consideration. You are the most level headed and logical thinker I know, Steven. I am so proud of you, and what you have been able to accomplish. I hope that I can become more like you - more motivated, inspired, visionary, everything... you are a wonderful person to live with, in that you are constantly trying to better yourself and those around you.

I hope that the twenty-fifth year of your life is filled with many wonderful memories and accomplishments. I will be with you as much as possible to make this come true.

Happy Birthday! I love you!


P.S. I can't wait to give you your present! But it isn't a shoe polish station!


This does not feel like Christmas break. Christmas break should be about sleeping in, getting up late and relaxing. Instead, I am waking up early to go to work and filling every spare minute with tasks. It is awful that we spend all of our years in school anticipating breaks and vacations, because they just aren't a common part of the adult world. We are raised under false pretensions, then, like a smack across the face, we enter the real world, spend all of our time working to be able to afford shelter, clothing and food, and never get to see our families.

I am whining about this because I feel very tired and am afraid I am going to get sick if I keep this up. I usually work really hard all semester, then take the breaks in between as a time to recuperate. But I haven't had that opportunity yet. Sure, for one whole day this weekend I stayed home with Steven and his family, but I still felt like I had many tasks to do - help Steven in the kitchen, set the table, clean up messes, etc. I just want one day of total relaxation and no responsibilities. And Christmas day will not work, because that will be a chaotic day of eating too much, trying to hear six different conversations at once, and trying to open presents, say thanks for presents, and see what everyone else thought of the presents we got for them.

So I hope, very deeply, that Steven and I will have the opportunity, probably on New Year's weekend, to spend a day doing nothing. We can wake up late, make a late breakfast, watch a movie, then maybe take a nap, and probably not even take showers all day. Then we can lay in bed at the end of the night with a movie on the TV. I just think if I keep going at the speed I am, my immune system is going to quit, and I am going to arrive in Rome sick.

I can't believe I will be leaving for Rome in only two weeks.


I am awful at baking, decorating, cleaning, making the bed, washing the dishes, and almost any other household task you can imagine. I have failed at most every domestic task laid before me this weekend - I burnt the Christmas sugar cookies, slaughtered Steven's birthday cake, put out too many tacky decorations, cleaned the same things over and over again, forgot to make the bed and had to re-wash almost every dish I tried to clean. Did I miss some sort of domestication classes when I was growing up? When do women learn to do all of these things? Do I just have bad attention for detail? Am I too sloppy? Oh, and on top of it all - I am impatient, and that just doesn't help.

I am just going to let Steven be the housewife, and I will just be his little helper.


He actually did it - Steven bought me a separate Christmas tree for my Star Wars ornaments. He even set it up (it is fake) and put the ornaments on it while I was passed out from a food coma! What a sweetie. I think Steven is really getting into the Christmas spirit this year - decorating the house, cooking elaborate meals, buying lots of presents... I am surprised. It feels nice to be able to share my excitement over the holiday with Steven, and to work together as a team. I am finding out that we work very well together, you know, cleaning the house, cooking, helping each other out, blah blah blah. It is nice to know now (rather than to find out the opposite later, say, when we are married).

Tree #2

I think Data is confused and annoyed that there are so many people in Steven's house (6 of us), and also because the house has gone through so many changes in the last week - two Christmas trees, a new dining room table, and two new houseplants (ever wonder how to keep your cat out of the Christmas tree? Just buy a new houseplant at the same time - that will hold their attention!). Data has been trying hard to keep up with everyone, but whenever he gets the chance, he just passes out. I want to do the same. So badly.


Maybe Steven should have been an interior designer. I think his home decorating skills rival those of Martha Stewart (but his business ethics are much, much different). He put together this centerpiece on his own free will! He bought all the pieces separately, at different stores, then put it all together. I am very impressed.

Steven's lovely centerpiece

And if you are wondering, we ended up putting the silver balls on the tree. For now. We will see how long that lasts...


Tonight was my last night in Ames, and I spent it with two gorgeous women - Cristina and Alejandra! We had dinner at a yummy Mexican restaurant in Ames and exchanged Christmas gifts. The three of us were in the same studio this semester - so we went through the whole crappy semester together. It was nice to have my friends there, dealing with the same problems as me (in studio). I am really going to miss them when I am in Rome next semester. Hmm, they are both small enough to fit in a suitcase...

I am so anxious to leave Ames for Chicago. I think it is just because we are celebrating Christmas with Steven's family this weekend, and Steven and I have been working so hard to prepare. So, in my mind, the weekend will be flawless and perfect. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Does that ever happen in anyone's family?

POLL | DECEMBER 14, 2005

Which would you rather have on your Christmas tree - some fun and exciting Star Wars ornaments (Option A), or some boring, yet "elegant" silver ball ornaments (Option B)? And keep in mind, there are many, MANY more Star Wars ornaments than what is shown below.

Ornament Poll

Steven and I are currently having a debate over which ornaments to use on the tree. I have been collecting the Star Wars ornaments since 1997, and imagined that SOMEDAY I would be able to put them on my first Christmas tree. I guess I was wrong! Okay, okay, Steven paid for the tree, it is his house, he will see the tree the most, and be the one who has to take it down all by himself, but can't I please, pretty please put my ornaments on there too?


Check out the gorgeous ring Nick gave to Courtney! I never realized my brother had such good taste, I can't wait to see it in person!

Bling Bling Engagment Ring

Speaking of engagements... I found some pictures of the Cuneo Museum (where Steven and I would like to have our wedding and reception) today when I was cleaning my room. We are in the process of reserving September 1st, 2007 for the wedding, but it has been a bit of a headache. We decided last summer that we would like to have the wedding there, but the calendar didn't open for 2007 until this Fall. When we contacted the museum in the Fall they immediately tried to have us sign a contract to reserve the place before we could even meet with the wedding coordinator there. And whenever we try to set up a meeting with the wedding coordinator, she blows us off or refers us to someone else. So there might never be a wedding! Just kidding, but we are already annoyed, and this is just the beginning. I haven't even started looking for a dress yet, and the wedding is only a year and a half away! Maybe now Courtney and I can look together!


Glamour is the only women's magazine I continue to read because: a. it does not encourage women to have as much uncommitted sex as possible (ahem, Cosmopolitan), b. it is not full of ads and articles about clothes and makeup (Allure) and c. it isn't full of useless celebrity articles (People, US Weekly, etc.). I admit, a few tawdry articles are tucked in there, but generally, Glamour features current event articles as well. Some articles are biased, but it gives me a base for conducting my own research if I am interested enough.

I was excited to find the article "Women Who Blog" in the January issue. From the title and header ("Are they self-absorbed exhibitionists? Groovy Free Spirits? Or just plain bored? Meet them and decide for yourself. By Julie Klam") I assumed that the author was going to discuss the motivations behind keeping an online "journal" and use some blogs as examples. Instead the article used a few paragraphs to say that women bloggers "must always be on display, " then referenced a few (interesting blogs).

Hmm, I concur and disconcur (sorry, I had to use one of my made up words there). I think this is true of many of the "pseudo" blogs - the ones hosted by facebook, myspace, and sometimes livejournal. These are free websites that offer some customization and space for blogging and leaving comments. Sometimes though, you have to be someone's "friend" to leave a comment for them, and a lot of people don't even blog, they just use their sites to leave random, pointless comments for one another. In my opinion, any blog that lists how many "friends" you have is just a cry for attention. I have not found one good site hosted by any of these services that is updated consistently with interesting information. And the worst part - they are full of ads because they are free.

I am not saying this site is perfect. I write about boring stuff - school, work, the cat... but this site is intended for my family and to meet new friends, so I am not worried about how many hits I get a day. I am just using it to keep in touch, and I think that is what many people are doing - to reach out and find others who share their interests. I don't like the idea of "being on display." That is the last thing I want. I try to keep to myself as much as possible at school, and I only act goofy around the people that I know and trust.

It is amazing how many people have personal websites now. The article quoted it at 50 million bloggers worldwide, but there are probably even more. I think this is a wonderful phenomenon, but also threatening. Some people are writing things on their sites that are distasteful or disturbing, and it is easy to find them by accident. Also, when children spend a lot of time using the computer, whether to blog or for something else, they become addicted and it dampers their social life (in my opinion).

So the article wasn't that great (you can download it to read here) but it got me thinking. And I did enjoy two of the sites it referenced - www.dooce.com and poundy.com so check them out!


I am going to have a new sister-in-law because... my brother proposed to Courtney today!!! She told me that Nick had it all planned out - Baby Nicholas was going to hand her the ring box and then Nick was going to pop the question. But instead the baby decided to hit her in the head with it, and when she turned around to tell him NO she saw what the box was. Aww... so cute! I am so happy for them (and I can't wait to see the ring)! Nick and Courtney will be really happy together, and I can't wait to call Courtney my sister-in-law!

Steven and I put up our first, real Christmas tree today. The house smells so good - it smells like Christmas!

Our first tree!


I have found myself unexpectedly hooked on listening to the various Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums. I was browsing CDs at the Ames Public Library when I saw the Mannheim Steamroller album A Fresh Aire Christmas. The name sounded familiar, so I picked it up... and now I am addicted! I went back to check out the albums Christmas Extraordinaire and Christmas, and I have not been disappointed!

Mannheim Steamroller is alias name of composer Chip Davis. When all record labels refused to represent him in 1974, he created his own company (American Gramaphone) and an alias name of the band, to better promote the album. The Christmas albums feature traditional Christmas songs performed on electrical bass and synthesizers. Some of the songs remind me a lot of soft techno music - they are very upbeat and make you want to get up and move. Some of the other songs are more classical - they are calming and would be nice to listen to and relax.

My favorite song is Hallelujah, the first song on the Christmas Extraordinaire. It is one of the upbeat songs. Parts of it remind me of Fanfare for the Common Man (that song they always play at the Olympics), and other parts remind me of Daft Punk, a techno group I like. Anyway, the song is a really neat variation compared to the typical Hallelujah we hear. I wish I could share it with all of you... but that is illegal. I encourage you to check out this song at your library, or listen to a sample of it here (pop-ups must be enabled, and you can't use Firefox).

Of course, Steven told me I was being a dork for liking this type of music so much, but I just can't help it!


Well, that was one of the most surprising reviews I have ever had. I have been unmotivated about this Mediatheque project for the better half of the semester. So I didn't feel that my final efforts were going to amount in much praise from our reviewers. Alejandra and I gave a very rough presentation of it (I guess that is what happens when you go to bed at 6:30am), but after the reviewers took the time to look over our drawings and models, they told us they couldn't find anything inherently wrong with it. They got nit picky with a few details, but overall told us that our building was "very well resolved," "functional," and "actually buildable." It seems silly, but those are nice compliments - it means they could actually imagine our building going through construction and being used in real life. This is nice to hear when you spend all semester working on a pretend project that never really gets built. So I am satisfied with the review and extremely happy it is over. Now I am off to Chicago to help Steven buy a (real!) Christmas tree.

FIN. | DECEMBER 8, 2005

The end is near. My final studio review is on Friday and then I will be DONE DONE DONE!!! This will be my worst review ever - the 1:50 model is not finished, the printer was broken and messed up our drawings, and ... I don't care anymore, so I won't put much effort into it. Muah ha ha, oh well. After the review is over, I will slip into bed to take a much deserved nap, then wake up to pack up my apartment, go back to bed, then wake up to drive to Chicago. I will be in so much joy because I will be done with all this studio BS - no more stupid instructor, no more loud classmates, no more arguing with my partner... my stress level will be cut in half!

A funny thing about being an architecture student is that you don't worry about your finals. You are so busy the week before finals preparing for your studio review that you don't even think about your final exams. Then when you are finally done with studio and feeling extremely relieved and relaxed, studying for final exams feels like a break compared to the studio work you have been doing all semester.

So, I think I have a final on Monday, one on Wednesday and a pseudo final on Thursday. But I don't care. In my mind, the semester is finished tomorrow. The rest is a breeze.


When I went outside to start my car this morning, I heard a delicate and quiet crunching noise. I looked around, and sure enough, there was a plump little squirrel sitting in a tree eating a nut. Don't squirrels hibernate during the cold season? Anyway, I thought he was being absolutely adorable, just sitting there, contently eating his breakfast.

Squirrel eating breakfast

I heard some sort of Christmas ad today that featured little kids with squeaky voices saying what they wanted for Christmas. They sounded pretty convincing, and I think they may have been real kids. I could just hear the excitement in their voices, and it got me thinking - am I too old to be as excited about Christmas as I am? It is not the same as when I was younger and excited about presents. Now it is about picking out gifts, decorating the house, wrapping presents, and most importantly, spending time with the people I love. I have only been listening to Christmas music lately, and gift giving and buying is always on my mind. Is this normal behavior for an adult?


What defines "home" when you are a college student? Is it the town you grew up in, the town you go to school in, or something else altogether? I haven't slept in the house I grew up in once since I started college. I feel weird and out of place whenever I go back to my hometown, because I feel like I don't belong anywhere. I still run into people that I know and know how to get around town, but I don't feel like I have a purpose when I am there - I am only there to visit. So, I don't feel like that is my home anymore, even though most of my family lives there.

Ames is closer to being a home, because I live here most of the year, know my way around town, and have a job. But I don't have a permanent residence here. I have lived in a different place almost every year I have gone to school, so I have never really had time to "settle in" to a home. So I pretty much consider Chicago(area) my home now. That is where Steven and Data are, I am getting really good at navigating around the suburbs, and I have already had two different jobs there. Plus, that is where I will most likely live after I graduate and I feel comfortable there.

The only reason I am thinking about this is because I am in the process of packing and moving - a process I go through at least twice a year. Is it normal for college students to pack all of their worldly possessions and move this often? I did it first to move to the dorms, then out for the summer, then back to the dorms, then to an apartment the same year, then to Chicago, then back to a different apartment, then to Chicago then back to an apartment. And now I am moving everything to Chicago FOR GOOD! I am sick of all this packing and moving, and if I consider Chicago my home, I am just going to leave my things there and live out of a suitcase for my last year of school.


I was doing laundry at 3am this morning, and as I walked back and forth from my apartment to the laundry building in the frigid (-8°F weather) I remembered a goofy story about my mom.

Every year when I was growing up, my mom would plan an April Fools joke to play on me and my siblings. One year, when we were all still younger, and she still helped us get dressed for school and wash our clothes, she took us downstairs to get our clothes. That is where our washer and dryer were, so we figured they were finishing drying. But instead, she pulled all of our school clothes out of our huge deep freezer. They were all still like sticks and freezing cold. She handed them to us and said, "Ok, go get dressed for school!" We all looked at her like she was crazy and started laughing. I have no idea how long she had them in there, but it was impossible to even bend them!

So when I had to go pick up my jeans from the washer to air dry them, and was carrying them outside in the cold air, it reminded me of the way the jeans felt that my mom handed me that day - not stiff, but very cold and wet. It is funny what events in life can trigger memories.


In celebration of another cranky day, I am going to list some of my biggest pet peeves.

1. People who chew with their mouths open (especially when eating chips). Hello! You are in college now! Act like an adult and SHUT YOUR MOUTH!!!

2. Friends who skip class because they don't feel like going, then expect you to give them the notes for the days they missed. I don't think so.

3. This one may be unique - it irks me terribly when a lot of people are entering or exiting a building but they all use the same door (when there are multiple doors available) because they don't want to exert the effort to open the door themselves. It is chivalrous to wait and hold the door open for one person, but when people are too lazy to open a door themselves it drives me nuts.

4. This one is winter specific - people who don't brush the snow off their cars before driving them. Not only is it dangerous for the driver because of decreased visibility, but it is dangerous for any car driving behind them, as all the snow will fly off onto that car, decreasing their visibility as well.

5. People who aimlessly meander through parking lots. People who stop in the middle of a parking lane for more than a minute to wait for someone to pull out of a stall. People (in their cars) who pull out of their stall even though a car is coming in a lane and may hit them if they pull out.

6. Pointless bickering about sports between people - I don't mind discussion, but why do people have to argue about it (in public) and get so worked up about it? Another pet peeve - my professor who starts every class with a discussion about sports. I do not follow ISU sports, and never will. I am here for my education, not to pay attention to our sports teams.

7. People who continuously interrupt others.

8. When people join a conversation they are not a part of to make rude comments.

9. When someone else answers a question that has been asked directly to me.

10. People who "borrow" things without asking.

11. Women who won't leave the restroom toilet stall because they don't want anyone to hear them poo.

12. Women who talk on the phone in the bathroom (yes, I know - GROSS).

13. When people eat your food, and even worse - finish all of it - without asking!

14. Grown adults who talk in a childish voice to get attention.

15. People talking on the phone in a public place where you can hear them (especially the train on the way to work in Glenview last summer), especially in a foreign language that sounds like gibberish.

16. People who play their music so loud on their headphones you can hear it anyway. Just take the headphones off!

Ah, I feel much better. And now, so I don't sound like the most negative person on the planet, I am going to name something that I love about a few people in my life (even though these aren't the people who perform the pet peeves).

Dad - He is always willing to help me fix anything.
Mom - She is always nice to everyone (even if they secretly get on her last nerves), and she NEVER swears! (Except for that one time when I was in middle school and she followed someone to their house because they were tailgating us and practically killed us... I love that story).
Nick - He loves his son more than anything in the world (you can just tell!).
Anthony - He is very witty and intelligent, plus, he will always hang out with me, going to the movies or whatnot, even though I am his sister (ha ha).
Christina - Hmm... that is a hard one... just kidding! I love my little sister's creativity and imagination.
Steven - He has the most wonderful sense of humor of anyone I know - basically, he is a big goofball. And he can do anything - he achieves greatness in everything he does (this list could go on forever, but I will spare you from that).
Courtney - She knows how to have fun! Enough said.
Misty - She is a great listener. Plus she makes kick a** cookies/cakes/brownies... drool...
Andrew - He is very laid back, and patient (at least around me). And I like that.
Linda (Steven's mom) - She is very generous, and she always makes me yummy vegetarian food!
David - He is very passionate about his interests, and very intelligent.

That was fun, and a lot more positive than the first list. If I left you off the second list you can leave me a message and I will tell you all the wonderful things I love about you!


It's a losing battle between me and mother nature. It seems that anytime I park my car, I return to find it covered in snow. I have gone through at least 3 pairs of socks every single day last week from standing in the snow brushing off my car. Ah, the joys of having a "White Christmas."


This is a controversial subject to talk about, so I will try to only present the facts. Today North Carolinian Kenneth Lee Boyd became the 1,000th inmate to be executed in the nation since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 after a ten year moratorium. Boyd murdered his estranged wife and her father in 1988. One of Boyd's sons was pinned under his wife as he was killing her and the son had to push away to escape the gunfire. Another son was there and grabbed the pistol while Boyd tried to reload. Then Boyd went outside to reload, came back into the home and called 911 to confess what he did.

This execution made headlines because it was the 1,000th, because Boyd was asking for a intervention from higher authority to stop it, and of course, to stir up some controvery about the Death Penalty. Here are some interesting quotes about the matter:

He would love to live and he would love to have the governor and the courts step in, but he's also facing the possibility that won't happen - Thomas Maher, Boyd's lawyer.

I'd hate to be remembered as that [the 1,000th inmate executed]. I don't like the idea of being picked as a number - Boyd.

He made one mistake and now it is costing him his life. A lot of people get a second chance. I think he deserves a second chance - Kenneth Smith, son of Boyd's from previous marriage.

The execution of Kenneth Boyd has not made this a better or safer world. If this 1,000th execution is a milestone, it's a milestone we should all be ashamed of - Thomas Maher.

He was executed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. The 1,001st execution was of Shawn Humphries of South Carolina, on Friday night.

I don't know enough about the Death Penalty to post my opinions about it in public. I ran into a lot of anti-death penalty websites while researching this execution, but I had to purposefully search for pro-death penalty websites.

Would you want someone to continue living after they had murdered a member of your family? What do you think about this?

Yikes, I sure have had a lot of crummy stuff on my mind lately (at least that is what you would infer from the last few posts). The truth is, I am stuck in a rut, but not because of these events. I am just sick, sick, sick of this semester. I have lost all motivation to put any effort into my work. I know this is normal, but it is really bumming me out. This lack of motivation is more severe than normal. I usually want to work really hard on my studio project to make it the best I can, but I am so sick of it I don't care what grade I get or how it turns out anymore. And this is not just because I am tired of working so hard - there are many factors making me feel this way. Sigh.

Here is a little Holiday picture that cheered me up. Hmm, it gives me some ideas... watch out Data!

Holiday Kitties!


My heart sank when I saw the top headline in today's paper - "ISU student dies after being struck by bus" (click here for online article). The student was Robert John Stupka III, a senior in biochemistry. From the article it seems that he was a very happy person with a postivie outlook on life. I feel sorry for this loss in the Stupka family and hope that they are able to let his memory live on in their lives.

© COPYRIGHT 2006 Kim Ilax. All Rights Reserved.