31 May 2007

25 May 2007

Alexander William Daigle

Sarah and Eric ushered Alexander William Daigle into the world today. He was born this morning, May 25, at 6:20 am. He weighs 8 lbs. 5 oz. and is 22 inches long. Mom and Dad are doing well after a long labor, albeit somewhat tired I would imagine! Alexander is a Daigle family name, Eric's grandfather. And I believe William is a Freeman family name, although I need to check up on that.

We are so excited for the new family and we can't wait to meet our new nephew soon!


(We'll post some pictures as soon as we have them.)

22 May 2007

Not just for secretaries...

While I admit that I am sometimes wary of yard sales (or tag sales, depending on where you're from), I also must admit when they do deliver. Andrew seems to have an internal radar for yard sales, always pointing them out and eagerly searching for his next treasure, while I try to distract him and steer him in the other direction. But alas, his trained eye proved to be most beneficial this weekend, and lucky for us both, I was nowhere within a fifteen mile radius. He has harbored a fascination for antique typewriters for some time now, and was fortunate to find this one for sale in our neighborhood for a great price.

Here is what we know about it:

Brand and Model: Underwood No. 5
Year: 1900s - 1920s
The design that launched millions of typewriters! When it appeared on the market shortly before 1900, the Underwood No. 5 immediately became the design standard for all typewriters to come, all the way up until the 1960s when the IBM Selectric came out. This is the most successful typewriter design in history, and by 1920 almost every typewriter in production was using some imitation of the Underwood No. 5 design. The production of the Underwood Models 3, 4, and 5 lasted until early 1932. The differences among the three models are subtle: The No. 3 is a wide-carriage machine, the No. 4 types 76 characters, and the No. 5 types 84 characters. The No. 5 was the quintessential Underwood. Millions of these machines were used by secretaries, journalists, government officials, and writers throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The classic desktop. (Source: mytypewriter.com)

If you are or are discovering yourself to be a typewriter enthusiast, click on the graphic below to go to a very cool website.

16 May 2007

The Rich Coast (Parte Una)

Costa Rica truly is the rich coast. It is blessed with wonderful, generous people, all kinds of exciting wildlife, and beautiful flowers, trees and plants. Despite the fact that our wedding was a number of months ago, it didn't take long to settle into honeymoon mode, and it honestly felt like we had recited our vows only hours before. It almost feels like a rite of passage to have a real vacation with your spouse--to pack up your beach gear, board a plane and not even think about cooking for a week. Indeed, Andrew's luggage even got lost (and still is!), thereby completing all the requirements for a real, adult vacation! But regardless of the luggage mishap, we feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to share this experience together.

Here are a few pictures from my camera (read: not the best ones), but I wanted to get some pictures posted so that you all would believe that we did, in fact, make it to Costa Rica and back. Once we go through the plethora of pictures that Andrew took, we'll post the highlights from those too. The first set of pictures are from when we took a trip to see Arenal, the only active volcano in the country. We enjoyed an afternoon in the hot springs and then viewed the lava spewing mountain after dark. The next few pictures show our daring flights through the jungle. The views were gorgeous and the zip lines fast. Perfect. The last couple pictures show the beaches around our resort. As we watched the sun sink into the ocean, we couldn't help but dive into the warm ocean water.

05 May 2007

Bon Voyage

Tomorrow we leave for Costa Rica. Goodbye city. Goodbye office. Goodbye schedules. Hello beach, relaxation, flip-flops and Andrew is really hoping for some monkeys! We are so looking forward to this time to soak in the sun (albeit through layers of sunscreen) and officially celebrate our marriage with a honeymoon. We'll do our best to promptly post some pictures once we return. Have a great week!

03 May 2007

The Color Purple

Last night, thanks to my parents, we went downtown to see The Color Purple. It was a great production with wonderful music and an inspiring story. I remember seeing the movie a number of years ago, and it was interesting to gain a new perspective of the story through a different medium. The movie is memorable to me; there are distinct scenes I will not forget. I remember feeling a sense of triumph when the movie was over, a sense of admiration for what people can endure. The musical provoked the same response in me, but there is nothing like music to add an emotional and cathartic element. I've always thoroughly enjoyed musicals and I consistently find myself lost in the world unfolding on the stage in front of me.

The Color Purple presents a story without any judgments. It is a statement of a woman who finds beauty and worth within herself despite a life of struggle, submission and abandonment. The story very well could (and would have a right to) focus on the struggle of blacks to succeed in a world of whites, but instead it chooses to focus on humanity's struggle to succeed in a world of sin and brokenness. And, thankfully, there is a happy ending. There is restoration. There is reconciliation.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the tickets!

02 May 2007

Adieu, Ms. Rand (for now)

I am approaching the conclusion of The Fountainhead, much to my disappointment. Perhaps what has caused me to take so long to finish this book is a subconscious desire to keep these characters alive as long as possible. I feel like I know them; I guess I do know them. They have become part of my world, my perspective. They have become a point of reference in deciphering the complexities of humankind and its role in society.

In my last post about this novel, I neglected (intentionally) to discuss Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism, which serves as the motivation behind each of her novels. Briefly, objectivism advocates reason and egoism as absolutes. "My philosophy, in essence," she said, "is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." This is evident in Howard Roark, the hero of The Fountainhead. In a further explanation of her philosophy, Ayn Rand states
, "Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life."

There is plenty in Ayn Rand's philosophy to which I object, namely, that it is devoid of any room for compassion, benevolence, social responsibility. It is purely individualistic, and we have all probably witnessed the negative fallout from a gross individualism. However, there is a baby here not to be thrown out with the bathwater. In one scene in The Fountainhead, Gail Wynand tells Howard Roark that he thinks Howard ought to be more selfish, to which Howard objects, saying he's the most egotistical person he knows. Gail wonders how that can be true because he believes Howard displays an indescribable kindness, thereby negating any chance that he could be so
egotistical. Gail grapples with the opposing concepts of egoism and kindness. Are they opposing? How can they be reconciled? And can they possibly be reconciled within one man?

But Gail is right. Howard is kind. He's an extremely likable
character, and for many of the reasons purported by Ayn Rand's philosophy. Instead of denouncing Howard for his egoism, uncompromising standards and unwillingness to cooperate conventionally, you find yourself cheering him on. He represents something noble. I am still reconciling these opposing concepts myself. The closest I have come is recognizing that society can, at times, benefit from individual selfishness. For example, during a monstrous Chicago snowstorm, do you think the snow plowers get up in the middle of the night for my benefit? Do you think they're thinking about my day and my need to be able to drive to work the next morning? No. They plow the roads because it's their job and they are working for their paycheck, to support themselves, for their own sake. But I benefit.

Of course we need people to do things for the sake of other people. Of course it is noble to be unselfish. But I'm just trying to reconcile Ayn Rand with my world and what I know and think to be true. She's on to something that need not be disregarded because it has the appearance of being heartless and offensively individualistic.

In any case, I bid my farewell to The Fountainhead. One of these days I will read Atlas Shrugged. But I think I need a break. What's next you ask? Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. Alexis may complement Ms. Rand nicely. We shall see.