Posted by: David | November 27, 2009

A Belated Thanksgiving

It’s always good to give thanks, even after Thanksgiving is over. So here’s my version of Guitta’s ABC list, with family, friends, and God left off.

Adulthood. It’s nice not to be a teenager. Sorry, but the best years of my life are still ahead.

Beer–exported, from small breweries, or on tap. Borders Bookstore, too.

Church Calendar. I’m determined to celebrate it this year. What a great way to remember the basics of Christianity and to feel connected with the saints present and past.

Disney cartoons. I can’t wait for David to watch my favorites–Robin Hood, Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Aladdin. Decaf coffee; let’s not forget decaf coffee.

Easter, where all my hopes of resurrection lie.

Flowood Public Library, where you can read for free, IF you remember to turn the books back in on time.

Goodreads.com. As tempting as it is to say, “Look how many books I’ve read,” it’s so nice to have a tool for organizing and writing about what I have been reading over the past few years.

Hot baths. Hospitals, too, especially after David Jr.’s arrival.

Icecream. Buttern pecan with sprinkles.

J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, and “Jack” (C. S.)Lewis

Kisses from Guitta and from Hersheys.

Latin. It’s what earns me the big bucks.

Milkshakes. Chocolate Milkshakes. From Chick-fil-a. Mmm.

Netflix, which has allowed me to watch Northern Exposure.

The Office, though lately the show has taken a turn for the worse.

Politics. For some people, it’s a sport.

Quiet. Why don’t you take five seconds to just shut your eyes and turn off your thoughts? Wasn’t that nice?

Restaurants–Aladdins, Bone Fish, Little Tokyo, and La Cazuela.

Stories, one of the biggest shapers of my life. There’s something else that starts with “s” that I really like, but I can’t remember it right now.

Travel. I haven’t done a whole lot, but I often find myself fantasizing about where I’d go if I had a million dollars. The places I’ve been to have been a lot of fun.

University of Florida Distance Learning Program. I’m so thankful that I can pursue a masters and still work.

Vacations, one of the major perks of being a teacher.

Wine from Chile and Australia, good but under $15.

Xtra strength Tyllenol.

Youtube, the source of so many funny videos and free music.

Zoos. I can’t wait to take David to see the elephants and giraffes.

James 1:17:  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows

Posted by: David | August 31, 2009

En Provence, Part Deux

Sorry for the long delay since the last post. After Nice and Monaco, we bused to Aix (pronounced “”ex”)-en-Provence  for a short three hour or so visit. As a Latin nerd, I took interest in the fact that the town was founded in 123 BC by a Roman consul named Sextius Calvinus, who named the town Aquae Sextiae (the waters of Sextius) after its warm springs.

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On the ride there, I saw fields of grapevines, cut back to such an extent that they looked dead. Having recently taught about the yearly resurrection of Bacchus, I was excited to see the “dead” vines which would soon be springing to life.

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We were dropped off at the fountain above and began strolling down the Cours Mirabeau, the central lane (pictured below), which was lined with beautiful plane trees.

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Pictured below is a fountain flowing with the warm waters that first attracted the Romans to the site. 

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These two guys below looked pretty impressive and I had to get a shot. An older French man noticed the group and struck up a conversation with the French teacher. He trailed her for a bit and even bought her a gift. Ah, the French.

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After our very brief visit, we headed to Avignon, where we would be staying for the next few days. Our hotel was located in the old city, where the walls still remain, surrounding the Papal Palace and lots of buildings and shops. Avignon is the site of the Babylonian Captivity, the period from 1305-1378 when the Popes left the dangerous environment of Rome to reside in France. I did not realize that these were legitimate Popes. It was only after the Papacy returned to Rome that the French bishops elected their own Pope, Clement the VII, and then Benedict the XIII, both of whom have long since been declared false Popes by the Catholic Church. The Papal Palace was impressive, somewhat like Hogwarts actually.

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 A golden statue of Mary dominates the palace. She looks down upon the much less impressive crucified Christ.

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Inside the palace, there are two main courtyards, a fixture that I have always thought was cool. If I ever get to design my own house, it will include one. 

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Here I am at the second level of one of the courtyards, pondering theology. 

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My nephews would have had so much fun in this castle, especially at the top of one of the towers (below).

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Stay tuned. There’s a lot more to follow.

Posted by: David | May 24, 2009

Parlez vous Francais? Part Un

In the excitement and busyiness of gaining a new family member, my trip to France has understandably taken a back seat. Now that things have settled down a bit, I want to publish a series of posts chronicling my time in Provence and Paris. I hope that this won’t be too boring for you readers, but I will try to keep it interesting.

Over spring break, two teachers and I took a group of twenty-two students on a trip to see Roman France. From the time of the Roman Republic, there was a Latin presence in southern France, which Julius Caesar extended to further include the entire present-day country. As they did with all their colonies, the Romans brought with them civilized life, the ruins of which remain today, often in better condition than in Rome itself. Much of our trip we spent exploring these, but we also focused on French culture and history.

Day One:  Flight To Nice

It was a sad departure early Friday morning. In our nearly three years of marriage, Guitta and I had not spent a night apart, and neither of us were eager to return to sleeping alone. I was going to miss her, and my eyes were beginning to water as I kissed her goodbye. To compound the matter, I have developed a minor phobia of flying. Every little bump in the plane, every unfamiliar sound jolts my pulse into panic mode, and I squeeze my eyes shut until the moment passes. It seems like every plane that flies out of Jackson is tiny, too, and every gust of wind sends it rocking. Thankfully, the plane in Atlanta got bigger and the one flying out of New York was even bigger, making flights progressively smoother. It was a long day of travel. In fact, it lasted over a day–twenty-six hours or so of reading, listening to music, walking about the plane, and precious little sleeping. One of the things I had to read over the course of my trip was a series of sweet, sweet letters from Guitta, one for each day.

Day Two:  Nice and Monaco

After only two or so hours of sleep, I looked out the window and saw the morning sun rising over the Mediterranean Sea, the same waves, I thought in a moment of romanticism, that Odysseus and his crew rowed through. The city of Nice eased into view, green mountains blanketed with little white buildings sloping down to the blue water.

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We met our guide at the airport. Her name was Francis, a short, cheerful British woman who spoke fluent French and could walk like a machine; through the streets of Paris you would often find a steadily lengthening line of teenage students struggling to keep up with this forty/fifty-year-old’s pace. From the airport, we immediately took a bus with big windows up the mountains of Nice to the highest point of the city, where Augustus had constructed a monument to himself, called the Trophy of Augustus. He had it built on the Via Julia (the Julian Road) to celebrate his victory over a host of local tribes who had been troubling Roman merchants. The narrow road is still there in part, with houses on either side, many bearing Latin inscriptions, like non sine deo (not without God), deus non irridetur (God is not mocked). and others. When we followed the street to the top of the mountain, we saw the monument itself. At one time, it had been a huge square with a dome built on top. Now, it is largely stripped of its stone, the material being used to build a cathedral in Monaco.

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After lunch, we loaded the bus again and drove to the tiny country of Monaco, which, at less than a square mile in area, is the second smallest country in the world. (Vatican City is the only one smaller.) Our only destination there was the Cathedral, which, as I said earlier, was built from the stone of the Trophy of Augustus. This was the first of several cathedrals we visited, and it was very impressive and beautiful.

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I saw many crucifixes in churches and museums, and I noticed that they often bear the four letters INRI, which stands for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews).

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It was so good to get back to my hotel room, which was TINY. I was so exhausted I slept like a baby.

Up next:  Aix-en-Provence and Avignon.

Posted by: David | May 24, 2009

Burning Ring of Fire

I like this reinterpretation. Have a listen.

Posted by: David | May 10, 2009

Star Wars Spoofs

One of the things I look forward to doing with young David is introducuing him to my favorite movies and books. Star Wars is definitely on that list.  When I was little, very few things could send such a wave of electricity through my imagination as Luke Skywalker’s light saber. Today, some of that excitement is gone, but I still get a big kick out of youtube spoofs. Here are a few that I think are clever. Some have some crudities in them, but they are relatively minor.

Posted by: David | May 3, 2009

More Pictures

Some more pictures for you.

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Guitta and I have become proficient at swaddling. We often refer to David as our little burrito.

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Samuel making an early move in his compaign to become favorite uncle.

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Hairy arms make good pillows.

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This will be the only time in his life when we will actually want to kiss his feet.

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David has had enough of pictures.

What follows is the story from my point of view of just what happened from March 23rd to March 30th.

Two days after getting back from France, Guitta woke me to tell me that her shorts were soaked. As I was trying to figure out through my seriously sleep-deprived consciousness what was going on, she soaked through another pair of underwear, a clear signal that a phone call to the doctor was in order. A few minutes later, with no bags packed, no mattress in our baby bed, and a birthing booklet unread, we left a startled Cora behind and sped toward the hospital. As if the night wasn’t full of enough surprises, our usual route was interrupted by flashing blue lights and a police officer informing us that we would have to turn around because a police chase had ended badly. No problem. We took an alternate route. Along the way, I was worried that the baby might be in trouble with no amniotic fluid left in the womb, and I was concerned that my increased speed might result in a car accident. Strangly enough, I was also excited that our baby was on his way. Entering the emergency room entrance, we went through the usual ordinary registering, signing a form, and waiting for a wheelchair, all of which seemed so inappropriate when the time seemed so urgent.

In good time, we made it to a room where a nurse checked Guitta and determined that she was a mere centimeter dilated. It was quite painful for Guitta to be checked because her cervix was still high up. That was the first of many instances when I saw my wife in pain, and I hated watching it. In fact, of the two times when I almost cried during the entire process, one of them was after five hours of Guitta moaning and shouting. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Her water had definitely broken, we were informed, and we weren’t going to be leaving without having a baby–whenever that might be. Guitta and I dozed off in the wee hours of the morning and were awakened by our doctor, who told us that she would like to wait for Saturday to try to deliver so that the baby would be at least thirty-four weeks when he was born. Later in the week, the date was moved to Tuesday. Guitta, being the typical only child, was not thrilled to be sharing her birthday.

So, for the next six days Guitta lay in an uncomfortable bed, and I slept in an uncomfortable pull-out sofa. During the day, Guitta read books and magazines, entertained visitors, wrote thank-you notes, and even paid bills, while I continued to go to work. Then came Monday morning. For the second time in a week, I was awakened at 1:30 a. m. by Guitta, this time experiencing contractions that weren’t going away. They were strengthening, in fact, and apparently, according to her fists clinched on the bed rail and her steadily intensifying screams, they hurt. A little sleep, at least between contractions, came with the pain reliever Stadol, but the pain was still there, and Guitta became increasingly frustrated that the anesthesiologist had not yet arrived.

Finally, at 6:30 or so, the anesthesiologist did come, thankfully arriving at work a little earlier than he normally did. According to hospital policy, I was asked to leave while Guitta got her epidural, and I was glad to comply. I was so stressed from Guitta’s night of pain that I very nearly broke down and cried as I waited to be let back in. Guitta was sleeping not long after I returned, and for the next few hours, I made phone calls, updated facebook, and talked with my in-laws, who had recently arrived.

Then, at 9:30-ish, Guitta was completely dilated and urged me to clear the room for her. Everything  happened so fast. Equipment was rolled or lowered into place, the room inflated with doctors and nurses, and Guitta was coached to take a deep breath and to pushpushpushpushpush! Again, take a deeeeeeep breath and pushpushpushpushpush! “I can’t do it!” cried Guitta at one point. “Yes you can!” several nurses and I immediately shouted back. I had imagined myself being very emotional and even grossed out by what was going on at my wife’s bottom half, but surprisingly, I was clear-headed and very interested to see all the action. Soon, at 9:44 a. m. on March 30th, our little boy emerged without even a little cry. He was covered in white gunk, looking like a little goblin, and the sight scared me. Guitta gave a small scream. (I later learned that this must have been from the rest of the baby coming out of her because she said he looked cute when she first saw him.) A big part of me thought that he was dead, but the nurses’ and doctor’s happy greetings convinced me otherwise. After the baby was cleaned off, he looked remarkably cute. I cut his cord and he was passed off to some doctors to check his breathing, etc. I remember telling Guitta, “Babe, he’s really cute, and I’m not just saying that because he’s our son!” Since there was nothing particularly life-threatening about his situation, Guitta and I were allowed to hold him before I escorted our tiny son to the NICU. As I walked out of our room with baby boy, Guitta’s parents were allowed to see him briefly.

Then it was off to the NICU, where I was given the run-down of how things worked there. After a lot of hard work, Guitta slept for much of the time immediately postpartum. Doctors visited, phones rang, we switched rooms, and finally, late that afternoon, Guitta and I discussed names. We narrowed it down to three Davids–David Christian, David Elijah, and David Olson. At the very beginning of the naming process, Guitta was not in favor of having two people in our house who went by David, and I was not in favor of calling our son Olson. If David Christian or David Elijah had been chosen, we would have called him by his middle name. But toward the end of her pregnancy, Guitta began thinking of and even referring to our baby as David. Christian and Elijah, once so attractive, did not seem right. So there you have it. Much to the delight of my family, David Olson Hogue, Jr. was chosen.

Guitta and I are incredibly thankful to our God and Father for his protection of mother and child, for David’s healthy development and safe arrival home, and for the prayers, encouragement, and help of all our friends and family. We are rich with blessings. Thank you all for your love! And thank you, Heavenly Father, for your kindness!

Posted by: David | March 31, 2009

Welcome to the world.

David Olson Hogue, Jr., decided that he didn’t want to wait for his mama to be induced on Tuesday. Or maybe he just didn’t want to share his birthday with her. In any case, Guitta started having contractions around one o’clock this morning and gave birth at 9:44 a. m. to a five-pound-two-ounce boy 18 1/2 inches long. His breathing was shallow and he was put in NICU to make sure everything was okay. There is so much to write, but for now, I just want to post pictures for those who don’t have facebook.

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Posted by: David | March 8, 2009

Manly Men

I am not ashamed to recognize manliness when I see it. I think manliness is a good thing in men, and there are certain men in the movies who should be recognized for their outstanding manliness. The following is a list of the top sixteen, not in chronological order, and the movies that I liked them in. Do you have any suggestions to add to the list?

1.  Mel Gibson, Braveheart and The Patriot

2.  Sean Connery, The Untouchables.

3.  Liam Neeson, Rob Roy.

4.  Robert De Niro, The Mission and The Godfather, Part 2.

5.  Jeremy Irons, The Mission.

6.  Clive Owen, Gosford Park.

7.  Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino.

8.  Al Pacino, Godfather, Parts 1-3

9.  Ian McKellan, The Lord of the Rings.  (Yes, I recognized the irony here.)

10.  Harrison Ford, Star Wars

11.  Patrick Stewart, X-Men and Star Trek

12.  Chow Yun Fat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

13.  Morgan Freeman, The Power of One

14.  Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur

15.  Jim Caviezel, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Passion of the Christ

16.  Joseph Fiennes, Luther and Enemy At the Gates

Posted by: David | February 12, 2009

Adventures In Childbirth Class

Life is fairly normal these days for Guitta and me, as we wait for our little boy to arrive. Lately, my work at home and school has been accumulating, my sleep has been decreasing, and my stress has been growing. As I was teaching my sixth period Latin class the other day, I was suddenly hit by faintness, shortness of breath, and a feeling of heat in my head. I was very nearly forced to leave so that I could get things together, but I taught through it, and the feeling soon went away. It looks to me like my old friend Anxiety/Panic Attack was stopping by for a brief visit, as he sometimes does. I hope he doesn’t stay. I don’t think he will, but pray for me please.

Guitta and I have started childbirth classes, and yes, Greg Hawkins, it is really good to take them. I can’t imagine trying to go through the whole process of rushing and timing and pushing and breathing without some classroom preparation. So far, the class has been helpful, and a little frightening. Despite Guitta’s growing basketball, life has seemed to be as it always has been, but the class serves as a reminder that baby’s a-coming. We have watched two very graphic videos about childbirth. I couldn’t stop giggling during one very gross scene, and I had to fight against crying twice when the babies in the films were born. I have no doubt the tears will come when our baby arrives. Better pack some Kleenex.

During last Tuesday’s meeting, we couples were going to sit on the floor and practice breathing techniques. While I helped clear the area of chairs, I accidentally hit one of the other dads on the forehead with the chair leg, and a small stream of blood began to ooze from the nick. The instructor bandaged him up. I felt absolutely horrible and was embarrased for the rest of the class. Maybe Guitta can make a sign for me to wear that says, “Warning:  I have been known to accidentally beat people. Pray for my wife and baby.”

Well, it’s back to working and waiting for me. The adventure will begin soon enough.

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