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it's the only explanation. I got 2 new pairs of socks (different colors). I washed them. I wound up with ONE SOCK.

The babysitter can't make it for tomorrow night, sadly, because she is in the hospital. (And in the middle of being in the hospital with as yet not really diagnosed ailment, she remembers that she was supposed to babysit and gets her mother to call me. Talk about organized. Wow.)
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or, why I am often impressed by the after-school program...

The playground areas are completely flooded right now as the snow melts. I could easily imagine the staff just telling the kids to stay away from the playgrounds. Instead, when I went to pick A up, I found them all outside sailing little boats they'd made in the wonderful temporary "pond".

downhill

Mar. 7th, 2009 04:13 pm
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I won't say things can't get worse since I can think of all too many ways they could, but they haven't exactly been improving.

E got sent home from daycare on Friday since she threw up (found out I had to go pick her up the second I got back from dropping A off). Didn't do it again yesterday, but then threw up all over me and herself at the bike store today. Something tells me I better not count on being at work on Monday.

Been meaning to comment on the lice letter sent home from school--one side is in English, one in Spanish, and they don't say the same thing! Not just phrasing differences, but different and in some cases conflicting information. Gah.
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Yesterday, the good shovel broke (during one of the few times it wasn't me using it!). So I thought I'd try to replace it today.
Saw the weather forecast this morning and knew I'd BETTER replace it today.
Home Depot was sold out.
Target was sold out.
The Ace nearer home is closing and moving elsewhere--everything is 80% off, but there is just about nothing left in the store.
Walmart was sold out.
I finally went to the new Ace. I was overjoyed to find a whole section of many different kinds of snow shovels.
I went to check out and wrote a check.
It got rejected (for some unknown reason--I had written a check from the same account at Target today, succesfully).
Gave up and dug out a credit card.

I miss Mardi Gras. Not the day itself so much, but the whole season of king cakes and local parades.

Yesterday A looked at the newspaper that was on the table and asked "What does the paper say about Obama?". I don't know if she recognized his picture or his name, but she easily pointed out his name when I asked.
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There's a new store near daycare, which sells a very small selection of gourmet foods: flavored oils and vinegars, fancy pasta, a few other odds and ends. That's it. What I've tried has been very good, but I just can't imagine this place staying in business more than a month or two.

It's been really hard to get A moving in the mornings. She knows how to do each individual necessary task, but she just can't seem to actually keep moving without someone right there prodding her. It is unfortunately a lot like the person I'm training at work, who will almost never go on to do something you asked them to if you're not actually watching (and won't ask questions if stuck, either....argghhh).

I want to print out my paycheck info but all I get (and all I've gotten for the last few days) when I try going to the right website is a completely bank page. Pretty soon it will be time to deal with the dreaded internal support folks.
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My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers ... our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

art

Jan. 17th, 2009 09:49 pm
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been meaning to say, I am so impressed with A's drawing and coloring skills. Her people and animals are so lively (though with the animals the exact species may be in doubt!) and when she's in the mood for it, coloring in of pictures is pretty much grownup-quality--very smooth and regular and in the lines. (no, I don't urge her to do it that way at all; that's just how she does it). And they have stories behind them--I admired a little person she drew in a very small notebook she got at a birthday party today (hosted by a mom far braver than I--no way would I invite the whole class!)
and she then colored it and added some details--"It's you, Mom, in a fancy red dress with a flower on it putting a carrot in Daddy's lunch".

We will not here go into how long it takes her to get moving in the morning. Arrrgghhh.

Looking longingly at Oceanana ...
if we wind up going to NC in June rather than April, as seems likely, it might be a possibility.
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Lowest local temp of the past few days (from new indoor/outdoor thermometer): -22F (wish I knew how to get a degree sign, it just looks wrong without..)

Actually, it's easy to tell if it's below zero; that's when the garage door refuses to open.

Finally got new curtains for the bedroom. Tab-top curtains (that is, they have loops at the top that go over the curtain rod). Which means you can open and close them without having the stupid little hooks fall off the rings every time. Yay.

I survived the week at work, sort. of. Now my home computer is refusing to connect to the work computer, and I can't do a darn thing about it til Tuesday (not that I know what to do then, but might at least be able to drag someone over to look at it). Pretty sure the problem is with the work computer since I can connect to the VPN just fine; I just can't get the remote desktop connection to work. Yes, it worked Wednesday. No, I have no clue what changed, other than the latest microsoft patches and rebooting it a couple of times.
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I stopped to look through the pile of saved newspapers while cleaning up a closet.

Very depressing:

Hurricane Andrew (in great detail, living in Miami at the time)
Slidell floods
9/11/2001
Columbia
Hurricane Katrina
35W bridge collapse

Semi-encouraging:
Newspapers from when the kids were born
Tapestry getting a new building
Retek moving into new building (the company technically doesn't exist anymore after being gobbled up by Oracle and moving elsewhere and that building STILL has the Retek logo on it...)
Obama winning

Winter

Dec. 30th, 2008 10:25 pm
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You know it's winter when...

--you drop a gallon of milk on the porch, it breaks, spilling milk all over. By the time you have brought the other groceries inside and go back out to clean up, the milk has FROZEN onto the porch. And this is on a relatively warm day.

--when shoveling snow, your glasses don't just fog over, they frost over

I think I've almost rebalanced my life from all the winters I missed when living in Miami.

2.5

Dec. 24th, 2008 10:23 pm
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Little one is growing up so fast...
--Ten minutes of demands for "Cookie! Cookie! Cookie!" in the middle of which I ask her "Are you turning into a cookie monster?"
A few minutes later, after finally calming down with a (non-cookie) snack, she declares with a great sense of offended dignity: "I NOT a cookie monster!".

--Whenever coming upstairs from the basement, she mysteriously turns into a cat and starts going up on all fours: "Meow! Meow! I'm a kitty!" (She does not do this going downstairs, or going up to the attic..)

--When playing with the pieces of a game that you make towers with (Chameleon), telling me in detail which tower is bigger, which is smaller.

--She is normally charming, but can have a meltdown about almost anything given the right (wrong?) conditions. Like the fact that the snowman already had a carrot nose and didn't need another.

I made a turkey tonight (and the rest of what should have been Thanksgiving dinner, had we been at home rather than at a pyramid-shaped restaurant with good company and uninspired food). This brought up some hard questions..
A: "Did someone have to kill the turkey so we could eat turkey?"
Not sure what to say to that other than yes, and that's why some people don't eat meat, and we should say thank you to the turkey...

shoes

Dec. 19th, 2008 06:49 pm
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The other thing I meant to add--what is it with kids' shoes?? The pair A is wearing now is falling apart. She's only had them since September, and for the last month or so she's only worn them inside (it now being boot weather). I hate when shoes fall apart before they even get outgrown...
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It is after 4:00 and I have no idea what to make for dinner.

There were so many car turds in the garage that I had to shovel them out.
(It's our nickname for those chunks of grimy ice that collect on cars in the winter and then fall off). It had better snow tomorrow and hide the mess. (My boss started out our one on one meeting yesterday asking how my commute was going and then proceeded to complain at length about his--we agreed it would be better to have a big storm now and then than 2 inches every other day.)

I also have no idea what happened to the chicken that I got at Rainbow. I had a coupon for it. I remember picking it up. But it was not there when I was checking out. Only thing I can think of is that I somehow put it in someone else's cart, maybe..

The presents that I bought on behalf of my parents for the kids came today, so I had a chance to wrap and hide them. This is good.

A can now read pretty much any word that ends in "at". I added a few that weren't on the homework list and she figured those out too.

E has finally been persuaded that mittens are good.
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..that's the way A sings it, and since I have been unable to clearly explain what a "bonny" is, she's still convinced it's about a rabbit..

E is home sick today, currently asleep in the beanbag. I really wanted to go out and do stuff today, but oh well.
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just trying this out..

Yes.

Oct. 29th, 2008 07:22 pm
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Copy this sentence into your LiveJournal or blog if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by people who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

Yes. I have never understood just what it was those people felt threatened by...
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That's where my bike odometer is after biking to lunch today.

So I think my goal of 1K is in reach ;-)

(That's not as impressive as it sounds since this is last year plus this year--I got a cheap odometer where it looks like you have to reset everything if you want to reset the total miles, and I didn't feel like messing with the wheelbase again. Still, I've already done more than last year's total, with another month or two of biking weather.)

Bridge

Sep. 19th, 2008 09:54 pm
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The bridge is back!
I haven't been on it yet, but you can certainly tell the difference in traffic. As in, traffic on the 3rd Avenue and Hennepin bridges actually MOVING at rush hour...

And when I went to Rainbow today (at the Quarry, very close to the Johnson St. 35W exit), you could actually see a line of cars (just off the highway) waiting at the light. Which I haven't seen for a year.

Gustav

Aug. 31st, 2008 10:07 pm
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I do want to talk about Idaho Falls and Yellowstone, which was amazing.
I had only a very vague mental image of what it would be like, which was wildly surpassed by the reality of actually seeing geysers.

I haven't read all my email yet (home email--not gonna touch the work stuff til Tues!). But the latest one is from a friend from Slidell, just before evacuating. Her husband (former coworker of mine, all-around good guy and one of the few people I know who has a sense of humor that makes sense to me) is going to stay, in a mandatory evacuation zone, with the only vehicles available being a bike and a canoe, as they've evacuated anything with a motor. I know why he's doing it; they lost a lot after Katrina because it sat there soaked for weeks and he thinks he can haul stuff up to the second floor if necessary and avoid some of the rebuilding--I know this was a long-term plan. Still, I really wish he was out of there.

If there was one thing that Andrew taught me, it was that TV images of a disaster don't do anything more than give you the barest inkling of what it's actually like.

Moving way north takes a little of the intensity out of my hurricane tracking. But I still know way too many people in the path of trouble.
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