Peace Like A River

It was a wide river, mistakable for a lake or even an ocean unless you'd been wading and knew its current. Somehow I'd crossed it... Now I saw the stream regrouped below, flowing on through what might've been vineyards, pastures, orhards... It flowed between and alongside the rivers of people; from here it was no more than a silver wire winding toward the city. - Leif Enger, Peace Like A River

Friday, January 30, 2004

Well, was the coldest night here in 6 years or so. My thermometer said -25 this morning. The wind was rather light this morning, so wind chills weren't as bad as they could've been. As I getting to work, there is a tall smokestack NW of here, and it was belching smoke, and it's so cold the smoke can't dissipate very fast, and the wind was blowing it to the SE, so there was this long blanket of smoke that partly obscured downtown, it must have stretched a few miles.

I'm enjoying The Great Fire, by Shirley Hazzard. It's artful in its use of precise language. However, my only complaint is one that literary novels can fall into, and that is the characters all kinda sound alike. More to the point, they all probably sound like the author. When writers try to get too cute and too literary, characters don't sound as believable. Even common people express lofty thoughts in high-falutin language.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Brr, more deep freeze weather. And tonight will be the coldest yet. Coldest temps in 3 years or so. And still no national media camped out here. Bah.

Grandma got Hanna some diapers for her dolls, and she plays with them a lot. She'll bring me a doll and a diaper and say "poopy diaper", and want me to put the diaper on the doll. Then she'll take the diaper off, and want me to put in on again, etc... She has fun playing with her dolls!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Those crazy, nutty weather forecasters. First they forecast a deep freeze, then more moderate temps, and now back to the deep freeze, and indeed, that's what we have. Temps will be low for the next few days. And to the NW of us, up into ND and into Canada, they are really cold. Lows from 20 to 40 below. The northern part of MN had upwards of 20 inches of snow or more.

And of course, this morning I overhear on the radio top of the hour news, more bad winter weather on the East Coast, New York had 8 inches of snow. Bah. How did that Sinatra song go? "If it doesn't happen here/It doesn't happen anywhere/It's only you/New York, New York"

Kerry won New Hampshire last night. What a fish. This is the guy the Dems want to pin their hopes on? I think Dean is a nut, and way too dangerous to be President. He's said more than enough crazy things to disqualify him, to show himself a nonserious guy. But, the two things the dumb media have been bashing him on are the two things I kinda liked about him. One was the "I have a scream" address in Iowa after the caucuses there. I kinda liked that, he was just trying to fire up the troops, he was animated, not the dull stiff like Kerry is. I didn't think he was "mad and out of control." Second thing, they say he was "angry" and "abused" this one guy at a rally that stood up and said he should just talk nice about the other candidates. And Dean just said "you've had your say" etc... What was wrong with that? That guy was a Republican and had no business lecturing Dean at one of his rallies about can't-we-just-all-get-along here. Dean was well within his rights to tell the guy to get lost, and he did so in a firm, but not angry way. So, the media harps on things like this, and not on things like Dean's comment that we're not safer now that Saddam Hussein has been captured, or that Bush may have known about 9/11 before it happened. Bah.

There's a car that parks near where I do in the ramp, and it parks up against the outside wall, and there is some kind of exhaust vent on that wall, and it always looks like that car has been left running.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Another slow drive this morning, and I was getting in a little late. I took a few minutes to shovel off the driveway. The roads were fine, the sun was out, I don't know what the holdup was. We probably ended up with 7 or 8 inches. At least we're not in Duluth. They got 24 inches in about a 24-hour period. Eek. When that lake effect kicks in, watch out.

The kids helped make heart-shaped cookies last night. Of course they had as much fun just eating the dough and sprinkles.

A bit chilly this morning. Overnight temps should be in the single digits this week. Friday will be the coldest day, highs will only be around 5 degrees.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Ugh. Snow fell overnight, making the drive in to work this morning another slow one. But, at least the snow had sort of let up during the drive in. Then, the snow picked up again and it has been snowing steadily most of the day. We'll probably end up with at least 6 inches. Could be worse, parts of the state north of here have 20 inches or more. Should be another fun drive home tonight. And me without a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Had a nice time at my coworker's house last night. Had a wonderful meal. They had invited some other friends of theirs over, so it was a hopping house. Both John and Hanna really had fun in the new environment. They even got to watch a bit of Fox and the Hound. John had so much fun he cried when it was time to leave. Thankfully the snow had started yet, so the drive there and back was fine.

I'm just about done with Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, by Ross King. A fascinating book, describing a lot of what was going on in Italy while Michelangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel (like wars and such.) King is here in the Twin Cities this week talking about the book, I doubt I'll go though.

Next I want to start in on The Great Fire, by Shirley Hazzard. A novel, it won the National Book Award for 2003. Click here for some info on the book.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Played with orchestra this morning, so didn't get home till home. The massive snow that was breathtakingly predicted hasn't hit us yet. It may start this evening, and we got a few inches tomorrow.

About time for the kids to nap. We're going over to a coworkers house for dinner tonight, and will have to leave about the time they usually get up from their nap.

John was just here and started singing the song Grandma sings to him, the Lawrence Welk one, "good night, sleep tight, etc..." Ha.

Lately a game the kids enjoy is "crash into the tar wagons." Which is what James does on one of the Thomas videos. They'll go across the room, and run at me and jump into me and I'll catch them. Of course, John really started this game, and Hanna just joined in.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Kids had fun at swimming lessons again this morning. Hanna is a natural, she's really enjoying kicking and jumping into the water and blowing bubbles. John had fun going into the deep water with the teacher. They're looking forward to having Grandma watch them during lessons next week.

A sunny day today, though cool. Lots of snow might arrive tomorrow though. We're supposed to go over and have dinner with someone I work with tomorrow night, to talk about adoptions. Hopefully the snow won't prevent that.

I just finished up my lesson. Orchestra plays tomorrow, so I'll be at the church at 7:30.

One of the guys in the orchestra, he plays a keyboard, he works in the same building I do! Just down the hall in fact. Small world.

Friday, January 23, 2004

It's still snowing here this morning, been snowing all through the rush hour. Which, needless to say, made for a speedy commute. Actually, it wasn't as bad for me as it could have been. After dropping the kids off at Sue's house, I went down to 85th, and then back over towards 65. Just before 65 there is a street that goes south to County I, so I took County I back towards 35W. Just before 35W is a road that goes south and parallel to 35W, which I then got on about a quarter mile north of 694. So, I avoided the worst of the freeway congestion that way. I got off on 88 then, for the rest of the drive south to work. So, I got here about 9, about 35 minutes after dropping off the kids. On other days like this it's taken me an hour to get here from Sue's house.

Ramsey's Grandpa Reuben was here for a little while last night. He came down to the VA Hospital for something. I hadn't seen him since moving here.

The Ice Palace is open. Pictures can be seen at

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Whoa-ho-hoooooo Nellie, she's-uh cold around here. Temps were around 12 below this morning. Now, remember a week ago when the media was all in a tizzy because *gasp* it got down to 3 below in New England?! Well, I haven't seen any media hordes clomping around here covering this story. Last week when it got cold, up north where they have more snow to help chill the air, temps got down to 30 and 40 below on a couple nights. It might have been that cold there again last night. The weather forecasts for next week are saying that it's possible that the stretch between Jan 27 and Feb 6 could see the coldest weather this area has experienced in 7 or 8 years. Hmm, don't see Tom Brokaw here yet...

Anyway, should get a bit warmer, up in the 20s, over the weekend before getting cold again. This is usually the coldest stretch of the year, even though we've gained about 35 minutes of sunlight since the solstice, the sun isn't powerful enough yet to warm up the planet again.

This morning I was sitting on the steps getting my shoes on, and John sat down beside me and said "I love my daddy boy", and I said "I love my John boy", and then he said in a sympathetic tone "come on boy, let's go home". Ha. (that's a line from the end of Fox and the Hound.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Temps are really going to fall off the table today. It started out in the low 20s this morning, but within a few hours, winds are going to howl, and temps will get down to below zero tonight. Brr. And I'm supposed to have orchestra practice tonight. Ick. The cold weather really affects the violin.

And, of course, I have another sore throat. Argh, what a nuisance. Rhonda cut my hair the other day, so I don't know if going out in the cold weather without a hat did me in, or if I caught what the kids have.

Watched some of the State of the Union address last night. I liked Bush's comments on our national security, but he lost me in the domestic section. I wish these speeches weren't such a laundary list of goodies the government is going to dole out. It just seemed silly that the President was talking about eliminating steroid use in athletes, after the far more serious discussion about terrorism.

Putting John in the car this morning, he said "I'm freezing", and I said "yeah, it's cold, brrr shiver." He just thought that was so funny, and giggled, and kept wanting me to say "brrr shiver". So I kinda shook my head when I said it, and that made him laugh even more.

Lately Hanna will say "Silly Daddy" if I make her laugh. And she then likes to say "Silly Mommy. Silly John. Silly Hanna."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Interesting doings in Iowa last night. Kerry came away with a big win, Edwards finished a strong and surprising second, and Dean got waxed. Kerry and Edwards were mere blips a few weeks ago, and Dean was mopping the floor with the rest of the them in the polls, but momentum and politics are funny things.

Remains to be seen though what will happen to Dean. Iowa as often as not does not pick the eventual nominee, and there are a number of examples where the third place finisher goes on to be the nominee. So, Dean is not out yet.

Regardless of who the nominee, there will be a stark choice in November on the issue of national security. Do we as a nation continue to take the fight to the terrorists, or do we return to the craven years of Clinton, and become weak, putting our security in the hands of the French, for crying out loud.

Part of me hopes a Democrat wins, and they embark on this road of going all weak and wobbly on the war against terrorists, because the only way some people in this country are going to get the message that terrorists can't be reasoned with, is to be hit soundly over the head. Not that I wish for tragedy, but maybe that's the only way these Democrats will realize that times have changed.

So last night I'm upstairs with the kids, listening to the Fox and the Hound and Peter Pan cassette, and John finds this bamboo cane. I don't know where it came from. But John holds it up and says "I'm baby Jesus!" Ha. Maybe he was thinking of pictures of the nativity or something! Or a Good Shepherd picture?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Brrr. some Arctic weather has once again descended on us. Overnight lows were below zero, and highs today will only crawl into the single digits.

Lately when I come home from work Hanna has been very helpful. She comes over and unties my shoes for me!

Friday night we went to see Fuddy Meers at the Theater in the Round. I didn't
really care for it, the language was rather salty throughout, and I can't
respect a playwright who needs to resort to that to carry his play. It
was the guy's first play at the time, and while there plenty of funny
things in it, I thought there was one moment where his inexperience
showed. One character kept hinting that he didn't like dark basements,
the obvious inference he had experienced something bad in a basement, and
we had been told his mother was on cocaine, and there was a scene where a
lot of things were going on and the character just came right out and
stated point-blank "I don't like basements because my free-basing mother
locked me in them". And it was never touched on again. It just seemed
weak, let's give this character a flaw and a dark past, then just state
the reason for the it, like we're reading a synopsis.

Plus, just as the play was about to start, the seats next to me were
empty, and I thought good, because we were a bit cramped in the middle of
a section, and a couple of flaming, exploding star gay guys come in and
sit down. I mean, stereotypes aren't stereotypes if they're true, are
they? The guy next to me graced me with his elbow in my ribs a few times,
and he utterly reeked of cigarette smoke. Or, maybe smoke would've been
pleasant. This was more like stale ashtray. So, at the intermission we
went and sat somewhere else.

The art exhibit was decent, nothing to make you forget Titian and Van
Gogh, but there was one little abstract piece I would've liked. But,
everything was priced at around $200 and above. Come on. They weren't
that good.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Kids just laid down, hopefully John will sleep. He's got kind of a sniffly cold, so he could use the rest.

I counted money today, so we went to the second service, and I finished up a little bit after the service ended, didn't get home till about 1 then.

Time to watch the football games! I see the Patriots just scored on their first drive of the game.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!!!!!!!! This is a milestone birthday! Hope you have a good day! Mom will be coming down here in a week or so, and we'll do some things then.

This, then, is also the birthday of this blog. I started this a year ago today!

Turned out be a very sunny day here. The Winter Carnival here just can't get a break. They are building an Ice Palace, and have had troubles getting the blocks of ice because the lake wouldn't freeze, now warmer temps, etc...

The kids had a great time swimming. Hanna did very well in kicking her feet. She paddled a bit with her hands, but hasn't quite got the hang of that yet. John listened very well to his teacher. It was just him and one other boy with the instructor, not sure why. Maybe they were more advanced or ready for the exercises than the other kids? John only cried a little bit when it was time to go, certainly nothing like last week.

Hanna is sleeping. John didn't sleep. I thought he would after the swimming. I just got my lesson done, and my writer's group meets tonight.

Friday, January 16, 2004

I think The West Wing (tv show) has finally jumped the shark. I think once Sorkin left the show, the quality of the writing had nowhere to go but down. True, for the most part this season has had interesting moments, but last Wednesday's episode was not a good sign. The show will always flog its liberal issues, in the usual annoying "we really care and want to help people, never mind if these policies will actually do some good, it's only important that we care" liberal kind of way. But, last night was railing against mandatory minimum sentences. I'm not conversant enough on the issue to really have an informed opinion, but the show was making the point that it was unfair for noble, good-doing federal judges to be restricted by mandatory sentences, so that single moms or kids or whatever did one thing wrong and were slapped into prison for years and years, and the judges didn't have the flexibility to take into account the circumstances, etc... So, the President was weighing pardons for some people in that situation. (I'm guessing one reason there are mandatory sentences is so that these noble good-doing judges don't just let criminals go with a tap on the wrist. And never mind the fact that these laws are passed by legislatures. If there's one thing liberals can't stand, it's the people, through their elected representatives, enacting what they want. Again, how telling that here, it was so unfair that judges, unelected and accountable to no one, couldn't do what they want, and instead had to bow to the will of the people.)

That said, it's still been one of the best shows on tv simply because of the good writing, the interesting, well-acted characters, and the in-depth, insider look at how politics gets done in Washington.

So, one of the cases was this college-age kid, he had fed-ex'd LSD through the mail and had some kind of long prison sentence. The parents were big contributors to the President's party, and had come to plead that the son be pardoned. The President didn't grant the pardon, as it would've looked too much like big money bought a pardon. Well, the son then commits suicide.

Now, that kind of blatant emotional manipulation is something the show has pretty much avoided. It's not a good sign if they are going to resort to this kind of thing to make their syrupy points.

Anyway. In other news, I had my annual performance review today, for the past year. It was somewhat incomplete in that I came to this new group in June, and my previous manager is no longer to here to give input on what I did at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, I got a good review, which I'm happy with. This group has given me the chance to dive into problems and come up with solutions, something I'm good at. I do have things I could improve on, like be more assertive, etc... But hey, that's my personality.

Will be nice to have a weekend with the kiddies. Swimming lessons tomorrow. I'm sure John will enjoy that again! Hopefully he won't fall apart again when it's time to go.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Well, Rhonda has a four-day weekend, so she's going to try some potty training with Hanna. Hanna isn't quite ready to be rewarded with a favorite video or something like that, so Rhonda is giving her lots of water, etc...

I see it's worldwide news that the NE is experiencing some very cold weather. Hmm, North Dakota gets that kind of weather on a fairly regular basis, as does Canada, Russia, etc... and not a peep. To hear them tell it, the world is practically coming to an end out there. It's just ye olde New York bias. If it happens in New York, where lazy reporters can just stick their noses out a window, then all the world gets to hear about it. Like when that massive blackout happened. Several states and 50 million people were affected, and we only heard about what was going on in NY. Bah.

Lately John has been reciting some passage from some Thomas stories he likes. It's funny.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Oh, happy day, there's Diet Cherry Coke in cans available now in a vending machine at work! You don't know how wonderful this is! In the 20-ounce bottles, which are $1.10 in the machines (gack!), there are some nice choices of 3 or 4 different kinds of diet sode.

But in cans, which are "only" 65 cents, there are really only two choices, and one of them isn't a choice for me. One is Diet Coke, which I can't stand. The other is caffeine free diet pepsi. This is pretty good, and is what I usually get. I like diet pepsi.

But, just to have another choice is grand. And I really really like diet cherry coke. It's like Christmas!
It's rather a blustery day here. Got a bit of snow overnight, temps are going to fall, and winds could gust up to 40 mph today.

Lately when we get to Sue's house, when they open the door, John marches in with a smile on his face and says "Happy Holidays!"

Someone put a quarter in Hanna last night at the dinner table. My goodness, just jabber jabber jabber. I was sold a bill of goods! I thought girls were quiet, demure, dainty!

I was downstairs with the kids last night, and John was playing with the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towers. We were taking turns talking into it, like a megaphone, so our voices sounded louder. Well, Hanna saw that and of course immediately wanted to join. First she just tried to grab it from John. Funny, she squawks bloody murder when John takes stuff from her. Well, when it was her turn she put the tube over her nose, and was talking. Um, girl, I think you missed the point of this. Ha.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The phones are working again at home. I called about 11 am, and they said a technician would be out by 7 pm, and when I got home from work after 5, the phones were fixed. Good job, Qwest! The problem was outside the house, not sure what it was. Sounded like some kind of wire break somewhere else.

The kids will go to Musikgarten today. Hopefully John will be good. He did a good job last week, after Rhonda talked to him. He does seem better able to listen, and adjust accordingly, much more so than before. It's hard to tell how much, if any, he's still behind development-wise, but maybe he's not quite as emotionally developed as others his age, and he's still catching up. But I think he is catching up, he seems more attuned to us. He often expresses affection, etc...

I think Hanna is much farther along in that respect than John was at the same age. She does have her two year old moments, where she can get testy, but I think that's mostly normal stuff. She does know she has to listen and there can be consequences.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Oh yeah, another first of sorts for Hanna. I was carrying her upstairs yesterday, and there's a portrait of John and Hanna hanging there along the wall. I usually point at it and say "Who's that?" And Hanna usually always says "John". Well, yesterday she said "Hanna!", which is the first time I've heard her say something like that. Like I said, she usually says John, like she's in tune with him, but maybe she's becoming more aware of herself as Hanna now.
Monday. 'Nuff said. Temps should be tolerable today, but will get colder as the week goes on.

The Packers sure gave one away yesterday. Yikes. They had it in the bag. 4th and 26? You gotta be kidding me. Favre throws up one of his patented here-you-have-the-ball-I-don't-want-it interceptions. That loss was downright Vikings-esque.

The kids had kroupa and orange juice for breakfast. They were in good spirits when I dropped them off at Sue's house.

Our phones have been out since Friday. No dial tone. The funny thing is my dsl still works fine, and that is over the phone line. So will have to call and see how my employer's customer service works these days.

Ordered some books for the kids the other day. Ordered The First Thousand Words in Russian, thought it would be fun to teach them (and us) some Russian words. Also ordered one called Favorite Russian Fairy Tales. (As I understand it, sort of a misnomer as there aren't any fairies in Russian folk tales.) Will be interested to see if they tell us what stories were depicted in those murals that were in Hanna's orphanage. Then, to get the order up over $25 so I didn't have to pay shipping costs, I ordered Natasha's Dance, a cultural history of Russia. Looks interesting. Figured might as well spend the money on another book instead of shipping costs.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Had a nice time at the Grandfather Frost Festival yesterday. We got there about quarter after 3, as the kids needed a nap. They had little Russian tea cakes (like fat cookies). John really liked those. They also had some kinds of Russian desserts, some cake like desserts. Oh my, were they ever good! Mmmm. John and Hanna liked playing with balloons, and inevitably they got loose and floated up to the ceiling. John thought that was funny. When we got there they were telling Russian folk tales. That was neat. They had hired an accordian player that was playing traditional Russian music. And Deb's husband was dressed up as Grandfather Frost. Had a very nice costume. Hanna went right up to him.

We saw Amy and Katrina there. Hanna's friend from the orphanage!

Then, after supper we went to Walmart and got some pictures of the kids taken. I was beat by the end of the day. I'm glad I got my lesson done Friday night.

When we got to the church this morning, John needed to go potty, so I took him in the bathroom, and when we were going back out, someone opened the door coming in just as John got to the door, and it clonked him right him in the face. Poor guy. He got a bit of a bloody nose (9and got a bit on my shirt, so I had to explain to my class) and has a little vertical mark on his forehead.

After church then, we did something a little different. We stopped at Lions Park on the way home. We had brought along their boots and snowpants. So, we just played around the park for awhile. Needless to say, we were the only ones there! They both had lots of fun.

The kids and Rhonda are taking a nap. I think the park tired them out. We have to over for nursery duty tonight.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Well, the first swimming lessons were a big hit. So much so, that John just cried and cried and cried when it was done. He must have said "I want to go to swimming lessons" a thousand times. Boy, he just would not be comforted.

I got in the water with Hanna, and she had a ball. She just loved it. John was nearby, and saw me with Hanna, and started crying at first, I suppose cuz he either wanted to be with me too, or wondered where Rhonda was, but Rhonda went over there and settled him down, and he really enjoyed himself.

They are lying down now, and when they get up we'll go to the Grandfather Frost Festival. That goes from 2 to 4, so not sure when we'll get there. Depends on when they get up.

I got my lesson done last night, so I didn't have to do it today with everything going on. We're going to Walmart tonight as well to get their pictures done.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I did it! I finished the Calculatrivia quiz! I got a rational value for X, and figured out what a couple of ambiguous clues along the way need to be.
Ah, January. The weather is warming up this weekend. Should be in the high 20s on Saturday, and maybe as high as 34 on Sunday. But then, temps are going to plummet again, and next week we could end up with a day where it doesn't get above zero the entire day. Oh well.

Since both kids recently had haircuts, we might take them to Walmart tonight to get some photos taken.

Their swimming lessons begin tomorrow. That'll be an experience! I think John would live in the water permanently if he had gills and the water was warm enough. We'd just have to toss him som mackeral now and then.

One of us will have to get in the pool with Hanna. Not sure who that will be yet.

For Calculatrivia, still working on Clue P. Otherwise, pretty much done. Still not sure about Clue C, and what countries to include, especially in the Pacific. And, I still don't see how some seemingly incompatible terms are going to reconcile. It seems like if P is such and such, Omega will be such that some terms nicely cancel. But that value for P might horse up another term. If P is such that it doesn't horse up that term, Omega will be something that doesn't cancel some terms. So, who knows.

I had a deacons meeting last night, and when I got home, John was reading in bed. I went in to say hi, and he bounced right up and starting telling me about lots of things.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

So last night, I'm downstairs with John and Hanna, we were watching Fox and the Hound, and there was a classic Boy/Girl Compare and Contrast Moment. At about the same time, the Girl, Hanna, picked up a soft teddy bear they had got for Christmas, and she was hugging it, petting it and saying "nice", and then "sleeping, shh", gave it a kiss, etc... The Boy, John, took out the wooden piece out of the little rocking horse that serves as the handlebars and was rapidly whacking the horse over the head. Ha.

When John sees more than one coin (he likes putting coins in his piggy bank) he calls them "moneys". English is hard, there are strange rules about how to denote things as plural. Why can't all plurals just end in S?! He'll also call more than one sheep "sheeps". Ha.

Hanna likes this reading in bed thing. As soon as we're done brushing teeth, she'll say "books!" But we say prayers first, so I'll sit her in bed, and we'll pray and sing songs, and as soon as I'm done with Running Over, she says "books!"

I finished the orca puzzle last night. I didn't intend to, but I got on a roll. I filled in a fair amount of space. I had gotten some more done on the two holes I had left, when I hit on a way to finish up the rest, and deal with the fact that the remaining stuff was all some abstract shade of blue sky. I separated out all the horizontal pieces, and all the vertical pieces. Then, in a hole I'd just take a horizontal piece and go all the way around the edge of the hole and try to fit the piece in. I went through all the horizontal pieces like that till I found the ones that went in those spots. Then, I did the same with the vertical pieces to fill in, and kept going like that till I got down to the point where I could eyeball a lot of it. So now, I gotta find a place that can frame it, and I'll put it downstairs next to the rest of my orca collection.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

We begin the slow climb out of the deep freeze here. Temps should get up close to 20 today, and by Sunday in the mid to uppers 20s. Pretty sad when I go outside this morning and a 7 degrees wind chill feels downright balmy. It's odd how the weather patterns work, in that Alaska can be warmer than here. You'd think it would be one continuum, the farther north you go, the colder the air. How bitter cold air can slip all the way down here while Alaska is 20 or 30 degrees warmer beats me. And, always seems odd to me that the coldest weather usually comes in January, after the solstice and the days start to lengthen again. I suppose it just takes awhile for the planet to cool down, and once it does, it takes awhile for the sun to warm it back up again. Goes to show just how cold it can get in space without a star to provide heat. Ok, thus ends our weather rant for today.

24 was interesting last night. Nina made a return appearance. I think she and Jack have been the heart and soul of the show since the beginning, so her return promises to add some zing. It almost seemed anticlimactic though. She appeared, and then was kind of in the background.

Am going through the cast commentary on my Two Towers dvd set. Boy they did a good with the dvds for these movies. Can't wait till the last one. (will probably be next fall though, argh.) The cast though, the guys who played Merry and Pippin seem like utter cards and hams and crackups, and they're fun to listen to. But some of the others, they just seem so vain and shallow. Their comments always seem to focus on everybody's performance, how great they were, how brilliant, etc... I suppose as the cast they are supposed to talk about their experience filming, but it always seems to come down to them, they are so important. Never mind the script, the director, Tolkien himself, all the artists and craftsmen and special effects wizards, etc...

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Well, Hanna's first day back at day care after a nice long break apparently was a bit of an adjustment for her. I think she did fine at Sue's house, but when she got home last night, she made us pay for traumatizing her. She was just owly and whiny all night. Cried a lot, nothing made her happy, etc...

We've started letting her read in bed now. We've been letting John do that for awhile, but Hanna is getting to where she won't go to sleep right away now, or at least will be awake longer. So, she enjoyed that last night. That settled her down. John was tired as he was falling asleep after awhile. True, it was quarter to ten, but he doesn't usually fall asleep with books in his crib and the light on like that.

I got a difficult chunk of the orca puzzle done last night. I got it connected through the middle of the puzzle all the way from top to bottom. So, the only parts left are holes in the upper left and right corners. It'll still be a tad difficult as the colors are all mostly some shade of blue. I got this middle section done because it was mostly a rose color or some shade like that, so I just found all the pieces close to that color and kept at it till that part was filled in.

Temps were well below zero overnight, with wind chills you don't want to be out in. I think it'll gradually warm up slightly now though.

I got a slew of meetings coming up. A deacon meeting Thursday, supposed to have orchestra practice Saturday morning. If I go I'll leave early cuz I think the kids start swimming lessons. Then next week mission board meeting on Monday, regular deacon meeting on Thursday. Writing group meeting on the 17th. Erg.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Brr, eez cheeeellly here. Temps got down to below zero (Fahrenheit, for all you metric monkeys) overnight. Wind chills were nasty. Will be cold for another couple of days. And still John wants to streak. Twice on Saturday he came downstairs with all his clothes in his arms, dumped them at my feet, and ran around laughing.

I'm maybe 3/4 done with the orca puzzle. But, I have the hard parts left. Parts of the sky, where there are no easily identifiable markings to help figure out which piece goes where. And the colors are all some sort of shade of blue, purple, or pink. So, it might take me awhile.

I'm reading Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, by Ross King. Another book I heard about on BookTV. I wish I could go there again, and see the Sistine Chapel after I know a little more about it. It's amazing the Michelangelo did this kind of work in fresco, which is notoriously difficult, and he had hardly done anything in fresco. He was primarily a sculptor.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Well, we're enjoying some of that lovely January weather. Highs will be in the single digits for the next few days. Brrrr. It sure felt cold driving to church this morning. But, then it's supposed to warm up.

I had my first of five weeks teaching Sunday School today. I'm doing a little class on Leviticus. John had fun in sunday school again. Both he and Hanna were the only kids in their respective rooms when we took them in.

Rhonda is out at a movie, and the kids are watching a video. Earlier when they were taking their naps, I got some more done on my orca puzzle. It's starting to look like something. I have pretty much the bottom third done.

Back to work tomorrow for a full week. Ugh. Deep dark depression, excessive misery.

Friday, January 02, 2004

This morning as I was getting ready, John was in his bed reading books, and Rhonda had gotten Hanna. I heard Hanna go into John's room and say "good morning!" John didn't answer, was busy with his books, and then Hanna said "John! John! Good morning!" and did that a couple times before John answered. ha!

I only have Clue P left on Calculatrivia (and then Omega too). This is the one concerning two poems by a certain poet. I cannot figure this one out. Paul and I have banged our heads on this, and Paul has looked through a collection at the bookstore where he works, and can't find the poems. I have seen other posts on the net from people who are having trouble with this one too. Hmm. So, I've been trying to work it backwards, filling in everything I can in the equation, seeing what certain values would have to be to make things cancel, etc... and seeing if I can get a value for P that way. My first attempt wasn't very encouraging, but will try again. Paul is going to come over on Saturday to drop off some tapes, and we'll bang on it then.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Years! Here, the kids are having fun. I put a no-peek roast in the oven. Mmmm, does it ever smell good!

Hanna has resorted lately to fake injuries. She got a scratch on her hand awhile ago, and for days now, when she wants some attention, she'll say "ouchie!", and then kinda fake cry, and come over for a little hug. Ha.

John likes the planets, and watching Baby Galileo. He knows the names of the planets, though he'll often leave out Mars and Jupiter, or mix up the order. This morning he said "I'm going to sit on the nine planets, oh no! I broke the nine planets!"

Hanna is here beside me jabbering away, "Dora, Thomas, sticker." etc... maybe she's going through all the words she knows.

Have to go back to work tomorrow. Argh. It's been having all this time at home with the kids.

I've started putting together that orca puzzle I have. I'll eventually get it framed and hang it on the wall somewhere.

Return of the King was most excellent. The trilogy as a whole is quite an achievement in filmmaking.

I'm reading a book called Diamond, about the diamond industry. Very interesting. I first heard about it some time ago by seeing the author on BookTV talking about it.

The kids are antsy, so I think I'll take them outside. Besides, the smell of the roast is driving me batty.