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

Monday, August 30, 2004

John came down with a bit of a fever last night, so we kept him home from Sue's house today. I'm home with them right now, Rhonda will come home by lunchtime, and I'll go to work. He seems to be pretty good now, he had a good nights sleep, and Rhonda gave him some Motrin. John said this morning "I'm feeling much better."

The other day, Hanna was playing her "Here's Mommy" game with her dollie, and she did something new. She gave me the doll, then said "hi!, Mommy's here!" and then she clapped her hands together a couple times then beckoned with her fingers and said "come here!" ha. when she plays with the doll that laughs, she says "oh, baby is happy to see Mommy!"

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Happy Birthday, Brian!!!

Quite cool again today, like yesterday. Booooooo.

I asked the program, and they said there are 41 in the incoming class of this MSSE program. Wow, I would never have guessed that many. The gal said there have been as many as 90 applicants or as few as 60, depends on the year. Not sure how many applied this year. So, it is somewhat competitive, I suppose mostly because it doesn't interfere too much with full-time jobs.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Last night we were watching some of the platform diving, and John was snuggling with us, and he saw the divers walk out on the platform to take their dives, and John said "they had to walk the plank!" ha.

I took them over to Bumpy Slide Park this morning. We've had some rain so the sand was kinda damp. They went up on the big metal slide, and John went up and sat down, dangled his legs over the edge and said to me "I'm Zaccheus!" And he wanted me to say "You come down!" Ha.

I stopped by Target on our way home, and we got some yummy fried chicken for lunch from the deli, plus some french bread and roasted garlic bread.

We just laid the kids down for a slightly early nap. They seemed tired. I might snooze too, or watch some Olympics.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Rained rather heavily yesterday late afternoon. So, once again couldn't go to the park, the lake, etc... Boooo. Once the rain passed, temps were noticeably cooler. I took the kids for a ride in the bike cart, and it was a little chilly.

The State Fair started here yesterday. With the cooler temps and rain, I wonder what kind of attendance they're getting. Saturday highs are only supposed to be around 70 or so. But, supposedly it is going to be warmer next week. But this week was supposed to be warmer too, and wasn't. Boooooooo.

Twins got pounded last night. Beyond their top two starting pitchers, it is always a mystery how the other pitchers will do. Some nights good, other nights are like last night. At least they still have a big big lead in their division.

Yesterday after the kids came home from Jessica's house (Rhonda worked yesterday) John was saying "They called me Jonathan. I'm not Jonathan, I'm John!" Ha, they must have called him Jonathan over there or something.

I've been playing an audio tape of Dr. Seuss's ABC book when I take the kids to Sue's house. We also have the book, so lately I've given that to John to follow along with as we drive. And he does follow right along, on all the correct pages. If the tape happens to start in the middle or something, he turns right to the correct page.

There was an article in the paper yesterday saying that Blaine has been the fastest growing suburb in the metro area since 2000. I believe it.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Looks like I am going to be chairman of the deacon board at church. The post is also church president. Duties involve chairing the board meetings and church business meetings. The chairman usually is up with Pastor at the table when communion is served, at both servics. I will probably meet with Pastor on a regular basis. Not exactly sure what else it will involve at this point. I will want to meet with the previous chairman, and pick his brain.

It wasn't something I was seeking. With this masters program starting in a few weeks, I'm not sure what my time is going to look like. I'll probably step back from a couple things.

Some storms came through last night, lots of thunder and lightning, and when I got home it was starting to rain at the house. When I came him John was crying. Apparently he was pretty scared by all the noise. I had him go get his blanket and we sat on the couch and read some books. Hanna joined us, and got us some cheese too. She seemed fine.

I stayed up last night to watch the finals in the super heavyweight weightlifting. The gold medal winner was in Iranian. He also won in Sydney. Apparently he is a superstar in Iran. He seemed like a character. When he got some big lifts up over his head, he had this funny charismatic grin, and he'd kinda nod at the crowd.

I had taped the Korea-Hungary mens handball game. I kinda like that sport. It's very popular in Europe and elsewhere, but hardly known here. I guy I work with here is from Hungary.

Sometimes when I ask Hanna to do something, or warn her that something is dangerous or whatever, she'll say in a sweet voice "Ok, Daddy"... awwww, sniff. Ok, you can have that pony!

Lately, John will sometimes call us "Dad" or "Mom". He's getting older, what happened to that little 15-pound shrimpy baby boy?!?!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Quite foggy around Blaine this morning. Other parts of the metro weren't quite so socked in. The kids liked walking around outside in the strange mist. Supposed to be somewhat humid today, so maybe it will at least feel warm.

I think the State Fair starts tomorrow here.

John's been antsy at times lately. Maybe he's just has too much energy pent up from being cooped up inside.

Hanna is feeling better, appears to be over her runny nose.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Rhonda went to get a haircut last night, so I entertained the kiddies. I did some of the computer activities we have for them. A little Maisy game thing, A little Land that Time Forgot game disc, a neat Candyland game, and of course the Pooh one we've had for awhile.

Rainy, or at least overcast, again today. Boooo. Temps were supposed to get to the mid 80s this week. What good is it if we can't get outside anyway? Boooooo.

Twins are up 8 games in their division. Lotsa baseball left though.

Last night in Olympics, I watched some canoe and kayaking, the mens singles table tennis finals and bronze medal games. Interesting. Also some handball.

I think I linked to this before, but click here for a great view of the Earth at night.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Last night after naps, I took John over to the lake. Hanna stayed home and apparently just rode her bike around for a long time. It wasn't terribly warm, a rather chilly breeze at times. But, I put that little full body suit on John that Rhonda had got somewhere. I think that helped, and he stayed in the water longer than he probably would've otherwise. It was fun just watching him play by himself in the sand. At one point some Mexican boys, I think, came to play. They were speaking Spanish, and having fun, and John chased after them a few times. The boys liked that and kinda played with him. A couple times I heard them say "El Nino!" When he was cold enough, he got out and I put his clothes on him and he played on the playground for awhile.

When we got home, I then took Hanna with me to the grocery store. In one aisle, we saw an older lady and Hanna said "Gramma!" Then, when we were checking out, an older man came behind us in line, and started talking to Hanna, and Hanna charmed him. He bought her a little inflated Ernie (from Sesame Street) balloon on a stick! Hanna and John had fun chasing around the house with that before bedtime.

Hanna wasn't quite as sniffly this morning, though both of them were coughing a little bit. This steenking cold weather isn't helping. What a waste of August. That makes me most bummed, that we probably won't have any more really hot days to enjoy the lake. So, we basically got just one month of hot lake weather. Out of the entire year. Boooooo. It might get into the mid 80s a few days this week, so we'll see if stays dry too.

Lately John has figured out that Rhonda and I have names too. So, he'll ask us our names, then he'll start calling us "Jeff" or "Rhonda". I think he likes discovering that revelation.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Hopefully the kids will nap today, I'm sure ready for a nap. Hanna has a bit of a cold. A real runny nose.

Sometimes Hanna goes potty in the little chair, and when John sees what's in it, he says "Chemicals!"

Warmer here today, temps will probably be 80 or higher.

I went to see The Bourne Supremacy last night. Not bad. Much of the end takes place in Moscow, so it was neat to see some familiar places on screen. There was a brief shot of the Ukraina Hotel, where we stayed with Hanna. There was a rather large car chase through the streets of Moscow.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Sometimes we've had the Olympics on, and John saw some swimming events, or water polo, and a couple times he's looked at the pool and said "They're at the YMCA!" Ha.

Record cold temps overnight around the state. Was even a frost advisory. In AUGUST!!!!! Booo. One of the coldest Augusts on records. Booooooo. Why? Why? Boooooo.

Hanna is up from her nap. I don't think she slept much. John is in his room, not sure if he is sleeping. He went rummagesaleing with Rhonda, so Hanna and I rode bike, walked around, went out to the tree swing, etc... She was tired, and I thought she'd sleep more than she did.

After writing group tonight, Paul and I will go see the Bourne Supremacy. This might be my last writing group for awhile. With school coming up, some class days are all day Saturday, and I don't really be gone all night on the other Saturdays. Plus, I may have some different responsibilities on the deacon board. More on that in a few days.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The night before last, I was up later watching the Olympics, then turned out the lights to get some sleep, and not much later I heard this thump. Sounded like maybe one of the kids had fallen on the floor. I figured John, since Hanna was that side barrier. But, I didn't hear any crying, so I listened for a bit, then went to check on John. Sure enough, he was on the floor, but his head was down where his feet usually are. Don't know how he got turned around. Must have pushed the chair back a ways. He was just kinda settling down to sleep on the floor. So, I picked him up and put him back in bed, and he went right back to sleep.

Yesterday afternoon I started feeling kinda nauseous, and by evening I just wanted to lie down and rest. I'm sure it's this booster shot I had catching up with me. My arm was quite sore last night. I tossed and turned all night, didn't sleep very well. I feel better today, still a little funny, and the arm hurts less.

Sometimes when Hanna does her "Mommy's home" thing with her doll, she'll say she's going out to get some pizza (Rhonda went to get pizza the other night). And she'll go over to the door out to the garage and then come back, like she's coming in from parking the car in the garage. Ha.

I have little interest in all the swimming and gymnastics that NBC tends to always show in their primetime coverage. But, all the other channels they have going, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, USA, have all those wacky events I like to see, like table tennis, archery, badminton, rowing, etc... I've been taping a lot of those and watching at night.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Just finished up Anna Karenina. Whew. Next time, I think I'll try something easy, something with a mere 500 pages or so...
After supper last night I took the kids for a ride in the bike cart. Stopped by Palmer Park, then took the long way home, over to Radisson, up to Cloud Drive and back over. It's amazing how you notice how many slopes and rises and hills there are in our neighborhood when you're on a bike pulling two kids, and you don't notice it when you're in a car.

When I got home last night, I was going to go out to the mailbox to get the mail, and Hanna wanted to go with. Except she didn't want to walk. She wanted to ride her new bike. So we did. And after I changed clothes she wanted to ride down to the dead end and back a few times before supper.

Lately she'll pretend she's "Baby Stephanie", the baby of a friend of Rhonda's. (Hanna will say "I'm Baby Stepanee!") She'll crawl, or pretend to fuss, etc... Don't know if she's "regressing" a bit to catch up on a babyhood she didn't have, or if she's just playing or what. She definitely loves babies.

We switched to a different cell phone plan with Qwest. It has more coverage around the country where we wouldn't be roaming, it would be our local area, so to speak. Our new phones came yesterday. (Same numbers) They're smaller than our old ones, more modern, more features, etc.. Once we get outside the metro area here, it looks like the "local coverage area" follows Interstates and major highways, and then around bigger cities. Qwest has partnered with Sprint, which is how these new plans are possible. Qwest tried to do wireless itself, but got out of it. I suppose because it was going to cost too much to really build up the network needed to compete nationwide. Not having wireless is really hurting Qwest though. As people get rid of land lines to use just cell phones, they leave Qwest, and that loss in lines and customers has really hurt the business.

I watched a little bit of badminton in the Olympics. Wow, talk about fast reflexes.

I got a DT booster shot last night. My left shoulder is a little sore today.

I'll see if I can finish off Anna Karenina today.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Anna Karenina update: I'm on page 607 out of 736
Yesterday as I was getting the kidlings ready to head out the door to Sue's house, I noticed a racoon wandering around the yard next door, right by our patio. Our other neighbor had said they had seen one too, perhaps interested in the ripening corn in the big garden behind us. John and Hanna were quite tickled to see the racoon.

Sue had a bigger bike they didn't need, so she gave it to Rhonda so Hanna could have it. It was missing a pedal, so Rhonda went by a bike shop last night to get one. Then, Hanna had lots of fun riding her big bike. She was quite proud. She did very well too.

While they were gone, I put John in the tree swing and he had a high old time. Then, I was getting the bike cart out just as Hanna came home, so I took them over to London Park for a short time.

I don't know what they dumped on the playground there, instead of wood chips there were clumps of like dirt and straw spread out. I could tell right away it was the kind that gets to me, and later in the evening I started to feel stuffed up, with a little itch in my chest. I took a Claritin and that helped.

I'm going to go by the clinic this afternoon and get a DT booster. Yay.

Monday, August 16, 2004

It's so cute the way Hanna plays with her dolls sometimes. Lately, she'll have me hold her doll, or she'll put it down in a chair or something, then she'll put a purse on her shoulder and maybe one of her other bags, and she'll say "I'll be right back, going to grocery store" then says bye to the doll and will walk out of the room for a bit. Then she'll come back and in this real tender voice she says to the doll "Hi! Mommy's back! How are you!" and she'll kiss it, etc... Funny.

Last night I took the kids over to the lake. Wasn't terribly warm, but warmer than it has been, so I said phooey to the weather gods and went anyway. John went swimming for a little bit, but the water was a mite chilly so he didn't stay in near as long as he usually does. And I didn't go in either. They played on the playground set for awhile then.

On Friday night, we decided to use a free one-time pass at the Y, so we went swimming there. The kids loved that. We went down the water slide a jillion times. My legs were actually a little sore the next day from walking up those steps so many times, though it was a sign too that I'm a little out of shape. They liked playing in the fountain and water mushroom too. We'll probably join this fall, and then we can go swimming lots of times. They'll like that.

Rhonda had picked up a little swing seat from some rummage sale, and yesterday Ramsey put some ropes up in the oak tree between the patio and flower beds in the backyard, and hung the swing from a branch. Oh the kids loved swinging in that. Because the ropes are so long, it was a loooooooong arc, it's almost like a fair ride. I'm sure we'll do that a lot.

Also, I got my bike down (finally) and the little pull behind cart and took the kids for a ride. Our little foot pump broke, and Rhonda got another hand pump from Walmart, so I pumped up all the tires as best I could, but that pump isn't very good. So, I stopped by the Holiday station and used their air hose. My back tire is warped or something, it keeps rubbing against the frame. We stopped by Sand Park (north of us). I hadn't been there all year. It's so dry there, there are pricklys, as I discovered too late, and both John and I got poked in the feet. He cried for awhile, poor guy. I had carried Hanna, so she didn't get poked.

Vijay Singh won the PGA yesterday. He shot a 76 in the last round. The fact that he still won indicates how poorly everyone else did. No one could hit a putt to save their life. That Whistling Straits course, though, looks great, perched along the shore of Lake Michigan. Very much like a links course in Britain.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Last night, Rhonda went over to the adoption agency for a parents group meeting. So, I took the kids to Bumpy Slide Park. had fun, still a little chilly. What really erks me is we lose all this time in August, and we'll never get it back. I mean, we won't have any 90 degree days in October.

I won a little puzzle contest. I'll get all four volumes of the Scott stamp catalogs. The creator of the puzzle put it this way. " condition 1982 4-vol set of Scott Postage Stamp Catalogs. Even though over 20 years old, they still contain much excellent information, i.e., every stamp issued in the world from 1840 to 1980--140 years! They total about 3800 pages and cost about $75 in 1982. A new 6-vol set today runs close to $250. Admittedly older sets such as this are inexpensive if you know where to find them, but I will also be including a very detailed orientation sheet (written by me) geared to a non-collector, outlining content and use. It will be useful in future contests. Unless you are a stamp collector who already owns a newer set, I believe you will find it a very enjoyable and interesting reference work. "

That'll be neat to have, maybe it'll get John or Hanna interested in collecting stamps some day.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

John was a little antsy last night, so after supper Rhonda went out and ran behind as he rode his bike around the block. Rhonda he said he pedaled quite fast. Before they got going though, he must have slipped on the pedal or something and tipped over and got a scrape on his back. He cried for a bit, and Rhonda took him in the house before going on their ride.

I went with Hanna over to Maya's house. Maya was outside and they played together for awhile. When it was time to go, Hanna gave Maya a hug.

After horribly cool temps, a warmup is on the way. Skies are actually blue today, temps might get to 70.

Twins are in another of their patented losing streaks. Including losing two feeble efforts against the not very good Mariners.

Anna Karenina update: I'm on page 5o1 out of 736

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Gloomy news today, apparently Brian Lamb (CSPAN) is planning to discontinue his Booknotes show. It was usually 3 hours, a one on one interview with an author. Has had some very good shows over the years. Lamb says he just doesn't want to take the time to prepare for it anymore.

Anna Karenina update: I'm on page 451 out of 736... *deep breath* continue on... After this and War and Peace, I'm beginning to wonder if Tolstoy was really a committee of typists... how did he write all of this, by hand on paper yet...

After this one, my next thick Russian book will probably be The Brothers Karamozov, by Dostoevsky.

I finished up Amsterdam, and have started on The Remains of the Day
Since the kids just had haircuts, last night we took them to Walmart to get their 3 and 4 yr old pics taken. The twist is, we had the pics taken with them dressed up in their wedding outfits, John in his tux and Hanna in her pretty dress. They were ansty, but not overly so, so we got the pics done fairly easily, and they turned out well.

Cold again here. Some records lows, or close to it, around the state yesterday and overnight. Boooooooooo.

This morning John wanted to have a swordfight with the fly swatters, which he likes to do often, except this time he added a twist. He wanted me to kinda step around, like Peter Pan and Hook do when they are swordfighting. Ha. When John pronounces swordfight, he really stresses the long "i" in fight.

While I was getting John ready, Hanna was playing with her little play kitchen in her room. She said she was making supper. I asked what we're having and she said "hot dogs!"

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Brrrrrrr. What a waste of a summer this has been. Temps are in the 60s this week, probably till Saturday. Might set some records for lowest daily highs. Up north, lows could get into the 30s. It's August!! Where is this global warming we keep hearing about? I'm going to go outside and spray aerosols into the air.

We were thinking about going camping again Friday night, but not sure if we will now. Would probably be rather chilly.

The kids had haircuts last nights. John always seems to age about 5 years when he gets a haircut. He's a handsome boy. And it's fun when Hanna gets tha hair cut away so it isn't hanging in her face, and we can see her happy bubbly (most of the time!) pretty face.

Orientation for this MSSE program is Sept 1. Here's the agenda...

4:30pm to 5:30pm
Check-In * U Card Photos * Orientation Folder Handed Out * Parking Card Assigned Dinner & Refreshments
5:30pm Introduction - Kim Kramer Welcome & UMSEC Information - Mats Heimdahl Program Information - John Collins Alumni Panel Questions & Answers Orientation Folder - Kim Kramer * Handbook * Survival Guide * University Resources * Campus Maps * Restaurant Guide Books/Course Materials & Assignments - Kim Kramer
7:00 pm Tour - Kim & TAs * Parking Structure & Tunnels * Coffman Memorial Union * Library * IT Labs * UMSEC Office

Monday, August 09, 2004

While at church yesterday, another deacon had a couple of tickets to the Senior PGA tourney at the TPC just a few blocks south of me. So, another deacon and I went. He came over and parked at my house, and Rhonda dropped us off at the course.

There wasn't anyone posted at the entrance to the course by Palmer Park, so we were able to drive all the way up to the main road that led to the clubhouse. And no one asked to see my pass while there, so seems like just anyone could've wandered onto the course for free.

We got there about 2, and caught up with the leaders just as they were finishing the 9th hole. The last group was Tom Purtzer, Tom Kite, and Craig Stadler. After the 13th hole or so, Kite had a one stroke lead, and kept that lead all the way to the end. Kite missed short short putts on 15 and 17 that would've cemented his win. But, had just that one stroke going to the par 5 18th hole.

Kite hit his second shot first, and was on the green, but a long ways from the hole. Then Stadler hit and knocked it fairly close, a great shot. He needed to make that putt to tie. Kite had a great lag putt, and tapped it in for birdie. Stadler then had to make his to tie, but missed it left.

One thing different than the last one I went to, After the final group came up the 18th fairway, they let the galleries onto the fairway to watch the conclusion of the hole from the fairway. I'm sure they did that because there is no room around the 18th for the general public to stand and get a good view. It's all corporate stands around the green. So, I went out on the fairway and had a great view. Man, I ain't never played on fairways like that. They were practically putting greens. Or carpet. Very soft and closely trimmed.

While out there, there was a steady stream of corporate/executive jets flying overhead coming in to land at the airport just south of the course. I suppose they were coming to pick up bigwigs and mucketymucks there for the tourney. Maybe some players had their own jets.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!! Number 39 this year.

I helped do deacon orientation at church last night for a couple of the new incoming deacons. Last year they didn't do that for some reason, and I really felt lost, didn't know when the first meeting was, how I'd get a mailbox key, what would be expected of me, etc... So, I made either the bold move or the foolish move, depending on your perspective, of asking about it, and Pastor said hey, you're just the guy to do it this year. I don't mind, glad to help out, I know it can be a help.

While I was there, Rhonda said purt'near the entire neighborhood was at our house. Maya from next door, the three kids next to Maya, the two little girls that are across the street, all their mothers, etc... maybe another kid or two. Just on our street there are five little girls all about 3 years old.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

After supper last night we sorta wandered outside, and Maya came out next door, so the kids went over and we played around over there for awhile. Maya's dad and I tossed the basketball through the hoop a few times, and John just giggled as it bounced around. They rode bike, and watched as Maya's dad trimmed a shrub and then they helped picking up branches. Later, as Hanna was running on the cement, she tripped and got a decent scrape on her knee. She naturally cried so I brought her back to the house and Nurse Mommy got her patched up.

I wrote a column I submitted to the Star Tribune editorial page. We'll see if they decide to run it or not. Either way, when I know I'll put it up on the website.

Mom sent another chicka-chicka-boom-boom book. Both of them really like the other one they have, about letters, so they were tickled to get another one, this one about numbers.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Oh yeah, sometimes I'll wear my ASL shirts around the house. Some of them have pictures of tanks on them. John saw one and asked what is was, and I said it's a tank, and he said "water!" Ha, clever boy, and not too far from the origin of the word. When the British were first developing the tank for use as a weapon in WWI, workers were told they were building water tanks, and the name stuck.

And Hanna is just as clever. She asked what it was once, and I said a tank, and she started saying "choo-choo!" And I realized oh, she's thinking of Thomas the Tank Engine!!
The LeapPad book that comes with the player, the one that doesn't need a cartridge cause it's built into the player, on the cover there's a picture of Leap kinda jumping out of a book. The other night John asked for the "Leap jumps out" book, and I didn't know what he was talking about, till he then said "I want Welcome to LeapPad Learning Center" and then I saw the cover and saw oh, that's what he meant!

They played with shaving cream in the kitchen last night. Rhonda heard about that I think at the blaine family education place, something that can help with sensory simulation. They smear it on the table and all over themselves. Then, I plunked them in the tub and they had a nice long bath.

One of the tapes Rhonda got was the Green Eggs and Ham story. John has really caught on to that, and likes listening to it. He'll come up to me and kinda cup his hands say "will you eat them on a train?" etc... ha

I read bedtime stories with Hanna last night on my bed. She liked that. She went and got her blankie and a couple of stuffed animals and settled in. Sorta. A couple times she tossed an animal overboard on purpose so she could get down, retrieve it and climb back up.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Was quite humid last night. I think the dew point got up over 70. After supper, the kids went running through the sprinklers in the back yard. Hanna was kinda whiny again at times.

Lately John has liked unhooking Ellie's leash in the front yard, having someone hold the other end of it, and then go running around the house.

Am reading a novel called Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. The book won the Booker Prize a few years ago. I also ordered (used copies) of two other Booker winners, The Remains of the Day and Rites of Passage. Am looking forward to them as well.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The other day John was pretending to eat something, and he said "Chemicals are yummy!" And then he said, "Chemicals are yucky!" Heh.

I hear Hanna just got up from her nap. We might go out and toss them in the pool later. It's warm today.

At some rummage sales, Rhonda got a whole of little books on cassette, little Disney stories and the like. John has been enjoying them. She also got a fistful of Leapad books and cartridges for only $15! What a deal, one was still in the package, she must have got seven or eight all told.