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

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Dad arrived last night around 7. He had run into some road construction delays. He was barely in the house and the kids were tugging at him, wanting to play the Bear Game and the like. I'm sure they'll have a busy day today.

Temps are startin cool slightly, especially at night. Otherwise day temps are heading into the 60s. Boooo. Winter is nigh.

The Kerry Spot is Jim Geraghty's blog at National Review Online. He did a lot of good reporting on the CBS/memos deal, and continues to do what he originally set out to do, and that is keep a close eye on the Kerry campaign. It's always worth checking.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I don't remember if I mentioned this before. A couple of weeks ago, President Bush was here in Blaine at the National Sports Center, just a mile or two south of us. Rhonda had gone to pick up John at his preschool, and on the way back ran into traffic and roadblocks, I'm sure set up as the president't caravan made its way to the Center. Numerous roads in the area were blocked off. I'm not sure which way she ended up going. But, they saw lots and lots of police cars on the way, and John was just tickled. He still talks about it. He likes seeing the cars and their sirens and flashing lights. On the way to church yesterday, an ambulance with its lights on passed us coming in the other direction, and John and Hanna liked that.

Had to stay after the second service for a meeting, so the kids went out and played on the playground till I was done. Had to drop some grass off too on the way home, so didn't get home till about 2. Was a mite peckish.

Another note about the CBS/forged memos. The guy at Little Green Footballs was, I think, the first to publicize how you can type up some of those memos in Word, and it'll look exactly the same as these "documents". Click the link, he has put an animated gif at the top of the main page showing the memo he typed up, and superimposed it over the document CBS had posted on their website. The fact that they match up exactly should've ended all debate right then and there about whether or not these are forgeries.

It's funny, crackpot extreme left websites like were all ablaze in the early going about how it was perfectly likely and possible, etc... that these documents really were typed up on a typewriter in the 70s. Since CBS admitted they were *snort* misled, there hasn't been one more word about that. Now the leftie wackos are all off on rants about the Republicans were behind these forgeries. Apparently they are completely oblivious to the incongruency, that one week they were hopping up and down that the memos were real, and the next week hopping up and down that they were forgeries planted by the Wascly Wepublicans. (Warning: go to these leftie sites at your own risk. They are filled with profanity, hate, etc... not an enjoyable experience to read. I've thought that if I ever started doing a serious political blog, my niche would be collecting and publicizing the hate that gushes from the left. You only have to look at their own words to get a sense of what they are about.)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Last night there was an open house at John's preschool. I got to see his room and his teachers, and his coathook, and box. Saw a little picture he drew. Others had drawn some pretty good faces, his wasn't as well defined. He is a bit behind in the drawing dept.

There was someone dressed in a Clifford costume, and both John and Hanna loved that. Several times they went up to Clifford to give him a hug. Hanna was especially tickled. At the end, they got some popsicles.

Hanna will not have any trouble fitting into school. She'll do just fine. She likes the whole experience, and gets along well with other kids.

On the way there, we drove by Calvin Christian School. I hadn't been by there before, and didn't know exactly where it was. But John knew where we were! We went by and John said "this is Sarah's school!"

I have school tomorrow. A seminar in the morning (a prof from St Olaf will talk about ethics in software engineering) and my Software Engineering I class in the afternoon.

The last couple times for lunch, I ate at a Noodles place. Mmm. I noticed a small Greek deli around the corner from that I'd like to try. See if they have stuffed grape leaves. Their window said they had Tabbouleh salad. Mmmm!

Last night finally got around to watching some of the Closing Ceremony from the Olympics, which I taped and just haven't had time to get to since. Pretty elaborate, lots of Greek folk dancing and music.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sounds like John enjoyed his preschool again today. When Rhonda came to get him, he said he wanted to stay. On the way home, they stopped to play at Bumpy Slide Park.

We all went to Bridge Park last night. There's a park down the road you take on the way to Target, take the second left. It's on the edge of those big artificially created lakes, and a bridge over them. The kids like to walk out on the bridge. Seems like there are a number of different nationalities that have moved in there. Saw an Iranian or some such family there, Asian families, Hispanic... wonder they all moved from.

Twins have the AL Central again, for the third year in a row. And, for the second year in a row, they are going to get crushed in the first round of the playoffs. They will play either the Yankees or the RedSox.

And the Vikes looked more like their pathetic self on Monday night. Booooo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Some rain came through the area starting yesterday. Is sunnying up today though.

I believe Rhonda signed us up at the Y. So, we'll be able to take the kids swimming there often. They'll like that. On Tuesday, while John was at preschool, Rhonda took Hanna over there and met a friend of Rhonda's and her kids. Hanna had fun.

John seems to be enjoying his preschool. I haven't heard of any difficulties.

Last night I met a guy from my database class, and we worked on some homework. In that class we're all paired up with someone else, and do our work in these teams. We met at a library in Roseville. There's a coffeshop attached to the library, so we sat in there. So far school isn't terribly difficult. A lot of reading to do, but I've been doing database stuff for a decade, and what we've gone over so far is pretty basic. I wish it was more challenging, or new stuff. The software engineering class is interesting. The prof is fun.

I've been following this CBS/forged memo scandal pretty closely. The reason CBS has been so reluctant in withdrawing the story is that they are utterly nailed to the wall on this, they know it, and worse, they seem to have been in collusion with the Democrats on this story. At best, a violation of journalism "ethics", at worst a crime. That's why they are trying to stonewall this and hope this goes away.

Couple of examples. Newsmax reports that the Kerry campaign made reference to content in one of the forged memos back in *April*.

Also, the day after CBS first ran this story on 60 Minutes II, the Democrats launched their "Operation Fortunate Son" ad campaign, and referred to the memos. Are we to believe the Democrats knew nothing of the CBS story? Saw it that night, rushed out and in 24 hours created this campaign. Not hardly. The Dems knew what was coming. How? Consider another serious element of this story. The producer of the CBS story called Joe Lockhart (used to be Clinton's press spokesman, just joined the Kerry campaign not long ago) and asked him to call this Burkett character, the person who gave CBS the memos.

Rush puts things this way: "Right. Okay. Yeah, that's the answer. There's some guy down in Texas from the Travis County Democrats who's upset that the Kerry campaign is not being more forceful about the swiftvets, and so Mary Mapes calls Lockhart and says, "Hey, we've got some guy down there that says you're not being strong enough on the swiftvets. Would you talk to him?" and Lockhart said, "Sure, I would love to talk to any of our supporters who think we're screwing up the campaign." Come on, folks, this doesn't happen. You can't get through. Try calling Joe Lockhart. Do it. Try calling the Kerry campaign and say, "Hey, I'm a disgruntled Democrat and I don't think you're doing a good enough job responding to Bush on Iraq or the swiftvets," and see if you get through. You won't.

So next call Mary Mapes of CBS and say, "Hey, I'm a disgruntled Democrat and I can't reach Joe Lockhart, but I think they're really screwing up by not responding forcefully to the swiftvets. Can you get me through to Lockhart," and see if she calls Lockhart and runs interference for you so you can talk to him. Come on, folks! This is not some accidental conversation between some high ranking guy at the Kerry campaign and some lowly little supporter out there who just happened to score the Lotto that day and get through to the campaign to tell him what they think they ought to do. Give me a major break. So you have a CBS producer as part of a deal to destroy the president, willing to do a political favor for a Bush-hater by putting him in contact with Lockhart. This is as seedy a journalistic deal as one can imagine."

There is much more to be found in this story. Will the Dems succeed in covering up the fact they colluded with an "objective" news organization to smear President Bush with utterly amateurish forgeries? The next few weeks should be fun!

Finally, here is a brilliant column, pointing out a valid reason for going into Iraq. After the way we kind of relatively meekly went into Afghanistan, the Iraq campaign serves to let other baddies know that the United States will act preemptively if we have to.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Around the end of the Democratic Convention in late July, the Weekly Standard had a couple of crossword puzzles on their website. The first one to fax in a correct entry (so, two winners) would get a free (year-long, I believe) subscription to the magazine. The second one appeared on late Friday afternoon, just as I was leaving, so I quick finished it, using Google to find the answers I didn't know. The questions were related to the Convention, or politics. Since I saw it just as it was posted, almost, and I sent it back in quickly, I thought I had a decent chance of getting a subscription, but never heard anything from them. Till last week. I got a copy of the magazine in the mail with a note attached saying my free subscription would start soon. Woohoo! And just in time for the final election coverage too.

A gorgeous day yesterday too. I took Hanna to church with me last night, thinking the people who have that week in the nursery would be there, but they weren't. So, Hanna played at the playground for a bit, then had to go potty, so I took her back into the nursery, and she played in there the rest of the service. I just listened to the missionaries who were speaking over the sound system in there. John had fun having some time with Mommy. They played in the hammock, and were playing Candyland (the board game) when I came home. John likes to hunt through the deck for the cards he wants. heeyyyyy!

Vikes play Philly tonight. If the Vikes play as poorly as they did the first week, they are going to get creamed. Philly has a legitimate offense.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

A beautiful weekend here. Temps in the 80s. Of course it is getting dark much earlier these days, around 7:30, so not as much time to be out and enjoy it, plus the kids take up some of the time with naps. Still, very nice. This is always the point in the year though when ya start wondering, is this the last day it will get this warm for another 6 months? Boooooo.

Had a very nice time at the Family Resources picnic yesterday. Kids had fun playing in the playground and jumping around in the inflatable jumping pens. I had told John before that the jumping pens might be there again, and when we got there, one of the first things John asked was "Where is the jumping?" He had a ball doing that. When they started blowing them up, he and I sat on the grass and watched.

We saw little Dmitri there. He was that little boy we saw in Kostroma, that someone else decided not to take. Another family from here took him, and so there he was. So good to see he had a home. The person I work with and his wife were also there. They talked to some other people that might be going to the same place they are, and they might be going in only a couple weeks.

I helped serve communion this weekend. The kids played outside in the playground until I was done. John is still napping. Hanna had woke up earlier crying, but is fine now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Had a very enjoyable time with our house full of people over the weekend. Had some good meals, a nice trip to the lake, etc... Bill and Kris hadn't seen Hanna yet, and Rhonda hadn't seen Alex.

Accounts have it that John's first day of preschool went well. He seemed to enjoy it, was talking about it. Didn't cry when it was time to go. Our little scholar, sniff. I guess there was something Rhonda was filling out for his class, one of the questions was what John wanted to be when he grew up, and he said fireman, or policeman! Ha.

This morning Hanna picked something off her jacket, and dropped it on the kitchen floor. I picked it up to throw in the garbage, and she said "No! The birdies will get it!" Where did she get that from?

The other day John was telling me the story of Pinocchio. Was much cuter when he told it.

Had some storms come through last night around bedtime. The thunder kinda scared John.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Whoa, heat wave! Temps will be in the mid-70s today, might even hit 80 tomorrow. Also, being September, I once again get to experience all the lovely rush hour traffic, since everyone is back from vacation and school is back in session. This month is always the worst for traffic. Slllooowww commutes.

I'll try and get the yard mowed tonight, before company arrives tomorrow. I was up later last night doing some reading for class on Saturday. I have some more reading to do tonight. Got too tired last night.

I'm going to have lunch with Pastor today. I'll probably do that regularly, in my role as chair.

The kids were quite active last night after coming home from Sue's house. She said they were not exactly church mice in Target, either. Not surprising, I suppose. Getting adjusted to Sue's house again after a week of fun trips, and then being hungry at suppertime, always a recipe for hyper vipers.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HANNA!!!!!!!!! Whoo hoo! A big three years old today! (We'll be doing most of the celebration this weekend when guests come to visit.)

Last night after work I picked my friend Paul up at the airport. He had been in Boston for Worldcon, the scifi convention where the Hugos are handed out. We went over to the Mall of America, and he treated me to dinner at Twin City Grill.

Rhonda was starting to get the house ready for guests, so I took the kids and entertained them. We did some big sparklers outside on the driveway. I also took them to the park for a bit, just as it was getting dark. Was a mite chilly too.

I have some reading to do already for class on Saturday. I'll try to get that done tonight, after the kidlings are tucked away in bed.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Well, back in the world of work after a fun little trip to Sioux City. The kids really had a good time. John wants to go on another "trip". He just loved swimming in the pool there. (The water was *freezing* though, so the kids would go back and forth between the pool and the hot tub to warm up.) John would get in this little inflatable tube we have, with handles, and he is quite good now at kicking himself along, he'd go all over the pool, could turn himself in circles.

Rhonda's dad and family came to visit a couple of times. They gave Hanna a dolly for her birthday. It talks and cries, and it has a pacifier and bottle, when you give it to the baby, the baby makes contented sounds. Hanna played with that a lot.

I went 2-2 in my ASL games. Lost the first two though, so was out of the running, but still was fun. Hadn't played since last year's tournament.

Rhonda and the kids went by McDonalds for ice cream once, and an ambulance came right by them with the siren on. John likes to recount how "it turned the corner and it passed us!"

Of course, John enjoyed going up and down the elevators. Eventually, when the doors would open, he would lean up against the doors, holding them back with his hands. A good helper! And, better yet, a couple times when the doors opened on other floors, Hanna would wander off the elevator, so John then would stand in front of her and hold her back with his hands to keep her in. A good big brother!

My first class is this Saturday already. eek, gotta get used to being a student again.

Mom and Dad are coming this weekend, and we got a call in Sioux City from Kris. Apparently they are thinking up driving up as well!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Orientation last night was enjoyable. It will be fun to be on a campus again, especially one as compact and busy as the U of M. They had subs from Subway for supper, plus some chips and sodas.

A couple of the professors in the dept spoke about what to expect from the program, also a gal who had been through the program and her spouse talked about juggling fulltime job, studies and home.

We got our textbooks (according to the U's website, one of them was $116!!! Yeek, ridiculous.), and had photos taken for our student id card. We also got our parking cards. This is rather a nice perk of the program. Parking on the U campus is utterly insane, hard to come by. (Most people bus in or something like that.) They said even faculty wait 6 to 8 years to get a parking card for the ramp that is across from the dept. So, it's a nice thing that we got a card. The ramp is a few blocks from the building, but it's a short walk. The card is only good for days we're scheduled to have class.

I was surprised at how many people were rather youngish looking, like they weren't too long out of college. I figured most would be people like me, and some were, but lots of younger people. I suppose they too are working, and this is a chance for them to get through a masters program and keep working as well.

Sounds like a fair amount of the work is done in teams, as software engineering is always a collabrative effort, sounds like they try to mimic that type of environment.

As the last thing then, a few of us went with the gal who is the administrative assistant to the program, and she showed us how to get to the parking garage and back from the dept. On the way there we walked through the tunnels. Most buildings on campus are connected by tunnels so you don't have to go outside in the winter. The ramp is connected to the student union, which is right on the east bank of the Mississippi, nice views. On the way back then, we walked outside, so we'd know how to do that. I was surprised that more people didn't go. It was easier to figure that out last night rather than our first morning of class.

The mascot of the U is the "Gophers", so the fact that there are "tunnels" is amusing. In fact, the tunnels are called "The Gopher Way". There are signs indicating where to go in the tunnels, which direction buildings are, etc...

First class then is Saturday, Sept 11, 8 am sharp. We'll get our reading assignments soon. They will provide juice and pastries, things like that, in the mornings, which will be nice. I guess they used to also provide lunch, but no longer. I suppose for cost cutting. So, will have a chance to explore the many eating joints around the campus area.

John and Hanna were at Sue's house then, till Rhonda picked them around 8:30. Sounds like they did pretty good, although around 8 Sue called Rhonda's cell phone and said John was crying saying his ear hurt. So, maybe his ear infection was bothering him, and maybe too that was his way of indicating he noticed he'd been at Sue's house all day and the regular routine wasn't being followed. I guess he cried then till Rhonda arrived. Hanna wasn't as squirrely as I thought she'd be then, but this morning she was giving signs that she might be a little pill today, so maybe she was reacting to wondering where mom and dad were.

They're sensitive to that sort of thing. One thing I'll always remember, the day we went to the orphanage to take John for good and saw him the first time that day. When we went into the room where he was, there was a lot of busyness as people walked around, getting things ready, the other family was there, etc... and John was just by himself in a rather large playpen, playing with this little toy figure or something, kinda oblivious to all the hubbub, probably unaware that his life was about to change. Was quite a picture, he was so alone in the world, just kinda making his own way through his little life, doing the best he could. I think he's a sensitive soul, and so we take extra care to give him lots of love and reassurance.

Hanna is too. She's a little different in that she was with her mother, so it's like with her, somewhere inside she is dealing with well, I had a mother, then I was taken away and put in this orphanage. So, is this going to happen again. So I think on days when she's at Sue's house, by the end of the day she's ready to be in her own home again with Mom and Dad, and last night was extra long for her.

Tomorrow we head off to Sioux City. Will be back Monday.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I think I mentioned before I had got some stamp catalogs as part of a little puzzle contest. I got those in the mail yesterday. I emailed the guy who sent them to thank him, and mentioned the kids were from Russia and that I'd peek through the Russian stamps to see if any were specific to their areas. He's very much into stamp collecting, and he said this about Russian stamps.

"Russia is the single leader hands down for the most prolific issuer of
stamps. They issue a big set every few days, it seems. Many are more
for collectors, and hard to find actually used on mail. But I think
Russia was up to Scott # 6000 while the US had barely hit 2000. Other
Eastern bloc countries, bulgaria for one, also had large numbers, but
none approaching Russia. It is a daunting country to collect!

One of my favorite Russian stamps is the one they issued to honor
Samantha Smith, the 10-year-old American girl who wrote to Andropov in
1983 and was invited to visit Russia as his guest. This led to her
being in a TV series with Robert Wagner, then she was tragically killed,
with her father, in a plane crash. She had become a heroine to the
Russians, who were heartbroken and issued a stamp with her likeness.
(in 1985, so not in the '82 catalog, alas.)"
I just happened to realize the date. It's *September* already. (pause) WWWAAAHHH! It's winter already! Egads, forget the hurricanes, we gotta move to Florida or something.
John started filling a bit unwell on Sunday. Had a temp, so we kept him home on Monday. I stayed home in the morning, and Rhonda came up around lunch. He was feeling better yesterday. Monday night though he had woke up around 11 crying, I gave him some Motrin and he went back to sleep. Rhonda said that yesterday they both a bit of diarrhea, and this morning, John had a particularly messy diaper, he took off his jammie bottoms in my bedroom and... well, you don't want to hear anymore. A little stuff on the carpet, on the wall, on him,.... yuck.

Orientation for the MSSE program is this evening. The kids will stay at Sue's house. John said he didn't feel well, so not sure if he is still a little sick. He got some amoxycillin for his ear infection, maybe that's been affecting him to.

We got a Candyland game from somewhere for the computer, John really likes it. It has neat graphics and sound and music. When we're done, he often wants to get down the board game then and fiddle with that.

I had mentioned the other day that when John went to Jessica's house they must have called him "Jonathan". A couple of times now he'll say "I'm not Jonathan, you're Daddythan!" or "You're Mommythan". He's clever.

Rhonda went to the mom's group at the adoption agency on Monday. Always sounds interesting, they talk about all kinds of things, issues that the kids can face. Lately they've been talking about shame, how the kids, while they may not be consciously aware of it, have these doubts inside that maybe they aren't adequate, because they've been abandonded, etc... So, this affects their behavior. I think we've seen that in some things with John and Hanna. I think overall they both are doing so well, we certainly haven't had the big problems that other parents have. But, still, it's something we have to be aware of, we try not to put things in terms of "well, you should know better than that" as things like that kinda attack their sense of worthlessness. We try to help them succeed, to look for different ways of doing things. Certainly one of the things that help make confidant kids is simply interacting with parents, and I've always thought well, that's something I can do. I can spend every minute with them that I can. So other than just enjoying them, that's a reason I try not to get busy with other things, so I can be with them, and help them with this continuing process of adjusting from their orphanage beginnings to feeling secure in their family now.

When Hanna acts out, it's usually in a way that seeks to control things. True, some of it must be just normal two-year-old stuff as she becomes more independant (she's much more insistent about "let me do this by myself" than John has been), but whether it's a test to see if we're really going to take care of her and not abandon her, or a way to make her surroundings less scary, or what, she'll do things like not let John get one-on-one attention sometimes. Or, when reading books I'll read a page and then she'll take the book and look at it herself. Most of the time, she is a happy sweetheart little girl, just have to keep reassuring her.