Friday, July 29, 2005

8 under 8

Off to a friend's cabin for the weekend: three families, 8 children under the age of 8. Thank goodness it looks like a sunny weekend - lots of outdoor time.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why I Stick With "It"

This is what keeps me in management. The fascinating ups and downs of dealing with people. On my best day, I repeat this little mantra (I think I "stole" it from some management book or web site - so sorry.): Work is a conversation. At it's most basic level, work is about converations: talking to customers, talking to product developers, talking to co-workers.

The best employees communicate well. Now, they are not necessarily extroverts, but they understand the importance of "conversation" - gathering and sharing information. When I wonder what the hell I'm doing, I remind myself it's really about conversations, and the people who have those conversations.

Via Business Pundit:
Don't forget that management isn't about being right or wrong. It isn't about power, status, or control. It's about people. And sometimes people don't need answers or guidance or lectures, they just need somebody to listen to them. Letting out frustrations allows them to feel better and refocus on more important things.

After all, it's about people. So stop blogging, get off your butt and have a conversation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Crabby Old Knee

New, knee theory:

The meniscus is a half moon shaped piece of cartilage that lies between the weight bearing joint surfaces of the femur and the tibia. It is triangular in cross section and is attached to the lining of the knee joint along its periphery. There are two menisci in a normal knee; the outside one is called the lateral meniscus, the inner one the medial meniscus.

I remain hobbled - of course - but today I may have pushed the bounds of my hobbledness. Today, I dropped off M at her “camp” only to discover that they were watering the new sod by the sidewalk leading from the street up to the building. Rather than walking around the sprinklers, M and I decided to make a dash up the sidewalk at that precise moment the sprinklers were spraying away from the sidewalk. We timed it just right, and had to run very fast, but we arrived on the other side safe and dry.

On the way out I decided to challenge the sprinklers again. This time I also avoided the water, remaining dry. What I didn’t take into account was that the sidewalk goes down two steps to street level, and then the property drops another level over the curb down to the street.

I watched the sprinklers for a cycle or two, and took off running when the time seemed right. While charging down the sidewalk, my mind went into that slow motion analytical mode that makes these memories so much fun. I quickly realized that I would have to do “something” about the two steps and curb. There was no way I could hit each wet step and the curb without slowing down considerably. Running up with Maria wasn’t a problem, but going down, the possibility of slipping and falling seemed much greater. In an instance I deduced the best way to do it was to attempt a “triple jump” style movement that involved getting a flying start, hitting one foot on the sidewalk, then leaping all the way to the street. It was going great until I hit mid-air and I wondered how my knee was going to handle the landing. I knew that I would land on my right leg (the bad knee), so I had a moment of panic. The solution: yell “Ah, Ha” loudly, and try to hit the ground running so as to soften the blow. It worked; I flew the air, shouted “Ah, Ha” loudly, landed on my right leg, and kept right on running. Thank God no cars were coming.

As I walked to my car I noticed I was limping (of course), and one of the parents was watching me. I shrugged it off, got into the car and drove to work.

Of course, now the damn knee hurts, and now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’ve hit upon a new theory to explain my status as a “Hobbled Runner”.

I’ve got two completely different knees. Rather, to be more specific, I got two completely different sets of meniscus, or menisci. The “age” of my two knees varies greatly. My “good” healthy knee has 43 year old menisci, while the right knee and its menisci is a crabby old 85-year old knee.

Two MRIs revealed no tearing of the right menisci, only slight wearing. What it didn’t reveal, and what I believe is the case, is that my right menisci have lost its bounce. Whilst my left knee and its’ menisci still has some spongy bounce available to absorb the shocks of daily life, the left menisci is hard as a rock. I picture old, dry leather. When I landed on my right leg today, I could feel the shockwaves up my femur, and down my tibia.

Bottom line: It didn’t help to yell “Ah, Ha” - but it was fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Corporate Theory - Too Simple?

Business Pundit thinks:

. . . most corporate theory is too simple. It labels people A or B, X or Y, it assumes they hate work, it assumes they love it if properly motivated, whatever the theory proposes, it tries to fit employees in one or more boxes, and make recommendations according to the characteristics of these boxed employees.

But it's bogus. Employees don't fit into categories because any lines you draw are arbitrary. Employee traits fall along a continuum. They are "fuzzy." So the point is really to think about bigger systems. If you design the systems correctly, the employees will find their niche and flourish or perish, just like a real ecosystem.

When I first enrolled in an MBA program (fall of '99), this kind of discussion just blew me away. It was so liberating to think of business in a "new way". Of course, those were crazy days - before the internet bubble burst. After the dot-com craze, I entered my sober grey-flannel suit days: A widget is just a widget, stop talking about taking your dogs to work, etc.

Lately I've come around to enjoying a good argument that the business model as we know it is cracked. Perhaps too many years in a cube? Perhaps all the white noise is driving me crazy? Perhaps because I feel I don't have enough time/energy for work or home? There's got to be a better way.

Dressing for Yesterday

Cool weather - finally. High today predicted to be 73 !!

After dropping M off at "nature camp", S reports that, "Kids were there in shorts/t-shirt- brrrr!"

I call the phenomena "Dressing for Yesterday" - - and I find it very amazing, considering how much TV most people watch, how they miss the TV weather is beyond me. The weather report is also on the radio every 10 minutes or so, and in the paper (though no one reads those anymore). As we were leaving the house, neighbor and daughter drove by. I noticed that youngster was "dressed for yesterday" as well.

Several kids in Bones' classroom were also "dressed for yesterday". Poor kids!

I suspect that all the kids will where jeans and sweatshirts on the next hot day - dressing for yesterday.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Food Blogging

Not one to normally food blog, but last night's grilling experience is worth a short notice.

Everytime we grill, the Hobbled wife insists we "throw" some vegetables on the grill along with the dead animal. I'm never thrilled with this since I find vegetables harder to "get right" than meat. After losing many vegetables through the grates over the years we have learned to use a very nice grilling basket, and to cut the damn things the right way to discourage escapees.

Last night we grilled the nicest cabbage, using a very simple recipe. We took one-half a cabbage and cut it into thirds. I melted about one-quarter stick of butter, mixed in some salt and pepper, than poured that over the "exposed" cabbage. The cabbage was then laid on a piece of tin-foil that I "sort of" wrapped up and over the cabbage. (We were at the end of the tin-foil roll, so it didn't completely cover the cabbage which was my intention.) Anyway - I cooked the cabbage for about 45 minutes - - it cooked in the butter and it's own moisture - beautiful!

Alas no photos - next time.

25 Years!

The invitation arrived in the mail the other day. I must have been one of those “hard to find” classmates, since the invite arrived late. I opened the envelope on Monday, July 18, and the RSVP said to return by July 15. The event is August 6.
I went to the reunion website and posted my bio - very short-, and I've been in a funk since. It's hard to put in a paragraph everything that's happened in the past 25 years. Somehow it seemed kind of lame. After 25 years, I feel I should have more to show for it.

I didn’t attend the 20th reunion. That was in 2000. My Dad had died in January that year, the Dude was born in April, and I was in the middle of changing jobs. Too much going on, and the thought of all those happy people reliving their youth just turned me off.

Don’t get me wrong, there are people from HS I would like to catch-up with. Not all are in my graduating class though. I see the guys from Cross-Country and Track occasionally. We range across several class years. We have a lot of fun, and really never talk about work, accomplishments, etc.

But the reunion—yuck. For some reason, after 25 years, I feel I should have more to show for it.

Cool Sidewalk Art

Here's some cool stuff. (Credit Eric Berlin)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Spicer is Nicer

Heading out to Spicer Friday for Uncle Ole's funeral.

My uncle turned 90 in May, and we were all up there for the big celebration. He died on Tuesday, with his (gardening) boots on - the way he would have wanted to go - assuming he wanted to go. Those of us left behind find comfort in that.

He was a big, kind guy, that's what I'll remember most. Was a carpenter most of his life, and looked the part. He taught me to fish, and still had a Norwegian accent - like lots of old people in more rural areas of the state. Everytime we visited we said grace in Norwegian before each meal. I can almost say it myself, though I'm not really sure what it meant - something about "many thanks" - "Mange Takk". The prayer had a cadence like the old song, Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats, etc.

Taking the kids. We talked about it last night before bed, the funeral, casket, cemetery, etc. They seemed pretty interested and not too upset. They are kind of amazed that they knew an actual 90 year old - he's probably the oldest human they knew. They both want to stand by me since they don't want to see Mom get all upset. Great, that means I can't!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Warning: I'm in Old Fart Mode

What's wrong with an old-fashioned playground for cripes sake? This piece just cracks me up - maybe it should make me cry:
Broward playgrounds aren't the only ones to avoid equipment that most adults remember. Swings, merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters and other old standards are vanishing from schools and parks around the country, according to the National Program for Playground Safety.
"Kids aren't using them the way they're supposed to," said the agency's director, Donna Thompson, who led a national effort to get rid of animal swings two years ago. "I'm pleased that a lot of these are disappearing."

It's only appropriate that this article coincides with an invitation for my 25th high school reunion.

Every Day a New Tie

Can't remember how I first stumbled upon this one. Now I check it from time-to-time. Almost every day he takes a picture of himself (usually just his tie) and posts it on flickr.

Worst Day/ Favorite Day

Here's an interesting project:
Does each day of the week have its own colour? This question has long intrigued the designer Johanna Balušíková, culminating in the Colour Of The Day project: an investigation into colour associations and their relationships to specific days of the week.

This reminded me of a former colleague who had a unique perspective on the days of the week. He argued that Monday (the classical day of doom) was not the worst day of the week - in fact it was only the 2nd worst. Here's how he laid it out:

Monday: 2nd worst - 6th place - you've just had two days off and (if you like your job, or at least like your colleagues) you are looking forward to arriving at the office and catching with friends/colleagues.

Tuesday: THE WORST - Last - seventh of seven - the anticipation and excitement of Monday has worn off and now you realize you are stuck in cubeville for the forseeable future.

Wednesday: "Hump Day" is 5th place- not too bad, end in sight.

Thursday: Fourth place - end in sight, but still not there yet. A lot could happen before Friday.

Friday: Third best - you made it, last day. Lots of excitement, talk of the coming weekend, etc.

Saturday: Numero Uno - the best - your day - free of the shackles of "the man".

Sunday: Second best - still all yours, but a bit of nervous anticipatin about the coming week.

Anyone who complained about Monday was subject to a ten minute sermon explaining how Monday was not the worst day of the week, then he launched into the above explanation. I really don't do it justice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Here's some pics from the big combo birthday party last weekend. We celebrated Grandma, Maria, and Quay in one big blow-out.

Through the Generations

Grandma decided that M's 8th birtday was a good time to pass along the "old doll". The doll was one of two that traveled from Germany some 120 years ago. An old German-American friend of the family gave the dolls to Grandma and her sister. They played with them as "regular" toy dolls when they were little girls - 1930s, and then put them away in boxes.

All that remains of Gradma's original doll is the china head, the cloth body was constructed later - sometime in the 1930s or 1940s I think, and the dress was made in the early 21st century by a friend of Grandma's who designs custom doll clothes.

M plays with it now, and keeps it stored safely away when not in use - - that means it's not part of the regular "Barbie pile" in the storage box under her bed.

Fuzzy Daddy

Frog Boy says, "This is Frogman at the cabin at the farm having a picnic."

Ahh - the Rewards

Everytime I go to Barnes and Noble, I'm reminded I'm not a member. Likewise at Target, I don't have the Target credit card. Of course I could sign-up, but I don't.

Business Pundit has a post about rewards programs today:
Here's my question. Can you care still "care" about me without the stupid card? I don't want a reward for having a card or being loyal. I want a reward simply for doing business with your company. If you are going to play favorites, don't tell us peons about it. Don't make us feel left out. Here's a radical new concept for people get want they want, not what you want them to have. Meet their needs and move on. Don't upsell, don't nag about credit cards, don't offer reward cards and everything else under the sun. Offer to help me find what I need at a good price, quickly.

Disclaimer: I am a "member" at the locally hardward store, and the locally run bookstore. Perhaps it's because I want to help them out, or perhaps I actually feel special to them - they both took the time to explain the program to me before I signed on, something B&N and Target really don't do. The big retailers just have the kids say it on script, it's their version of the supersize question.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ctrl-Alt-Del - time for a restart

Despite beautiful weather - the heat finally broke - temps around 70 for the morning commute, no/low humidity and a nice breeze - I am screwing up big-time - and it's not even time for lunch.

S at an "important meeting" this morning, so Hobbled Runner in charge of depositing both children at the various activities. Everyone slow to get out of the house - lots of outdoor activities yesterday really sapped their strength. Dude deposited at pre-school without a hitch, but on the way to M's "camp" I got lost. S had given me a short-cut - - as if I need a short cut to find a building located in the middle of St. Paul. Anyway I took the short-cut only to get all turned around in the industrial neighborhood north of University Ave - near Vandalia. (Cool aside, I found what appears to be the White Castle distribution center - Slider Central.)

After 5 or so minutes, we found ourselves back on University Ave - back where we started, so I did it "my way" and just drove down Universtiy Ave making all the lights, proceeded north on the appropriate side street, only to get lost again. Turned left rather than right just two blocks from the school building - - I could see the friggin' buses parked out front, but I just couldn't put two-and-two together.

After all that we were only 5 minutes late.

Get to work, call S to report in, only to be surprised when MY cell phone starts ringing in my sportcoat. After a little confusion, it became obvious - I was calling myself.

Only known cure - besides skipping work and going home? Treating myself to a cinnamon chip scone at the coffee shop. I think it's working.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Blogging Academic Jobseekers Beware

The Chronicle of Higher Education has some words of caution for blogging academic job seekers:
The pertinent question for bloggers is simply, Why? What is the purpose of broadcasting one's unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world? It's not hard to imagine legitimate, constructive applications for such a forum. But it's also not hard to find examples of the worst kinds of uses.

A blog easily becomes a therapeutic outlet, a place to vent petty gripes and frustrations stemming from congested traffic, rude sales clerks, or unpleasant national news. It becomes an open diary or confessional booth, where inward thoughts are publicly aired.

Worst of all, for professional academics, it's a publishing medium with no vetting process, no review board, and no editor. The author is the sole judge of what constitutes publishable material, and the medium allows for instantaneous distribution. After wrapping up a juicy rant at 3 a.m., it only takes a few clicks to put it into global circulation.

While I work in a non-academic setting, I have seen the rise in applicants "sharing" just a bit too much about themselves in job interviews. Several folks I've interviewed have included their own personal site (blog or not) on their resume or cover letter. Most have been pretty "tame" - nothing outrageous, no "red flags" raised - yet.

I myself have only applied for one position during my blogging career. I did mention in the cover letter (and interview - I think) that I blogged. I did not include the url or mention the blog name. The job involved managing writers/developers of web sites, so I wanted to appear "in touch" with the field - which is the only reason I mentioned my blog.

On a related note, a new "best practice" around here is to Google applicants. So far I've found one or two embarassing wedding photos - partying bridesmaids, etc. and one disbarred attorney. The partying bridesmaid was hired - she was a great employee. The disbarred attorney was not - since he neglected to inform us he was disbarred. Once you've been disbarred I guess there is nothing to prevent you from lying on a job application - sort of a slippery slope.

Younger Kids Reading More?

Interesting post on young kids and reading at Number 2 Pencil:
The difference shows: Statistics released Thursday show that 9-year-olds' reading skills have risen since 1971, and the biggest jump has come in the past five years.
Reading skills of high schoolers have actually dipped since 1999 and are essentially unchanged in a generation. Source

Might have to reexamine my earlier post.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm Walking Dammit

After being cooped up for days, avoiding highs in the 90's, I braved the weather and went for what I used to call my "regular" noon-time walk. Kind of nice actually, about 88, very sunny, slight breeze. Felt good to breath real air for a change. Summer has lots of nice smells. I observed various wild-flowers - (the ones we called weeds when I was a kid) - very sweet on such a blisteringly hot day. Lots of bees and butterflys zipping about. I love the crunchy feel the grass takes on when it gets hot for so long. Aside: the company could avoid that crunchy feeling by halting their very-regular mowing schedule when it gets this hot - - Lord knows they water enough, so green grass is not impossible, but they seem to insist on keeping the mowers busy.

PM Update - More walking - I took the short-cut over to the next building for a meeting. The short-cut involves going outside rather than through "my" building and across the skyway that connects it to it's neighboring building. Did that TWICE - got there first at 1:00, and it appeared the meeting was OFF, so I went back across the parking lot to my office, only to discover that the meeting was ON. So back I went. By now it was about 92F - and probably about 115F with the heat radiating off the parking lot. Enough fresh air. Damn meetings!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Future Firefighter

In the interest of equal-time - and since I figured out how to make this Add-Image feature work, here's one of the Dude at the annual neighborhood block party, June 26. He's sitting in the driver's seat of Engine 31. Our neighbor is a firefighter, so we always get the truck for the picnic.
This year he was much more fearless, spending a great deal of time in the driver's seat. At one point, he and two other neighborhood boys almost got into a fight inside the cab.

Cosmic Bowling - picture test

Trying out the Add Image button in Blogger - just noticed it yesterday. This is the photo we used for M's upcoming Cosmic Bowling Birthday party.

One Lure to Choose From?

Don't know why this caught my attention [Strib - reg required]:

If you had but one fishing lure to choose to, say, be the last survivor in the Boundary Waters or on the shores of Lake Superior or on an island in Lake Minnetonka, which lure would you select?

Tough call for me. I'm sort of a traditionalist (night crawler on a hook), but I'd have to go with a spoon - like a Dardevle.

Dog Blogging

Dog blogging at the Bleat:
Some dogs become rugs; some dogs become indistinguishable from the sofa pillows on which they sit. That’s not Jasper. How he talks! The range of his vocalizations are so wide and varied you wish you could give him the Gift of Consonants and hear what he really has to say.


What counts, of course, is the simple present you’re granted anew as the day rolls on, the moment when you see the dog on the floor staring up at the crumbs from her Pop Tart, knowing he cannot eat them because I am watching. I can leave the room, and he won’t eat them. He awaits permission. As noted on this page long ago, the relationship between man and dog is a dim reflection of the relationship between man and God, inasmuch as we don’t know what we don’t know, but intuit there is a Rule, an Order that hovers above us. The difference is that God never leans over from the kitchen table and grants permission to eat the Pop-Tart. In so many words, anyway.

I know, I know - one of these days.

Monday, July 11, 2005

"Corporate Weasel Words"

"Corporate Weasel Words" - - I like the sound of that. Interesting stuff at slashdot.

Cold Winter Coming?

Some people look to the wooly bear caterpillar, counting its stripes (or some such), to determine if we face a fierce or mild winter. I prefer to look at my appetite to predict future weather trends.

Take today for instance, Hot (90+) and Humid, yet I caved into the urge for a donut with my morning coffee. At lunch I went to the cafeteria with every intention of going straight to the salad bar. But wait !! The cooks had also prepared Beef Stroganoff - my favorite comfort food. I couldn't resist.

Thus I predict a terrible winter ahead - what else am I going to do with the new layer of blubber I'm adding?

Crab Walk Champeen!

Survived a rather hot, buggy night at Girl Scout camp with M. It was a girls and Dads thing. Lot of fun, many activities - Hobbled Runner excelled in the post dinner relay activities, winning the crab walk contest by two lengths over the other dads. My prize - a box of Girl Scout cookies - of course.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Almost All" - Everyone OK

Don't know why this stuff takes me by surprise. I forget that I work for a company with offices around the world.

E-Mail from the Big-Guy:

Dear Colleague:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by the explosions in London today.

Our first priority has been to ensure the safety of employees. Almost all of our employees in London have now been accounted for and no injuries have been reported thus far. We will continue our efforts to locate every colleague in the London area.

Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our London colleagues, we have been able to provide uninterrupted service and support to our customers.

I will update you as new information becomes available.


[emphasis mine]

UPDATE: All accounted for - and working hard for "the man".

Blame the Hammock

Mom and Dad have been on M's case to read more. This of particular concern to Mom, as she spent most of her youth with her nose in a book. In his youth, Dad enjoyed books, but probably went for days and weeks - - especially as a summer-time 8 year old - - without picking one up.

A few days ago, Mom confronted M about why she doesn't read more.

M's response: "...I'm not the lazy type like you...."

Rubberband Man

I've been meaning to post about the explosion of rubberbands worn about the wrist. This post won't do it justice, but perhaps it's just a start.

Here's my timeline: WWJD - the What Would Jesus Do craze of a few years back, followed by the more recent Livestrong - or whatever the yellow Lance Armstrong cancer foundation ones say. Then there are the various purple or blue or red ones for various Bush, anti-Bush sentiments. Received a pink one myself for donating some $ to breast cancer research - M now wears it. Last one I saw was also red - received by Mrs. Hobbled for donating blood.

I won't go into how I feel about the rubberband craze, since I'm not exactly sure - love that people feel strongly about causes - enough that they contribute money, time, etc. - but ...

Anyway, this morning on the way into preschool with the Dude, I looked down and saw he was sporting a light purple rubberband on his right wrist. "What's that?" I asked.

"Oh, it's my Spy Kids gadget. I found it in the house."

Anyone who has seen the Spy Kids movie (the first I believe), the uncle outfits the kids with various spy gadgets including a plain old rubber band. When the boy protests, the uncle counters that it is a "extra special" gadget designed to be used only as a last resort. Of course, near the end of the show, in a moment of grave peril, the boy takes it off his wrist and uses it to save his live or some such thing.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that the Dude's purple band had a message. It read, "4080 produce of Peru".

One of those grocery store rubberbands. The kind that come around asparagus or broccoli.

The perfect anti-statement.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More Biz-Speak

Late afternoon meeting, new product introduced. Cool stuff - but again with the business-speak. The product was described as "really rich" . Now, "really rich" is a great way to describe chocolate cake, or my favorite - cinnamon-chip scones, but when talking about a software application, "really rich" doesn't ring true for me.

On the other hand, I found the application to have a lovely bouquet, with just a hint of chocolate, and really great legs.

Rock Stars, Money, and Africa

Lots of interesting stuff on the Live8 concert on the blogsophere. Eric Berlin sent me off in this direction, where, in addition to reading about African aid, I stumbled on some interesting factoids about Sir Paul - more specifically the late Linda McCartney. This interests me as a Beatles fan, and former lawyer.

Seven years ago, you'll recall, Sir Paul's wife died of cancer. Linda McCartney had been a resident of the United Kingdom for three decades but her Manhattan tax lawyers, Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts, devoted considerable energy in her final months to establishing her right to have her estate probated in New York state.

That way she could set up a "qualified domestic marital trust" that would... Yeah, yeah, yeah, in the immortal words of Lennon and/or McCartney. Big deal, you say. We're into world peace and saving the planet and feeding Africa. What difference does it make which jurisdiction some squaresville suit files the boring paperwork in?

Okay, I'll cut to the chase. By filing for probate in New York rather than the United Kingdom, Linda McCartney avoided the 40 per cent death duties levied by Her Majesty's Government. That way, her family gets all 100 per cent - and 100 per cent of Linda McCartney's estate isn't to be sneezed at.

It's an interesting piece on African-aid, capitalism, and rock stars. It ends with this:

Once upon a time, rock stars weren't rated by Moody, they were moody - they self-destructed, they choked to death in their own vomit, they hoped to die before they got old. Instead, judging from Sir Pete Townshend on Saturday, they got older than anyone's ever been. Today, Paul McCartney is a businessman: he owns the publishing rights to Annie and Guys & Dolls. These faux revolutionaries are capitalists red in tooth and claw.

The system that enriched them could enrich Africa. But capitalism's the one cause the poseurs never speak up for. The rockers demand we give our fokkin' money to African dictators to manage, while they give their fokkin' money to Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts to manage. Which of those models makes more sense?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

She Ate It!

Success - add one more item to the rather limited menu of 8 year-old M: chicken prepared on the grill. I made a little honey-lemon-juice "sauce" that I soaked it in for 30 minutes before grilling. She ate two thighs - - sorry Moose!

Next up, tuna steak, when S returns from a post-work meeting. That's been sitting in an olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and salt concoction for the last hour or so. Looks good - but fish often meets with mixed reviews: Those omega-threes are supposed to be good for you, but neither of is too fish-crazy. And me a Pisces.

Gotta run - screaming kids.

Ah - Clutter

There's some interesting comments on Althouse re clutter - what it means, how to get rid of it, and why:

You would think that there are only two kinds of people in the world: those that sell at yard sales, and those that buy at yard sales. It's more like: there are those that "participate" in yard sales, and those that don't. Yard sellers and buyers are the same people, handing the same stuff around in a circle, endlessly, and wondering why it's piling up in their house.

This speaks to me on lots of levels. As one who spent his day off cleaning out the pantry, I know the satisfaction of a job well done - and extra bags piled by the garbage can. I just tell myself, "It took months/years to get this way - you can't clean it all on one vacation day."

I also recall fondly the many sales at "the farm" and the characters you would meet at those events. The aunts had set out an old (dead) christmas tree and hung it with bric-a-brac to sell. The tree was merely "the display", but along comes some character who bought the whole thing - she collects old trees. Hope she doesn't smoke in bed.