Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hobbled Christmas Video

Here's our first foray into Hobbled Video. The kids received a Flip camera from Santa. We captured these shots at Grandmama and Boppa's this afternoon. The Hobbled Wife set it to music. I expect loads of fun in the days and weeks ahead.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tis the Season - for Wild Fashion Statements

6th Grade Fashion: Here's what M wore to school today - and Yes, her pant legs are rolled up, and her boots are rolled down not just for this picture - that's the look she plans to sport all day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yesterday's News

Two photos snapped yesterday during my lunch-hour walk. It had snowed Tuesday afternoon and into the evening. Rush hour was a mess, but when the sun came out Wednesday it made for some nice photos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proof of Official Geek Status

This is addicting – and you can actually get work accomplished while watching/listening. It's Star Tribune live coverage of the MN Senate canvassing board recount. They are moving through the ballots pretty quickly.

Tundra Poetry Cafe

Last night we battled the rush-hour snow and cold to attend the Tundra Poetry Cafe. The Dude's school gives names to all it's classes, and he is in the Tundra - one of the two grade 3/4 classes. The other is called the Bayou.

The Tundra kids have been working on poetry over the past few weeks and this was the culmination of those efforts. The kids decorated the lunchroom, making it into a cafe. Parents and kids provided baked goods, they had a menu, and sold baked goods and drinks to parents. Money earned at the event went to the Make a Wish Foundation - a charity chosen by the children.

[The waiter pauses amid the swirl of activity.]

After taking our orders and serving the treats, the kids read their poems. A very splendid event.

[M enjoys the lemonade.]

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trying to Catch Up

Tis the season - to be busy. The photo above was taken Saturday at the Guidant John Rose Oval. Ever since the Dude started speed skating lessons - it's been almost impossible to catch him on the ice. A few weeks ago he hugged the wall or held my hand as we went round. On Saturday we probably skated 2 or 4 miles befor we got called off the ice at the end of open skating.

[M- post recital.]

Sunday we had Church choir in the AM, followed by piano recital at 12:30 then the big Project Opera Holiday Show at 4:00. During the time the temperature plummeted, the rain changed to snow, and the wind went from about 0 mph to howling.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Week That Was

[I’ve been adding to my walking path collection. Can you spot the two deer in Tuesday’s photo?]

I’m still here; I haven’t gone away. It seems that most of my blog absences occur during times of stress. During ordinary busy times I usually find time (and want to find the time) to post. It’s only during the busy and stressful times that my blogging juices run dry. The past few days has been one of those periods.

We are in the midst of one of the Dude’s down periods, resulting in some school issues and some stress around home. Add to that, school work, choirs, lessons, etc, a very busy social calendar.

Here’s a run-down of the past few days:

Friday, December 5: School/Work; M and Hobbled Wife are off to a birthday party in the evening. Dog has seizure – a big one – right before we were going to retire for the evening. Now he’s in his post-seizure period and is very hyper, hungry, and won’t settle down. He barks at us when we try to put him in his kennel. The kennel is a nightly routine, and if he is tired enough, he will often go upstairs to the kennel himself. His barking is keeping everyone awake, so the Hobbled Wife volunteers to go entertain him for an hour while he unwinds.

Saturday, December 6: After late night, I’m up early since dog wakes up the same time 7 days a week. Look forward to nap later – it never comes. M has extra long Opera Choir practice followed by performance at the Galleria at 3:00. After dinner, M is off to another birthday party – not to return until 10:30.

Sunday, December 7: After another late night, we are up early for Church Choir in the AM. Afternoon starts with great brunch by yours truly, but M has lots of homework, then water backs up in basement, and THEN the dog has another big seizure. But wait, didn’t we say we were going to purchase a Christmas tree?

The Hobbled Wife stays with the dog – he’s too crazy to leave home alone in post-seizure mode – and the rest of us are off to secure the tree. On the way to the Christmas tree lot, M breaks down crying. She was with the dog when his seizure started and it freaked her out. She’s crying, saying how she hates the dog. The Dude comes to the dog’s defense, M hits the Dude. By the time we’ve driven 1 mile to the tree lot, both kids are sniffling and NOT in the mood to shop for trees. Ho – ho – ho. We agree to try a different tree lot. That seems to do the trick – new venue, new moods. We secure a nice tree and head for home.

Monday, December 8: Stay home to await Roto Rooter man. He ended up removing so many tree roots from the line (I regret not snapping a picture) that it looked like someone had shaved a gorilla and left a pile of coarse black hair on the basement floor. It filled half a large sized garbage bag. Yuck! Apparently given the nature of our trees it would be good idea to have the line cleaned every 2 years – to be on the safe side. Now they tell me!

Tuesday, December 9: Things are looking up. The Dude is not is at school, but Grandmama and Boppa come to hang out with him. His teacher has emailed assignments for the week so we’ve got real work to do. Later that afternoon, the Hobbled Wife takes the Dude to school to pick up a math book. Good talk with the teacher – Dude may be ready to return tomorrow. Oh – then piano lessons for both and speed skating for the Dude. M and Hobbled Wife head out to Ordway to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas – a late night, but lots of seasonal fun.

Wednesday, December 10: Great news – the Dude goes to school. M has choir practice after school and I (finally) finish cleaning up laundry room after drain incident and Roto-Rooter visit. I’m feeling crappy, I guess I am catching a cold after all.

Thursday, December 11: – Dog has “small” seizure early AM and I have to wake the Hobbled Wife to assist – never a good idea to get her out of bed before she really needs to. More good news – Dude goes to school. Looking forward to speed skating tonight and dance for M.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thank God It's Friday

Well this is a fine start to a Friday. My computer is been giving me grief all week. Someone from the Help Desk is due to visit - ETA unknown. I was able to work-around the "blue screen of death" and I appear to be up and running - with limited access to some stuff.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Who’s Next?

[Memorial tree with post and plaque.]

I’ve posted about the walking path where I work. One unique feature is are the trees planted in memory of former West employees – some retirees, but usually someone who has died while working for the company. I’ve never counted this gallery of trees but I suspect there are about 20 trees at present, and the number continues to grow.

The common practice is to plant a tree, install a post in front of the tree a day or two later, and then a plaque is fastened to the post within days. The plaque has the worker’s name, sometimes the dates of service to the company, and often a personal message. Sometimes there is a small ceremony. I’ve never been invited to a ceremony, but I’ve seen them – usually a small group of co-workers gathers at the site, someone says a few words, pictures are taken, then back to work.

[Memorial tree with post but no plaque.]

This latest addition to the gallery of memorial trees is disconcerting. They planted the tree, installed the post – and now nothing. It’s been almost a month, maybe more. What are they waiting for? Where’s the plaque with the name and dates. Maybe the question is, “Who are they waiting for?” Who’s next?

Back to Work - Floor Show - and Snow

I find it much easier to throw together a blog post while in the office than at home. Why? Because being at work requires sitting in front of the computer most of the day – ready to respond to any and all emails I receive. But – let’s be honest – it doesn’t take a genius to respond to emails, so the mind wanders (and blogs).

[Tired Skater – Friday afternoon.]

The Dude had been fighting some sort of bug all week, but he just kept slogging on. It finally caught up with him Friday and he spent the rest of the weekend just sitting around the house recovering.


In addition to hosting Thanksgiving, we spent some time this weekend ripping up carpeting to expose the hardwood floors underneath. Both the Dude and Hobbled Wife have allergy problems that will be helped by removing the old, cruddy carpeting. We are lucky that our house was built in that era when the builders installed nice hardwood floors, but it was a sign of status to cover them up almost immediately with “wall-to-wall” carpeting as it was called back in the day.


When we first moved in, we removed the living room carpeting only to find beautiful wood below. We’ve put off removing the carpeting in other areas – but the recent introduction of pets and allergies have moved that project off the back-burner.

Like every domestic home repair job I tackle, this one took much longer than anticipated. We thought that we could remove the relatively small amount of carpeting on the stairs and hall quickly, and then move on the Dude’s room. Hah – I still have some staples to remove in the hall and we haven’t touched the Dude’s rooms. I’m not sure what the industry standard is, but the folks who installed the carpeting in the hall outside the bedroom/bathroom and then down the four stairs, surpassed the required nails and staples to square foot of carpeting ratio by a factor of 10. You weren’t going to slip on any loose carpeting in that hall – no way, no how. If a tornado blew through the neighborhood, leveling all the homes, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that our steps remained intact – held there by the carpeting!

Oh well, the cuts, scrapes, and calluses will heal – just in time to move onto the Dude’s room. After that – we move on to the Hobbled bedroom itself. The only thing that keeps me going is the great wood we are uncovering. Besides, the newly cleared space has a nice echo – so it seems like a bigger space that it really is.

Further weekend news – it snowed – real snow. We received about 2 – 3 inches in our neighborhood Saturday night, and into Sunday morning. It’s so blasted cold that it’s not going anywhere soon. Duke seems to enjoy it – but it sticks to the hair between his claws so he has to take frequent breaks during our walks to remove the little ice chunks.