Friday, April 29, 2011

One Year Ago

Wow - we have some catching up to do. It is NOT that green along the walking path today - but it was almost 60 degrees when I was out.

Blackberry Silence

For over 24 hours I have enjoyed life with limited Blackberry access. My Outlook email is not sending or receiving on my Blackberry. The phone and web browsing features all continue to function. The best of all worlds – no annoying work email, but still can easily access Twitter and make phone calls.

I’m working with the Help Desk folks – but I’m in no hurry. Reminds me of last August when I dropped the darn thing in a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


As often happens this time of year with the legislature in session and the state facing a huge budget deficit, the talk around the house turns to what would happen if Mom (state employee) lost her job. There are no specific plans – but you have to consider all possibilities.

During one of these conversations the other day the Dude asked me,
Dad, if Mom lost her job would you have to go to work full-time?

I tried not to overreact. I simply replied,
But I already work full time.

Good news: At least I’m not one of those parents who are never around because they work very long hours.

Bad news: Maybe I need to work harder?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pioneer Press Strikes Again

You know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Well what is the proper response to “Fool me three times” ?

It seems every couple years we run into trouble with the good old St. Paul Pioneer Press. For a history of our house-holds challenges with the old St. Paul paper, click here, here, and here.

Here’s the latest.

A few weeks ago, the paper had representatives at the local Rainbow Foods offering subscriptions to the paper. If you signed up they provided you a $10 gift card for Rainbow. Shana signed us up.

We received our first paper on a Thursday and enjoyed a few days of the Pioneer Press along with the Star Tribune. [Are we the only people who subscribe to two newspapers? Most of our neighbors don’t even receive one.]

But the following Monday, no paper. Believe it or not we were too busy to call – and we figured maybe because we are new customers the delivery person was confused – for whatever reason we did not report the delivery problem right away.

Now into the third week or so of Thursday through Sunday delivery, I finally broke down and called. I went through the phone tree – entering phone numbers and address number – but “it” kept saying their records indicated we were not to receive a paper today. After trying all our phone numbers and getting no-where, I decided to “zero out” and talk to a live person.

Guess what – we only signed up for a Thursday through Sunday subscription!?! What the !! I called Shana – and even though we don’t have any paper work from the transaction – she is pretty certain she was told she was getting the entire week – but no, it’s only that special 4 day sub.

I’ve heard of Monday through Friday delivery, and Saturday/Sunday, even Sunday-only subs to newspapers – but Thursday through Sunday? What’s the point?

Should have suspected something would go wrong – we are dealing with the Pioneer Press after all.

Friday, April 22, 2011

“It’s Always the End of Something”

Kids grow up fast. In today’s Bleat, James Lileks comments on the end of birthday parties – and more. His daughter turns (or turned) 11 – just like the Dude:

She’s also decided she doesn’t want a birthday party this year. No more throngs of friends with their calamitous din. She said she might want a party with just a few friends, but that would make the ones she didn’t invite feel left out. That’s very mature, I said. She bowed and said “why thank you” with sarcastic politeness. Every kid hits that point, no? Enough. One year we had a sleepover – ten girls, I think. Oy. Guaranteed no sleep, some tears, everyone owly in the AM, slumpy and surly when picked up. One year: Disney-princess-themed rental bouncy in the back yard. (Yes, “Rental Bouncy” sounds like an English term for a hooker.) Ten girls, ten concussions. Dead grass. One year, a magician. Last year, the Humane Society – no gifts, just contributions to the animal shelter, cake, playtime with a pliant kitten. Looks like that was the end of it.

It’s always the end of something; the trick is to keep your eyes open so you see the start of something else.

Emphasis mine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yesterday Snow, Today Frost

Same flowers from yesterday, photographed 24 hours later, now victims of this morning's frost.

Happy April!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Promise to Leave My Boots Out All Year

This is what happens when you store the old winter boots in the basement, thinking it could never snow again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

11 Years Ago Tonight

I’m still here, but have been too busy to blog. As I emailed Shana this morning,

It feels crazy busy around 2:30 p.m. A quick email check confirms it. 90 emails so far today – and that’s not counting the ones I’ve deleted already. These are the ones I should read or at least “think” about before deleting unread.

Counting them doesn’t make them go away – but it makes me feel justified in feeling overwhelmed.

Fun things in my life of late:

It’s the Dude’s 11th birthday today. When I think back on that night I shudder. He came “this” close to being born in the back seat of a 91 Honda Civic. As it was we pulled in to the hospital at 9:05 p.m. and he was born at 9:10, or 9:15 or something. Whew!

I’ve been enjoying this New York Times blog, Disunion, a day-by-day through the Civil War. I guess you could say I’m looking forward to the next four years. I’ve been something of a Civil War buff since about 3rd grade. Back then I was crazy for Lincoln. I remember raising my hand to offer Lincoln anecdotes in class – totally uncalled for. Mrs. Larson was a saint for putting up with me. The other kids must have thought I was a nut.

At the library on Saturday, I stumbled upon this book. Affection and Trust: The Personal Correspondence of Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson, 1953-1971. It’s great! I love reading old correspondence – as it gives an interesting look into the everyday life of days gone by. I had no idea Truman and Acheson were such close friends. What a mis-matched pair from the outside.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Project Opera: Tom Thumb

The Hobbled Family was in trendy Northeast Minneapolis this afternoon, watching Project Opera’s production of Tom Thumb.

This opera is tells the story of Tom Thumb and how he leads his brothers out of the forest to find food and shelter, after being driven of their home by their poor parents and avoiding a series of mishaps. Referred to as “fairy tale music” by its German composer Hans Werner Henze, based the piece on the Collodi (creator of Pinocchio) version of the Tom Thumb. It’s very unique in the operatic repertoire as it was originally written for children to perform for other children.

Maria played a tree and an ogre’s daughter. Unlike years past where the two choirs, Ragazzi (younger kids), and Giovani (older ones), performed separate shows, Tom Thumb combined both choirs. It was a lot of fun.

The opera was performed at the Ritz Theater.

Wandering the streets before the show, I saw this sign in the window of Hotspot Mobile Electronics – a few doors down from the Ritz Theater.