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Journal for 30 Nov 2008: Thanksgiving in Madison


It’s a cold, snowy night in Madison, one fitting for the last day of November.  We’re wrapping up our Thanksgiving visit with Lisa’s parents, and will be heading back to Minneapolis tomorrow.  I’d planned on calling some relatives here before heading down, but last week was kind of crazy for me, and, as it turned out, we didn’t really have much time anyway.  Hopefully we’ll be able to connect with them before the holidays are over.

Overall, it’s been a good trip.  Mathias has finally gotten over the ear infections and emerging molars that have made him a very cranky baby over the past two weeks, and for the past few days has been undeniably chipper.  He’s been very observant lately, and it seems like he may have transferred to a new developmental stage while flying under the cover of sickness.  He’s walking again–he more or less took a break from that when he was sick–and as of tonight is climbing stairs.  (Thankfully, the inside of our apartment doesn’t have any of them.)

It’s good that he’s been in a good mood, as he’s been getting passed around a lot.  He met some of Lisa’s old neighbors on Friday, and then spent some time goofing off with friends of Lisa’s and mine today.

Aside from that, it was more or less typical Thanksgiving stuff: We had lots of good food, got to visit friends and family, did a fair amount of shopping, and wired a home for broadband.  I’ve spent a lot of time watching the horrible events going on in Mumbai, and will probably have something to write about that in the near future, but not now.

And with that, I’m off for the evening. (One of the downsides of having a healthy baby is early mornings.)  Happy Cyber Monday to all of you.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal,Travelog at 11:32 pm

Journal for 26 Nov 2008: Thanksgiving


My brain isn’t ready for Thanksgiving. My brain seems to think we’re in early October, or maybe at the end of an unusually cold September. November 26th? How did that happen? School, and the horrific but useful experience known as Data Analysis & Statistics for Managers, is the likely culprit: When stuck in a class that overtakes one’s life and consumes every free waking moment, time doesn’t drag or fly. Instead, it more or less just disappears.

Two months of my life, lost, a gap in my geologic record.

But I need to get by that. I need to pull myself in the present, as when we step out of the car in Madison tomorrow, I want to be in the proper mind to appreciate and enjoy what I think is one of the best holidays we Americans get to experience, a rare shared moment of grateful assessment, a holiday about family and friends still relatively unspoiled by commercialism or general stupidity.

New Year’s Day is a time to make no small plans. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to be thankful for the opportunity to do so.

And so, with that, I’d like to share a few of the things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for my wonderful son and all the love he brings us, and my beautiful wife, who possesses more patience and fortitude than she gives herself credit for.

I’m thankful for my family and relatives, both by birth and marriage, and am glad Mathias will get to grow up knowing them. (I’m really looking forward to Mathias getting to meet his uncle.) Health challenges abound in some areas, especially with my parents, but they’re doing relatively well all things considered, and, as I move towards my mid-30s, I realize I’m more fortunate than many that I still have them.

I’m thankful for my friends, many of whom are basically family to me. I need to be a better friend, something I’ve never felt myself to be too good at, but that’s probably a topic for January 1.

I’m thankful for my job. It’s not what I ever expected to be doing, but it’s enjoyable challenging, and full of opportunities.

I’m thankful for being in school. Yes, it’s often a pain, and can take a toll in many ways, but the knowledge, opportunities and friends I’m gaining from it are fantastic.

And, finally, I’m thankful for turkey. You know why? I fucking love turkey. It’s tasty, and doesn’t come across cheap like chicken. As such, I’m also thankful that we’ll be relaunching the event known as Turkey Party in late February or early March of 2009. Turkey, fuck yeah.

I also love stuffing, but I’ll save that for next year’s entry. And with that, here’s wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.

Posted in Journal at 11:54 pm

BabyLog for 24 Nov 2008: What’s Grosser Than Gross?


For someone who’s now well-versed at being a mom, Lisa has proven to have a bit of a low tolerance for things that are gross or disgusting.  It’s kind of contextual, though:  She can stand diapers that cause me to gag–my relatively good sense of smell puts me at a distinct disadvantage when our kid gets creative with what he puts in his diaper–but when Mathias pull stunts like he did in the car today, well, we have to consider ourselves lucky that Lisa’s able to keep her food down at all.

So, what happened today?  We were driving to the doctor’s office–the little one has been battling a snotty cold with an alternating fever for the past few days–when Mathias decided to do some impromptu spelunking.  Before Lisa could stop him, he pulled a large, multicolored booger out of his nose, studied it for a moment… And ate it.  Lisa started gagging, and then started wondering out loud if she should retrieve it or not, while I worked to repress laughter.  After a brief a moment of silence, Lisa set forth with another revelation: “Oh my god, he’s chewing on it.” Pause. “I’m going to throw up.”

I broke out laughing.  “Oh, it probably isn’t the only booger he’s eaten.”

“That’s so gross.”

“He doesn’t know what it is. To him, it’s just an interesting, salty snack.”

“Do you want me to throw up?”


“Then stop!”

I stopped, as I suspected I was on track for dealing with more than enough puke for the day.  That suspicion would be proven later in the evening while cleaning the carseat in Lisa’s car, which Mathias had tossed chunks in a few days earlier.  Lisa had cleaned it off, but it still smelled, so I took it inside to give it a thorough cleaning.  Upon taking off the seat cushion I came across a still-liquid reservoir of milk-based vomit, and, well, it went downhill from there. Each time I thought I’d finally cleaned off the seat, I’d uncover something else.  You’d think something like a car seat would be built in a way to protect it from spills of pretty much any kind, but you’d be mistaken.

Ah, parenthood.  It’s kind of gross, but you get used to it.  And with that I’m off for a walk, hopefully so I can be home before our sick, cranky little kid wakes up again.

More later.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:27 pm

BabyLog for 16 Nov 2008


So, Mathias picked today to start walking.



Like many things with the baby, the timing was unexpected. (Ironically, we had a developmental specialist from Minneapolis Public Schools scheduled to drop by tomorrow. All kids start walking when they’re good and ready, but at almost 17 months, Mathias was getting near the point where it was recommended we just check in to make sure everything was OK.)  We’d just gotten back from grocery shopping, and after unpacking I settled down with Mathias in the living room.  He was in a bit of a roughneck mood, so I got down on the floor with him, and eventually found myself laying between the couch and the coffee table.  I watched him as he stood up a couple of feet from the coffee table and the couch–he’s been standing independently for a few weeks now–and pondered the couch just out of his reach.  He thought about it for a moment, and then gave three quick steps over to the couch. It wasn’t graceful, but it got the job done.

I yelled for Lisa, and she was there a moment later, but Mathias didn’t immediately repeat his accomplishment.  It wasn’t until an hour later, after a bath and a failed attempt at going to to bed, that he found himself leaning on me next to my chair in the living room, his mom sitting separately a few feet away.  After a couple of minutes of encouragement from his parents, he carefully walked between us, first with Lisa and I providing a small amount of balance to him, but soon enough with him walking on his own.  In all, he probably walked 20 feet independently this evening.  And you know what?  He loved it.

I see a lot of practice walking in the near future, but soon enough, our little guy is going to be unstoppable.

And with that, it’s time to write Mathias’ grandparents…

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:50 pm

Items Noted Elsewhere: Shift Happens


Rummaging about online tonight in search of data to sufficiently frighten me before me latest class project (the web 25 years from now), I stumbled upon an updated version of the presentation my ops professor launched his ops management class with just over a year ago.



It’s interesting to see how it compares to the original version. Some things have changed even faster than expected.

Here’s to embracing the future in all of its wonderfully gory glory…

Posted in Education,Items Noted Elsewhere at 10:03 pm

Yes We Did!

Posted in Journal,News,politics at 10:00 pm

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