Monday, December 9, 2013

Thanksgiving up north

If you know me 'n Jill well, you know that we don't always have grown up things under control.  For instance, our drivers' licenses.  Since we have tended to move every so often, we never paid much attention to what the address said on our licences.  Our car is correctly registered under our residence, so I assumed we were law abiding citizens.

However, a store recently rejected Jill's attempt to purchase a bottle of wine on account of her license being expired (Jill is still getting carded!  What a beauty!).  Wouldn't you know it, mine was too.  So a few Mondays ago we headed out to the dmv to renew.  The dmv is closed on Mondays.  So we went again on the day before Thanksgiving, and found about 50 people in the waiting room (I guess international students spent their week off learning to drive).  We walked right back out the door and drove up to Michigan.

Before Christmas, we will get them.  I'm sure.
Who are on the ball?  Clara and Janny!  They help mommy in the kitchen, create projects out of tape, paper, and whatever else is handy, and ask us to read books**.  I spent about 1/4 of my life sweeping tiny pieces of paper, looking for Clara's bunny, and tracking down caps for markers.

** Hansel and Gretel is a current favorite.  I hope this doesn't mean that mommy is really mean, and that I'm incompetent (how hard is it to find wood in the forest?).  Personally, it's quite a shock to go from reading about Frog and Toad to this story of starvation, abandonment, witchcraft, cannibalism, theft, and murder.
 Clara is super duper excited about Christmas.  She gets to nap by the lighted up Christmas tree.
 Aunt Jo did her usual fine job of assembling the White family for photos.  First, the Knutsons.
 Then the Smiths.
Then the whole Whites (except for some working folks, like Paul out fracking rocks in Pennsylvania).  In addition to celebrating Christmas, we gathered to celebrate Grandma White's 90th birthday!

We also celebrated Grandpa Smith's 90th birthday, but Aunt Jo wasn't there to take photos and put them on facebook.

Finally, we are down to a family of 4.  Fereshteh moved up to the big City last month in pursuit of her fortune (and maybe true love?).  She had been very busy recently, so the change felt gradual.  Still, we miss her huge personality and dramatic life (I mean that as a compliment).  Watch out Chicago!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

more mediocre ideas

Some random ideas from sitting around a lot during Thanksgiving week are clogging my thoughts.  Maybe by publishing them here, I'll think of something that's actually interesting.  As always, feel free to use any idea.  Just don't get too upset at me if it doesn't work out.

Happy Thanksgiving!

New colleges

In a rust belt town, start a new college.  A hired professor will earn about $30,000 per year.  She/he will be the teacher/advisor for a group of 30 students.  (If you're quick at math, you will note that this means each student will pay $1000 per year in advising fees to the college).  This professor will guide the 30 students through their field of expertise (history, english, whatever).

Any additional classes that a student wants to take can be done through the new massively online classes.

The facilities will be a previously empty building in the downtown area.  Housing should be quite cheap in this town (it's a rust-belt, soon-to-be ghost town.  There is no university support staff (looking at you deans, provosts, etc), no sports, no IT.  Just learning.

If the professor wants to earn more money, the options are to advise more students (of course this may diminish the experience for those students) or write proposals to funding agencies.

Reduced cost of higher education (perhaps improved, compared to some schools)
Found employment for a bunch of underemployed academics

Cheaper doctors

1.  Medical school is now free (taxpayers on the hook for what, $150,000 per future doctor?)
2.  Doctors then pay a $10 - 20k tax per year during their career (in additional to normal taxes).

Overall savings for taxpayers.  Even doctors that work in truly underserved areas should be able to afford to pay an additional $10 per year in taxes.

Very wide ranging magazines

You know how after about the 3rd issue of just about any magazine in the world, articles start to feel a little redundant?  We will pool a large selection of magazines.  Each month, you get a completely different magazine.

You didn't like Time last month?  Bam, here comes Vanity Fair.  VF hasn't been the same since Christopher Hitchens' untimely death?  How about Midwestern Living this month.  And so on.

Better distribution of education spending

In the U.S., local property taxes provide a big chunk of the funding for public schools.  This is madness.  Pool this money at the state level and distribute the funds evenly (okay, sure, use some cost of living adjustments when needed).

Monday, November 11, 2013

whither October

Tonight Janny told me, "Thank you, Daddy.  You're a nice boy."  Clara later added, "I like the way you talk."  Feeling pumped up, I can finally report on recent events.

My primary excuse for not reporting lately is Jill's lifestyle change.  She wakes up at an unreasonable hour every weekday for her exercise classes.  To make this happen, she's in bed every night around 9p.  So instead of rarely doing dishes, I do some.  I also clean a little.  Is that a good enough excuse?

Some time ago now, my parents visited us as part of [one of MANY] long trips this year.  I'm pleased to recall that my mom left uninjured (though no bicycle riding took place).
 Clara and Janny take about 1 or 2 baths per week.  They play for about 15 minutes and then scream like maniacs when it's time to wash hair.  It seems that Clara is getting near acceptance.  This would be a big relief.

 Before going to bed last night, Jill checked in on the girls to find that Janny's bed was empty.  Over the weekend, we thought she was in bed until Fereshteh came home to (and the details are unclear here) Janny crashing from the couch to the floor.  Much screaming ensued.  But back to the newer story, we looked through a few rooms before finding Janny sleeping behind the couch in the front room.  I picked her up and returned her to bed without waking her.  Sound sleeper!  Also, a sneaky little girl!
For Halloween, Honest Abe and Rosy the riveter stopped by for a chat.  Nice to learn a little history on Halloween!  Clara's chicken costume was from a nearby garage sale.  Janny was the 'the crane' alien.  The neighbors also stopped by to show off their candy stash.
 Another bright red explosion by the front tree this year.  I've moved about 15 bags of leaves to my leaf/compost pile.  The girls picked up a few leaves.
 Jill took care of the pumpkin carving project this year.  Clara first wanted an angry pumpkin, but later changed her mind.  Now her pumpkin is two-faced.
 The kids are very excited about working on "projects" lately.  The most popular project is to tape knick-knacks together with masking tape (sticks, paper, small plastic toys, bags).  We were a bit surprised that masking tape costs nearly $5 per roll, but the cost per hour is quite low.  Another project is to make either an obstacle course or a balance beam.  Either versions requires dragging ALL of the pillows, cushions, and blankets into the front room and scattering them on the floor.   Cleaning up is not a project.
I did a sort-of gravel road race near Kickapoo with the Wild Card gang the previous weekend.  I got dropped from the lead group of 3 about 18 miles in.  I couldn't recover from the last hill, so the tail-wind assisted surges wiped me out.  The course was fabulous with nearly 60 miles of almost continuous unpaved/roughly paved roads.  

Finally, there is another scary, abandoned rail bridge not too far away.  100' tall, no railing.  Who is up for adventure?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

poking the rust

Jill recently completed a small house project:  chalkboard paint wall!  The east wall of our bedroom is now yellowish-green with lots of chalk marks.  Guess who has enjoyed the wall the most so far?
We're continuing to tour local parks and forest preserves.  Last weekend we visited Riverbend Forest preserve (home of the largest lake in Champaign county).  There are some nice trails, and the lake has a very fun pier with some covered benches and tables.

We have been to Kickapoo state park on a number of occasions, especially back in our mountain biking days.  Never before had we checked out the other parks nearby, so today we went to Kennekuk forest preserve.  As a bonus, my parents are in town this week, so we left the kids at home with them.  No one complained about being tired or hungry the whole time!
There are a zillion trails through the park, but we didn't have much time before we got hungry (okay, so maybe what I said before wasn't true).  We hiked only a couple trails.
It's very Kickapoo-esque, but no one was out on the trails.
Usually on the way home from the Kickapoo area, lunch is at either of the pizza places in St Joseph.  Since we were on the east side of the North fork, we decided to try our luck in Danville, former home of a GM foundry, currently avoided like the plague by most Urbana residents.

We found a restaurant downtown (there are 2?).  Pretty decent food that was reasonably priced.  The downtown area is about 6 square blocks with some pretty nice looking old buildings, most currently occupied by second-hand stores.  It's a little depressing, but maybe there is potential (Chambana never bothered to build a downtown.).

Finally, it's 10:15pm and Janny is walking around with her magnet doll.  Time to lay down the law.  Good night.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Clara's birthday and more

Clara turned 4 on Saturday!  We celebrated in traditional Knutson fashion by inviting neighbors, small group people, adopt-a-students, and church friends.  Janny was the youngest, and I don't think it's polite to say who the oldest was.  Clara picked several friends to be invited and helped Jill with the menu planning.  Instead of a cake or cupcakes, Jill and Clara worked together to make frosted banana muffins with pear and chocolate chips.  Pretty yummy.

The week before, Jill's' mom and dad stayed with us and gave Clara her first birthday present, a scooter!  This has been a huge hit.  Grandpa was quite useful around the house as well, resurfacing our dining room table, cleaning our car inside and out (gross!), and fixing the screen in our front door.
Clara also received a bunch of books plus Gruffalo stuffed animals from Grandpa and Grandma K.  From us, she got a batting tee (I'm loving this!  So far, no broken windows.) and a jump rope.  Some neighbors gave her a baby doll and some oreos (not shared with daddy).

During the Smiths' visit, Jill and I took an overnight trip to Charleston (fact:  Tony Romo lived there) in order to take a break from the kids.  We ate at the popular downtown restaurant, watched movies, and did some hiking at the surprisingly hilly Fox Ridge state park.  Probably the most memorable moment was coming across a steep one lane wood bridge that climbed over a railroad track on our way to the hotel.  It was dark, we driving through a residential neighborhood, and bang there it was.

Finally, do you see the pink roses in the first photo?  I'm very proud of them.  Twice this year I have saved them from sawfly larvae, and I have even watered them and given them compost.  In return, they make flowers.

Monday, August 26, 2013


My readers have been sitting on pins and needles awaiting news of the Men's church league division A (that's the top, you know) championship of Champaign-Urbana.  We got off to a small early lead and kept it through the end, winning 9-5.  Another pull-over championship windbreaker is on the way (but not the B league version this time.  A all the way)!  Our defense was superb throughout the playoffs, and we used banjo hitting throughout the lineup to score runs.  Case in point was me:  I got either 3 or 4 hits in each of the playoff games, with nearly all of them being singles.
 Janny has crushed another milestone.  She can ride that there tricycle all by herself.  She also figured out that by whining about being hungry at bed time, she can stay up later.  We're actively working against this trend.  Initially, we only offered leftovers from the healthy parts of dinner.  Now we are pushing much harder on eating bigger dinners and having snacks an hour before bedtime.  Honestly, we're losing.  But we keep trying!
 Clara starts another year of preschool tomorrow.  She'll again be in the Tues / Thurs class at our neighborhood Lutheran church.  She is super excited about going again, but already this morning expressed concern about waking up before 8am to get ready for school.  Kids these days have it rough!

It hasn't rained much this month and the hot weather is returning, so we're playing in the sprinkler.  Last night, I started watering our garden and got distracted with bicycle assembly (maybe more on that next time).  I did remember first thing when I woke up this morning.  The plants seem to have enjoyed the long bath.
Last weekend was our ride around Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin trip.  We stayed at Jessie's family's cabin on the east side of the lake and enjoyed a fabulous sunset on Saturday night with Jarrod, Jessie, Jim, and Beth, and the kids.

The night itself was short-lived as we woke up at 4am to get ready for the 90 mile ride.  Jill and I rode mostly alone, but occasionally we would pick up someone that enjoyed our draft for a while.  The ride itself was quite nice, as there was a nice mix of very rural roads, small towns (Oshkosh!), and lake views.  The trouble was that often I just wanted to be done so that we could start the 5.5 hour drive home (plus N rest stops for the girls) and get some sleep before work on Monday morning.  Note to self:  if there is a next time, take Monday off.

We finished the ride in a clock time of 5:50.  Not too bad!  Jill hasn't ridden any long rides this year, but she is in solid 'boot-camp' shape.  We arrived home at 10:45 pm.  Not bad.  By the following Saturday, I was feeling quite refreshed.
Jill's mom and dad are visiting this week.  Good times.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

hobby farming

Our long-term plan of becoming successful gardeners continues apace.  My pride and joy on the land are these black raspberry bushes.  Last year, we had about 5 berries due to some incorrect pruning and water shortages.  This year we probably had more than 100 from the south bush.  The north bush is producing a single berry this year, but is growing great.  I'm hoping for bushels next year.
 We have also enjoyed carrots and lots of greens (chard, spinach, lettuce, and such).  Tomatoes are growing well, and we harvested our first squash.  I planted some pole beans outside of the protected area, but the bunnies ate them.  Boo on them.

Rain has fallen from the sky this year.  We took a trip to Kickapoo recently to splash around in the river.  The kids didn't get much further from shore than shown below.  There is way more water flowing than last year
 I've decided to be less stingy with watering the grounds this year.  Also, water is super fun for the girls!  My water bill was a whopping $9 more last month as a result.
 We didn't plant too many flowers this year.  Thankfully some remain from the previous owners.  I've also started to care for our rose bush this year.  I noted that numerous holes were appearing in its leaves and found the tiny green worms that were responsible.  They were then squished.

Speaking of squishing, both girls are quite successful lightning bug catchers.  Janny is quite rough on them (and all bugs in general).
 Janny is getting big, but not quite clothesline big.  Clara wears the above dress every day (in the last photo below, it is underneath the dress you can see).  Both girls are extremely picky about their clothes.  Jill used to picked stuff out and put it on them.  Now every single item is negotiated.  Somehow, we eventually do get out of the house.
 After planning to do so for more than a year, we finally got out to former co-worker David's bison farm near Villa Grove.  He has 20 something bison, 8 of which were born this spring.  Did you know that bison are pretty smart and independent?  Birthing is handled without human help.  David feeds them some grain pellets every few days, but mostly they wander the pastures eating the grass.  What a beautiful place to spend the weekend!  Smartly, we stayed only for an hour, so we didn't have to put in any work.
Finally, there was nothing to worry about regarding the softball team's hitting.  We won our first two playoff games rather handily against two of Vineyard's finest, included the dreaded Black.  The championship game  is Monday night where we face mighty Savoy United Methodist.  Television rights are being negotiated.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

4th in Nashville

We spent our long 4th of July weekend with Jill's family in Nashville, or a good chunk of it anyway.  If you ask the machine for trip duration, it says something like 6 hours from Urbana to Nashville.  For us, it was more like 10, which is why I say only a chunk of our time was actually in Nashville.  The girls passed the time watching movies, napping (just a tiny bit), and eating Skittles.  Clara shared a few of her sour skittles (yellow only), which cousin Josh has been talking up for 2 years.  He's right, they are super good.

One reason the trip took so long is a huge positive.  Janny is now pretty well potty trained!  We had no accidents during the drive.  She has spent a couple of nights in undies without problem.  Hooray!

It rained most of the time down there, but we managed to find a few breaks between the torrents to play outside.  Matt and Lupita have a trampoline.  Fun for the whole family.  They also now have 3 chickens in their backyard, and are enjoying them so far.  We also can have a few chickens in our backyard, but I'll wait for the 1 year review from them before even considering it.
Lots of rain meant that there was lots of time for stories with Grandpa.  But running around the house and playing dress up were more common.  All the kids got fun toys called hex bugs to play with.  They chew through batteries like you wouldn't believe (or is that just because our kids leave them running all the time?), but are quite cool.  They run around just like the roaches on the U of I campus.
The local reservoir had a whole lot more water than the last time we were there.  A couple places along the path were flooded out, much to the delight of the kids.  We also learned that wet plastic slides are super fast through the bottom (literally).
Oh yeah, and the main reason we took the trip was to meet baby Linda!  She and Lupita are in good health.  She does what all strong one month-olds do-- not much. 
Clara and Janny were both intrigued by their new cousin.  Janny's first comment about Linda was that she didn't like her, but she warmed up to the new tiny person.
And now for the quick recap of other recent events. 

Andy Cline and family stayed with us for a day during the cross country tour.  I might have some pictures to post next time (not sure we took any photos, boo us).

The softball regular season ended with our record at 5-5.  Our hitting is hugely erratic.  In recent games we scored 24,13, and 4 runs.  I'm sure that trend doesn't mean anything.  Playoffs start on Monday.

I had my 6 month review at work.  They are keeping me around (and increasing my pay a skosh).  And I am staying.

We got reimbursed for our dentist appointments of 9 months ago this week.  In an effort to discourage such late payouts, our state passed a law requiring it to pay something like 5% interest on late payments (where does that extra money come from?).  IL-- we know money.

Jill is watching somewhere around a bazzillion kids this week.  Our two, neighbors' two, church friends' one spend a lot of time here.  Tomorrow, 3 additional kids come.  And she is still going to 5:30 am workout.  I can't say that I'm surprised she is sleeping while I'm writing this up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Milestones and such

Another milestone in the family life.  We cleaned their room this weekend!  Oh, and we removed the front jail bars from Janny's crib.  Now she can escape as needed-- not always a good thing, but it is working so far. 

Jill is also on sort of day 2 of trying to potty train Janny.  Today was quite unsuccessful.  At least before daddy's help just before bedtime.  Beginner's luck?  The impetus for the potty training push was a rather disgusting incident that Jill would rather not talk about.  Let's just say that a diaper and the pre-freedom crib were involved.
 Maybe in our next post, I'll show some pictures of our garden.  It's not Midwest Living quality (thanks for the subscription, great grandpa!), but we're getting better at it.  We've been eating various salad greens for a month now, but these are probably coming to an end.  Cherries were much reduced this year compared to last but they were delicious.  Black rasberries are ripening.  We had about 3 last year, and now we have maybe 100!  The girls ate some carrots last night.
Both girls are having fun with rhymes lately.  Sometimes proper english words are used, sometimes they are made up.  My favorite is window-pindow (p is a good default when trying to find a rhyme).

We had our company picnic on Sunday at Allerton Park.  The whole family enjoyed some corndogs, shaved ice, popcorn, and funnel cakes (I ate about 1/3 of one before wisely calling it quits).  A fancier dinner was served later, but we needed to get home for our summer Bible study.  Other highlights included live music, bouncy houses, and mini-golf.  I'm a big fan of private industry!  I didn't get a chance to meet Stephen.  Maybe next time.

I joined the Wildcard Wed night ride for the first time in ages last week.  It was pretty close to a no-drop ride, but still fast enough for me to feel some pain.  One thing I had forgotten was to never take a hard pull just before Dave Stone takes his.  I barely hung on a for a few of the surges.  Since I missed our local crits this year, I'm hoping to do the local cx race.  Must train harder!

The softball regular season is winding down.  If tonight's game counted (we were up 22-6 in the bottom of the 4th when a lightning storm hit), our record is a comfortable 4-4.  My hitting is coming around after a bad stretch before vacation.  I have yet to rip one down the right field line, but that's partly due to pitchers trying to work the outside corner on me (or just happen to toss them there).

Finally, I am getting frustrated with my run of broken bike parts lately.  Granted, nearly of this stuff was used when I bought it.  And most of it is around 10-20 years old.    That said, I have broken
2 saddles (plastic bases cracked)
seat post (dented carbon fiber at clamp)
crank arm (TA pro vis at left axle)
pedals (bushing worn out... Request to all pedal makers:  use real bearings please)
bottom bracket -- clicking that won't go away
left down tube shifter (corroded so as to not really move)
water bottle cage (today at work)
Both of my good bikes are making difficult to diagnose, somewhat random clicks right now.  I think the issue with the Look is the really poorly designed seat tube cluster.  Maybe the problem on the Boulder are the spd pedals.  Nothing big, but I am easily driven nuts by creaking/clicking noises on my bikes.  My rides are needed to clear my mind and relax.  Random noises make me want to grind my teeth (not quite like Tyler back in the day). 

By the way, ever since Lance confessed, I find my interest in pro cycling ever more reduced.  Maybe it's because the mystery of doping is _REALLY_ gone now?  Maybe because no pro has an interesting back story.  Maybe because my commitment to training is waning.  Or maybe I'm just getting old and my kids are crushing these parts of my old life into exhaustion.

Whatever the case, I'm still a happy guy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

CA summer vacation

Just about a week ago, we returned from our summer CA adventure.  But it wasn't just our family that took the trip -- the Halls and Aunt Jan took their first trip out to the Bay Area.  9 additional people took residence at my parents' house plus RV parked in the driveway.  The girls greatly enjoyed sleeping in the RV (or Bounder, truck, etc.).

We tried to hit all of the big highlights of the Bay Area for our visitors.  Our itinerary looked like this:
Fri:  get to Fremont at 12:30am local (technically, Saturday).
Sat:  rest and play in the pool (brrr... cold spring in CA this year).
Sun:  church and play in the pool.  I rode Dad's bike up to near the top of Mission Peak.
Mon:  Monterey aquarium (Halls do a whale watching cruise (cold and pitch and rolly))
Tues:  Big Basin to see ginormous Redwood trees
Wed:  SF Giants baseball game (sorry to the A's.  They were out of town most of the week.  And their stadium is lousy now.).
Thur:  Mission Peak hike, with girls.  This was a mistake.  As expected, we had to carry the girls most of the 6 miles.  Unexpectedly, they wanted to play in the dirt or have specific adults carry them.  And their attitudes were poor.  (Upon reflection, this should have been expected)
Fri:  Santa Cruz beach (brrrr.  People often ask if I spent a lot of time at the beach as a kid.  No, for a few reasons:  water is freezing cold, sunburn is ouchy, and the drive to get there is rather sketchy with super curvy roads with much traffic).
Sat:  We stay in Fremont, taking the kids to Lake Elizabeth.  The Halls take a tour of SF.
Sun:  church and big dinner party.  High school friend Emily and her family of 5 along with adopt-a-student Shu joined us plus Lisa's family.  
Mon:  back to IL.

How did we do?  It would have been nice to hit Berkeley or some of the north bay sites (Napa or Point Reyes).  We did quite a bit of driving as it was, so no regrets.

Neither Jill or I have been wanting to take many photos lately.  We did put in some effort on the Big Basin trip.  The massive trees make for some fun backgrounds.  And for some inspiration of awe. 

 Plenty of room inside the biggest of the big trees.
Plenty of room on the 2nd bed in the RV for the girls.  We're thinking about setting up the queen size bed in the kids' room for both kids when Janny outgrows her crib.  We'll put a pool noodle in the middle to maintain sides (and peace).  Will they like it?

On both Sundays we visited the church my sister's family attends.  I have some reservations about attending churches with names like "Resonate" (in Champaign there is something called "Quest".  There is also a "Crusaders" church that still frightens me).  At 9 am on a beautiful sunny day, we walked into the "sanctuary" which looked like what I imagine night clubs are like.  The music was horribly loud.  I was stupified.  Then the pastor started to speak, and I was very impressed.  Either my ears adjusted, or the music wasn't quite as loud the next week.  In conclusion, we were very impressed with the church.  We have no plans to change churches here in Urbana.

Finally, apologies for taking so long to write this (and to write the blog in general).  I've been spending my free evenings watching the NBA playoffs.  The games lately have been amazing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the grand and the gross

I know that when a kid is doing something gross, it's best to not make a big deal of it.  But the younger goes too far sometimes.  We attended the end of year middle school orchestra performance recently (with neighbor Rachel on viola).  The seats were of the fold up sort with chewed gum stuck in various places on the now-seat-back in front of us.  Janny reached out to touch the most colorful pieces.  Janny tried to scrape a piece off.  I could not keep my cool face nor pay attention to the music.  We fled to the hallway.

A few days later, Clara had a mini potty accident on our patio.  I sprayed the puddle to dilute it some.  Janny put her hand in the puddle and drank some .  That's gross.

On the brighter side, when mommy makes a particularly good meal (waffles for dinner or hamburgers), the kids say, "Thanks mom!  This is yummy!" with gusto.  It melts the heart, I tell you.

Returning to the theme of messes, this is what our table typically looks like after a meal.  Why are there cut-up bananas scattered throughout the table and a pile of rice not on a plate?  Why are there so many plates and bowls?  Not shown is the pile of food on the floor.
The kids definitely aren't troubled by the mess.  Mommy remains unfazed by the extra work.  I should add that Jill is less fazed than ever now, and she attributes this in part to her exercise at 5:30 am class.  She does "boot camp" for an hour and then hangs out in the coffee shop before returning home to feed and clothe and whack the kids.
Fort, house, and beach making with all of the pillows in our family room is a big hit right now.
We celebrated Memorial day with a visit to our state's capital.  Hint:  it's not Chicago.  It turns out that Mondays are the best day to visit the city as many smaller museums (like the Frank Lloyd Wright house) are closed.  What wasn't closed?  Our state legislature.  We popped in to listen to a debate about pet warranties which was not of general interest.  What was interesting was the chaos on the floor.  About 3 persons were listening to the debate, with the remaining 50 or so talking in groups of 2 or 3 or working on their lap tops.  It was dizzying at first, but I quickly got into to it.  Anybody need a lobbyist?  I've already got a suit that fits so-so and will work on growing my goatee and styling my hair asap.

The capital building was just fabulous.  Marble everywhere with a really cool domed ceiling.  We rode the elevator and walked some stairs.  Even the lovely buildings at our fine local University pale in comparison.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Faithful readers, it seems that the wave of pestilence is starting to recede.  The first blows (literally) came at approximately 2 am on Sunday, April 21.  Clara threw up 3 times in the middle of the night and continued vomiting for about 2 days.  During this time, Janny had a runny nose.  Then Clara had diarrhea, and Janny got the stomach bug (thankfully for only 1 day), followed by diarrhea.  Then they both got coughs and now Clara has an ear infection.

The stomach bug afflicted me with coming out both ends syndrome on Thursday night.  This was the third time I've been sick since fall, and all 3 rank among the worst I've ever felt.  On the bright side, during the most recent episode I made some strides in my vomiting technique.  In the fall, I feared that my stomach was getting ripped in half.  This time, I was able to relax and let the goods flow.

Jill escaped this round with tummy uneasiness (that and taking care of the rest of us).
While carrying Janny recently, I realized that she is now the size that I picture Clara being.  Yikes.  They're growing (with the mandatory aside that they are both still quite small for their ages, and yes we work super hard to get them to eat more and better food but all Janny ever wants to eat is Nutella...).

 What a wet April!  We celebrated the rain by stomping and splashing in our backyard puddles and rainfall-filled pool.  We are very pleased to not have a basement.
Our basketball team beat the undefeated 1st place team in the semi-finals!  Our superstar Bryan hit a 3 with five seconds  left to give us the lead.  I haven't felt so proud of a sports accomplishment in a long time (What's that?  Oh, sure I'll tell you the last time.  I won a bike race once).  We worked super hard and wore down the other guys.  Unfortunately, we had very little left for the championship game an hour later.  We couldn't handle the full-court pressure (punk college kids never get tired) and wide big guys of the champs.