More on this later, but the girls and I went to River Bend Nature Center today for their annual Halloween event. Facepaining was one of the many activities. By coincidence, both girls wound up as kitties. First, Vivi revved up by the experience:
It went pretty well, the 0.5 part of the 2.5 days on my own with girls. Tomorrow, not being punctuated by preschool and the drive to and from the airport, will be more interesting than was today, but Julia did have a few good lines this afternoon:
Me: “You guys are awfully cute.”
Julia: “Aren’t we, though? Aren’t we, though?”
Me: “The Halloween nature walk tomorrow is a dress-up thing: you guys can wear costumes if you want.”
Julia: “No, that’s okay. I’ll just pretend to be fancy in my normal clothes. Or a witch.”
Stay tuned to see just how she pulls off the fancy-or-a-witch look in her usual (75% pink) attire.
Finally! Should I get my skis ready?
I love this little bit of Tim Krabbé’s fantastic bike-racing novella, The Rider: Absurdist advice is the best kind of advice.
(Free trivia: Krabbé and I share a birthdate, thirty years apart.)
From electoral-vote.com this morning, a little eye-opener:
“RNC Paid for $150,000 for Palin’s Clothes”
Politico went through the financial report the RNC just filed with the FEC and discovered that the Republican National Committee has spent $150,000 for clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin since she was tapped for the VP slot in late August. One shopping trip to Neiman Marcus cost them $75,062.63, for example. They also spent over $4700 on her hair and makeup. Remember how the Republicans howled at John Edwards $400 haircut (which included a house call by the barber)? Google for: Edwards “$400 haircut” and you’ll get 27,000 hits. That was major news for a week. That aside, a far more damaging effect of this revelation is that Palin keeps saying she is just an ordinary small-town hockey mom. It is likely that if Joe-the-plumber’s wife were to rack up $150,000 in clothing expenses in a single month, Joe might ask how she was planning to pay the credit card bill since the median annual salary for plumbers is $37,514. Palin is already being ridiculed all over the place, and this provides more fodder for the comics.
The girls have, for a few months now, been playing a bizarre game called, “Note-nen, Bee-sa, Menny.” Vivi so loves this “game” that she often starts requesting it as they march up the steps after dinner. It’s simple and – did I mention? – bizarre: they sit sideways, next to each other, with their backs against one wall, feet against other wall, and knees bent. Then they loudly chant, “Note-nen… bee-sa… menny!” and, on the last word, abruptly straighten their legs, creating a huge splash and a great deal of laughter. Then they repeat the game again and again, faster and louder each time.
This article, “Growing Doubts About McCain’s Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct,” from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press is full of interesting and – if you’re a Democrat – good news about Obama’s improving chances in November. As my astute friend Matt pointed out, one interesting datum is that the number of undecided voters is remaining more or less level, while the number of McCain voters is shrinking, presumably as many flee the GOP ticket for, you know, people who know what they’re doing.
Call ’em Obama Republicans: “Impressed by young go-getters with excellent educations, good family values, and the genius to know when to bring in the experts? Us, too. That’s why we’re voting Obama ’08.”
On Friday, Shannon was elated to receive our copy of the fall issue of the Macalester Today, which includes her lovely essay, “Mama, PhD.” Apparently the alma mater doesn’t have enough dough to put the magazine’s contents online, so we put up a scan of her essay. I hope you like it as much as I, a wholly unbiased reader, do – and maybe join me in congratulating her on the accomplishment!
Having had quite a bit of fun on our this autumn’s two previous farm outings (alpacas and pumpkins, you’ll recall), today we went to a lovely little farm on the western edge of town for more of the same. We were joined there by a family with girls the same age as ours, and proceeded to have a ridiculous amount of fun. A sandbox filled six inches deep with corn kernels! Gourd sculptures! A “hayride” that was actually a long wagon-borne tour of the farm! Cows! Gorgeous autumn colors everywhere! Suffusingly warm sunshine! A haybale maze that was also an excellent climbing/balancing thingy!
In short, it was a fantastic time.
The four of us were in the kitchen this morning, attending to various needs (parents: coffee; children: coloring), while NPR ran a fair-and-balanced review of the presidential candidates’ weekend activites. Julia recognized Barack Obama’s voice, how he was one of the men who wanted to be president, and how Mama and Daddy wanted him to be president.
Then NPR ran a sound bite of a John McCain speech, leading Julia to ask about him. I told her his name and tried to explain that he also wanted to be president, that both of them really wanted to be the next president. She interrupted her coloring to look up at me and ask, “How are they going to work that out?”
Bad news: some Ohioans are as crazy and stupid as some Minnesotans:
Good news: “Barack Obama is $#@!ing Hilarious”
This clip is 10 minutes long, but watch every second: Obama kills – and not in the way those morons in Ohio (or any of the other 49 states) would think.
(Content expropriated from Talking Points Memo.)
A few weeks ago, I worked on a proposal for a faculty study trip to the South Pacific, including this amazing island, Rarotonga, the biggest of the Cook Islands. In looking up various facts for the proposal, I came across this beautiful shot from Google Maps. Amazing. (Click through to explore the island.)
Today, in my new role as the coordinator of Carleton’s part of Northfield’s (and the country’s) United Way campaign (“Live United”), I schlepped all over campus to deliver more than a thousand pledge packets to every last employee – or actually, to the diligent volunteers who will get the packets to the actual employees.
Though this task took the better part of the day, and proved that those plastic USPS mail trays are meant to sit on carts, not to be carried around, it was actually a fun job. I probably met 20 people whom I didn’t know, explored some of the campus’ interesting corners (or non-corners: Goodsell Observatory is a very cool, very round building), and felt like I was contributing in some small, stair-climbing way to the campus campaign
I also witnessed the raging insanity of Family Weekend. What a madhouse. Current students with their parents, prospective students with their parents, (probably) prospective parents with their prospective students. Campus maps on a third of the eye-level vertical surfaces. Free food everywhere, much of it being consumed by tired-looking adults standing in the middle of the sidewalk. Audiae, Mercedeses, Acurae, and Lexuses crowding the streets. Young kids trailing after mom, dad, and the big sibling, taking advantage of the others’ distraction to help themselves to that free food. (Caramel-covered apple slices and ice cream!) Grown men and women attired unflatteringly like their children. Kids attired flatteringly like their parents. Britney Spears songs blasting from speakers in front of the campus center. The pleasing smell and sigh of damp leaves. Grown-ups standing perfectly still except for their swiveling heads, trying to figure out where the hell they were. Endless Carleton swag flying out of the bookstore. A lot of people looking pretty happy with the whole situation, and with the college.
An old friend delurked today to fill me in on her life since the last time I talked to her; among other interesting features, this life includes finishing three marathons. *sigh*
I can’t run that far once, much less three times (gawd, I hope she hasn’t run all three this year – or this summer!), but I can offer a slideshow of the scenery in the Carleton Arb last weekend. Tell you what: ambling through this sort of beauty makes the ambling a lot easier.
Gotcha. I’ll stop instant-messaging with friends about your legacy after 2016. I may have been slightly ahead of myself.
With their final debate behind them, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain began the final 19-day sprint to Election Day on Thursday, with Mr. Obama admonishing supporters to avoid growing complacent about the Democratic effort to win the White House and its recent gains in opinion polls.