Forecast: Significant blowing and drifting, with the possibility of heavy accumulation in rural areas.
I'm up way too late, having gotten happily mixed up in some heavy-duty website revisions (see the new Tassava.com home page). A minute ago, I looked away from the computer monitor and noted that it was inordinately bright outside. When I went closer to the window, I could see that the nearly-full moon was illuminating the cloud cover, making the sky glow a deep but unmistakable blue.
We don't get the midnight sun here in Northfield, but this is not a bad substitute.
Taking advantage of the unusual trifecta of early bedtimes for both girls, great weather, and a little bit of energy in my legs, I took to the roads for my longest rollerski of the summer so far - 80 minutes, covering 14.23 miles (22.91 km) at a pace of 10.59mph.
It was not a great workout, but it was fun, and it gives me the pretext to respond to a recent blog post by my friend Matt, newly bitten by the triathlon bug, about his motivation for getting back into the fitness swing of things. With high school cross-country and track in our distant pasts and young daughters at home, we have some things in common, and we have some according overlap in our reasons for trying to get back into shape. The main thing that, as Matt might say, gets my arse outside to work out on a daily basis is just seeing my mileage and time pile up. It's a shallow impulse, but one that works quite well. I know that if I run or rollerski for an hour that I'll be able to book another 5 or 10 miles (respectively - even more when I count kilometers!) in my log. I'm also hoping that putting in some time now will mean that, when family schedules change a bit, I can run a long race or, even better, ski one. The Mora Vasaloppet is a near-term goal.
Slightly deeper, as motivations go, is the desire to be out in something like nature for a while. Until they hook me up with a MacBook at work, I have to stay pretty much in my office all day long. Getting out at night or on weekends to pound through the Arb or grunt up the rural hills is a refreshing change of scenery. Somewhere between the shallow and the sublime are the physical outcomes: it's nice not to be achy and tired after a day sitting at a desk (or rather, to be achy from a run, not from sitting down), and it's nice to feel my bike commute getting easier and easier from week to week as I get into shape.
Finally, it is very nice to think - okay, hope, right now - that when Julia sees me come back from a rollerski or hears Shannon and me talk about our runs, she (and eventually in her sister) is acquiring a sense that being active is a normal, fun part of life, on a par with eating good things and reading books and having parties - and of course, sleeping.
Over at her blog, cross-country ski racer Laura Valaas recently posted a couple pictures of her new training grounds in Anchorage, Alaska, and asked rhetorically, "Can you even imagine a more enticing little trail to have at the end of your driveway?"
While her two shots did, indeed, show some enticing terrain, I can imagine some pretty enticing trails down here in the Lower 48.
And here is the 80-meter-long climb at the end of my favorite and most frequent run in the Upper Arb, at the northeast corner of the Alumni Field. At the top, it's a right turn onto a nice smooth downhill almost all the way home.
Driving to her swim class this evening, Julia told me, "I'm making 1s and Js." At a stop sign, I turned around to see what she meant, and all she was doing was holding her face blank and blinking in a very exaggerated way - two fast blinks, a slow one, another slow one, three fast ones. "What do you mean, honey? I don't understand," I said. She just kept doing this blinking thing, and as I drove on, she repeated herself: "I'm making 1s and Js wif my eyes."
This goes right to the top of my list of "Weird Stuff My Kids Have Said."
We had a lovely weekend, the high point being time spent with some friends - and their kids! - who were willing to come down to the exurbs for an afternoon. Good food and drink (especially drink) was had, laughs were laughed, the kids frolicked in whatever ways they could, a young mourning dove landed in Julia's sandbox. The usual, in other words.
If my weekend started with the bang of the great Bad Plus concert, it ended with the bang of a big Julian meltdown. Precipitated initially by her wasting the time needed to sing her usual songs with Mama, it went on for about half an hour (I know, not long in the grand scheme of things, or in her recent history) and included such lowlights as my scooping her up and madly sprinting past the room where Gigi was sleeping; roughly a zillion restatements of the fact that no, we weren't going to sing even one song; several bouts of vein-popping screaming by Julia; her tearing my shirt as she tried to pry me away from the door; her wiping her snotty nose on that shirt because there was no way in hell I was opening the door to get a mere Kleenex; and finally, a long wind-down that was cute, and a little bit psychotic.
First, she interrupted a massive crying fit by snatching a book from her shelf and going to her bed, announcing, "I need some quiet time to get myself under control." That lasted for about ten seconds, until I reiterated that even if she did get herself "under control," we still weren't singing songs. More weeping and a wordless collapse into my arms. She slowly calmed down, then suddenly sat up on my lap and said through her gasps, "But. That. Sign. Says. I. Get. Two. Songs." I was mystified, so I asked, trying not to laugh, "What sign, honey?" She pointed at a big decoration on her wall and repeated her gasping interpretation. I said, "No, honey, it actually says, 'Twinkle twinkle little star.' And we're not singing any songs." She leapt up, about to burst into tears again, but chose instead to sit down, grab a nearby book (a Christmas book she loves), and say, pathetically, "I will just read *gasp* dis book and den I will *gasp* be calmer and den I will *gasp* feel happy again." Here, I started to sniffle: that's a dagger in the heart. After a moment's silence, she decided instead to get in bed, where I read her a couple "poems" in a kid's magazine (she calls everything in the magazine a "poem," even the recipes that she loves most). When we finished, I reminded her that she had to apologize to Mama in the morning. She nodded and turned to me, saying earnestly, "I'm very sorry, Daddy." She gave me two kisses and a hug, then rolled over to go to sleep.
Downstairs, we listened over the baby monitor as she sang at least two dozen songs at the top of her lungs. She loves getting the last word.
I love the Flatiron Building at 5th and Broadway in New York: it's a brilliant and beautiful. I took this picture on a long walk in Manhattan last June; I walked a couple miles out of my way to see the building.
Kottke recently linked to a high-resolution picture of the building in 1910, when it was only eight years old. It's an engrossing photo with enough detail for a million questions. What did the advertised cigars cost? What's that guy with the ladder doing, just right of the building's prow?
With the gas tank under a quarter full, Shannon had to fill up today. In adding the charge into our checkbook, I looked for the last fill up, which turned out to be May 29 - twenty-six days ago. That's life in a small town: I've biked probably 90% of the workdays since that last fill up, and almost every place worth going is less than ten minutes away. Those Prius owners can enjoy their "mileage video games"; I'm going to see if we can delay our next fill up to August.
The Carleton Concert Hall was jammed - a few seats short of SRO, but no doubt a sellout - for the Bad Plus show last night, and the boys didn't disappoint, playing a long set that featured new and old, soft and loud, slow and fast, originals and covers. Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, and Dave King were tight throughout, and the show really highlighted the interplay between Anderson on the bass and King on the drums.
The concert opened with a short but entertaining set by Forró for All, a six-piece band, led by New Yorker Rob Curto, that played forró, a genre of dance music from northeastern Brazil. The music, which you can sample on the website, was propulsive and fun, featuring a talented singer whose voice was often lost in the mix, two percussionists who used the usual kit plus triangles and an interesting Brazilian instrument halfway between a tambourine and a snare-drum head, and Curto's amazing accordion playing. He was spectacularly fast and precise, the true leader of the band.
The Bad Plus came on quietly, opening with a new song called "People Like You" by Reid Anderson. Like many of Anderson's compositions, the song started slowly but, in patented TBP fashion, built to a big climax and then faded back away. It was a good way to kick off the show, and a good segue to the second tune, "Blue Candy," a Dave King song that focused initially on his heavy drumming. and Anderson's thrumming on the bass. With Iverson playing a simple piano figure, the song acquired a tension that did not so much break as dissipate into dissonance created by King scratching his cymbal with a drumstick.
After these two great new songs, the band launched into one of its greats, "Big Eater," off These Are the Vistas. Iverson rejuvenated the song with a new piano line, one which drew the song to a tumultuous conclusion quite different from the two preceding songs' ends. After that high point, the band continued with "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," their meditative or even tragic version of the Tears for Fears song. The tune pivoted on the misfit between Iverson's sure restatement of the melody on the piano and King's quicker drumming, then ended with a beautiful bass line.
With one of the obligatory covers out of the way, the band played two new Iverson compositions. "Who's He?" featured a wondrous piano part and, at the end, a big bass drum solo which lent the song the feel of "Physical Cities," the best song on the new album. The second Iverson song, "Old Money," was, he claimed, set in Duluth - a town from which apparently no members of the audience came, eliciting a bemused, "Okay then" from Iverson. The song itself was a study in tempo changes and offered each player a spot in the foreground. Iverson played some marvelous notes at the right end of the keyboard, and then Anderson did some truly incredible stuff with his bass. King's smashmouth drumming is best in concentrated doses, but I could listen to Anderson play all night.
The seventh song was another King tune, a new one called "My Friend Metatron," about an evil-fighting archangel. Or robot, judging by the thudding rhythm provided by Anderson and especially the grinning King. Iverson played a strange but interesting piano line that seemed predicated on stutters and staccato. With more polish, all three of these new songs (and the two at the start of the set) will be great on the next TBP album.
After that, the band switched gears and played five straight songs from the new album. Anderson's "Giant" started with a phenomenal bass part that seemed to go as deep as the instrument could possibly allow. Anderson's playing was wonderfully prominent throughout, but Iverson's careful keyboard work and King's more subtle drumming propelled everyone to the top of the song, where the muscular playing was barely kept in control. It was a beautiful display of Anderson's composing and playing skills.
"Giant" seemed like the high point of the concert, and afterwards the group recovered with some less challenging fare. The next song, "1980 World Champion," is the latest in King's songs about a hard-working ski jumper named Jimmy Carter. It's a good song, fun to see played, just like the next song, the band's cover of David Bowie's "Life on Mars." Their fine rendition which imbued the song with great uneasiness and ended with the drums threatening to crash through.
This perfectly prefigured the last song of the regular set, Anderson's masterpiece "Physical Cities," which was immediately obvious as the real climax of the evening. The trio expertly exploited the tune's cyclical structure, using Iverson's climbing figure to create great tension before finding cacophonous release in a series of enormous drum-bass breaks that required insanely tight playing between Anderson and King. "Physical Cities" is a great album track, and it was stupendous live. What can verge on merely repetitive when coming out of the stereo is energizing and searching when flowing off the stage. The demolition-site finish was perfect for both the song and the concert. (The obligatory encore was "Tom Sawyer," a decent rock song that is a decent jazz song but not nearly so strong as "Physical Cities" or the other new tunes.)
All in all, it was an excellent time. Kudos to Northfield's ArtOrg for arranging it, and to the band for playing a hell of a good show.
Today's was bad weather: a cool sauna.
I jogged through the misty evening last night for about an hour, getting very wet from the fog, rain, and tree-dripping but having a pretty good time. An hour's not a bad length of time to work out, really. By October or so, I hope I can get up to about two hours of running or, more likely, rollerskiing, though in the fall the limitation isn't fitness so much as daylight.
And but so, my sense of accomplishment was immediately diminished to baby-frog size by reading about some recent workouts by Kris Freeman, the top U.S. cross-country skier. In building up his capacity, Freeman is doing some "mega overdistance" workouts, such as a 200 mile bike ride that took ten and a half hours. Such a workout sounds both appalling and attractive - the former because my god, that's gotta hurt; the latter because my god, you could eat anything.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about the giant toad that was lurking outside our back door. Sunday, after a big overnight rainstorm, and again today, after another, we are suddenly under amphibian assault by hundreds of teensy-tiny frogs, no bigger than pencil erasers, clearly just hatched and on the move. This morning, there were literally dozens just outside the garage door, waiting to come on in. Some found their ways into the house, under the storm door or patio screen. On the way back from my run, I couldn't help but squash a few underfoot, they were still so numerous on the sidewalk along the pond.
It all sounds rather disturbing, and certainly is so to Shannon, but come on - aren't they kinda cute?
I read and admire Laid-Off Dad, a blog which features some of the best writing I've seen on the web, and no shortage of smart and funny parenting anecdotes. In today's post on a fun day with his two boys he links to a fantastic photograph that simply must be seen to be believed.
I was up at Macalester College today for a meeting, and I marveled again at the rebirth of the alma mater. Over the 12 years since graduation, at least a half-dozen buildings have been substantially renovated or built from scratch, including the now several-years-old campus center, which is as plush and comfy as a good hotel. Well, maybe not that nice, but 2007 to the old student union's 1967. Even shoddy old Turck Hall has been revitalized; no word on what Fourth Turck is like these days.
Beyond being impressed by the fresh brick, shiny new windows, and lush landscaping, though, I was amazed at how small the campus feels. Carleton's isn't by any means a sprawling campus, but the Bald Spot seems like Central Park (New York's, not Northfield's) compared to the itsy-bitsy spot of grass framed by the chapel, the admin building, Old Main, and the new union.
More than all that, I was overwhelmed by a desire to bring the girls up to see campus, even if of course they would hardly care about it. Julia would like the new scenery, and the multicolored, kid-sized brontosaurus on Grand Avenue would be appealing to both of them. Perhaps some Saturday this summer...
Reassuring advice from a news update I get every day:
Quite a good Father's Day, frankly: playing in the sprinkler with Julia in the morning, opening gifts (including a mug with this photo on it!), a nice long workout while the girls napped, heading downtown for ice cream and some bookstore-browsing in the afternoon, lots of playtime with the girls before a delicious dinner, and a reasonably long evening. And while this doesn't sum up to a funny story like this one, I'm pretty happy with the day.
I just uploaded a few dozen new photos to Flickr, mostly from Julia's recent birthday.
The City of Northfield has begun a project to reconstruct Woodley Street, a main east-west route through the middle of town. Narrow, twisty, and lacking a shoulder, Woodley is also the only main route from our subdivision to town. When I have to bike along along Woodley, as I do every day I bike to work, I go as fast as I can until I can turn off onto another, safer road.
But improvements might be on the way. The city is soliciting public comments on the project, and here's mine:
I live a block off Woodley, near the eastern end of the construction zone, and I'm very excited by the plans for and goals of the project. My excitement stems from three sources.
First and perhaps foremost, improved biking/walking paths along Woodley will help knit my subdivision into the rest of the city. Right now, it's difficult and dangerous to get from our neighborhood into the rest of the city (i.e., west of Prairie) except by car. By providing easy and safe ways to walk and bike to the rest of town, the project will dramatically improve the livability of the subdivision.
Second, and relatedly, improving the bike access along Woodley will improve the commuting situation. I presently bike to work at Carleton, and the few hundred yards between Prairie and Heywood is always dicey, with those curves, bad road surfaces, poor shoulders, and speeding SUVs. Better bike connections to the city grid will thus make bike commuting more feasible for everyone in my subdivision - and feed into the city's (and citizenry's) interest in more sustainable development of the town.
Finally, and to continue in this vein, improving the stretch of Woodley east of Prairie will be a boon to the many bikers, runners, walkers, and rollerskiers who use the Woodley St.-Kane Ave.-Wall St. loop for training. Looking out my back window on any decent day, I don't have to wait more than five minutes before seeing another person (or a group) go by on a workout. I can easily foresee heavier use of this loop if and when it's not so hazardous to get out to and then past the heaviest development, that of the area just east of the golf course along Woodley. Who knows but that the "Wind Turbine Loop" couldn't become a major destination for aerobic athletes?
In sum, I applaud the city's plans and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition. I will eagerly participate in additional citizen-centered planning.
In addition to the progressive health care, the excellent environment, the humane social policies, the cool flags, and the fantastic sporting culture, Scandinavia has good June weather:
We're just back from the annual Justin Roberts concert sponsored by the Northfield Public Library. As it was last year, the show was excellent. Genevieve had a good time, despite being up one and then two and then nearly three hours past her bedtime: she spent a good chunk of time singing along with the other kids. Well, inasmuch as "Rahr rahr rahr rahr" is singing. Julia went right up front to sing and dance with the other kids, and spent a good fifteen minutes dancing maniacally. She was more subdued for the rest of the concert, but still sang along and was happy to see her friends. The whole freaking town was there.
And "Robbie" himself: what a showman. Almost all of his songs have associated gestures or movements or other ways for the kids to participate, and boy, do they. He even updated one of his best songs, about the nine planets, to reflect current astronomical knowledge. "Oh yes there's eight, eight, say it one more time..."
With the kids' music out of the way we can turn to the music for the grownups: the Bad Plus show on Friday, June 22. Campus - though empty of students - is well covered with posters for the show, and tickets are finally available at the Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse downtown. The show is getting some good press, including a story on a jazz website , and the new disk, PROG, is garnering more good reviews. I can't wait. I won't be singing along, though.
It's the end of a subtly busy day. A long workshop this morning meant that my desk time was severely limited, engendering that sense of being just a tad behind. This afternoon, Minnesota Public Radio ran a story on my former employer; the reporter had interviewed me a few weeks ago and put a few scraps of what I said - though not my main point - into the story. So far, no flak, though I do look "devious," as a friend said, in my photo. Devious, or doped up on an extra-large iced coffee.
This evening, after a tumultuous few hours of wrestling with Genevieve (teething and overtired) and Julia (increasingly thrilled over and adept at her potty training), I went for a run in the Arb. Good weather, decent nutrition today, and energy from not having run yesterday turned it into my longest run since 1990, when I was running high school cross country. All told, it was 1:22 of constant motion over 13.5 km or 8.4 miles. I ran near a big deer, over a six-inch length of dried snakeskin, under a blue heron in flight, and through a dark grove of pine trees. I think my knees are going to hurt a bit tomorrow, but it was worth it.
Blowing & Drifting is almost a year old already, so in an attempt to get my archives in order, I've set up a "redirect" to send readers from the regular front page to the page for a specific month. (If you're seeing this on the website, as versus via an RSS reader, you should have /06-2007 showing up at the end of the URL.) On the first of each month, I'll update the URL and archive the previous month's material. This all should be invisible to the reader; if you have troubles, let me know. Troubles, I mean, relating to the blog.
Last week, anthropologists announced discovering chicken bones in Chile which may indicate that Polynesians made it to the Americas at least a hundred years before Columbus. This kind of story is interesting at one level, but annoying at another. The endless quest to figure out who "found" America first - the Vikings? the Chinese? the Welsh?- is ultimately rather trivial. The Vikings' settlement collapsed; the Chinese probably never actually got to America, and almost certainly never settled here; the Welsh just wanted to fish; and the now apparently the Polynesians might've dropped off some fowl. Learning that other civilizations made it to North and South America after the land bridge but before Columbus is useful in the sense that it's always useful, or at least interesting, to have a better sense of history.
But on the other hand, history isn't the study of what happened so much as it is the study of why things happened, and what effects they had. In this case, the Vikings, Chinese, Welsh, and Polynesians matter far less than the Europeans. Only with and after Cristobal Colon did a dynamic relationship between the Americas and Europe - and soon, those regions plus Africa and, indirectly, Asia - exist, and transform all those places and the peoples within them. About the best you can say is what the Times says: "we get to marvel yet again at the thought of how far the Polynesians traveled and how well they knew their world. As Cook put it, 'It is extraordinary that the same nation should have spread themselves over all the isles in this vast ocean.'”
With Carleton's graduation this weekend, the 2006-2007 academic year is well and truly over. With apologies to Don DeLillo:
The SUVs departed all afternoon, a long gleaming line that coursed out of campus. In single file they rolled under the college archway and moved away from the dormitories. The roofs of the SUVs were loaded down with carefully secured suitcases full of light and heavy clothing; with plastic bins of blankets, boots, and shoes, stationery and books, sheets, pillows, quilts; with rolled-up rugs and sleeping bags; with bicycles, skis, backpacks, flipflops and sandals, an occasional canoe. As the vehicles stopped and turned to head to the highway, students inside settled into the back seats, among the objects inside: the stereos, iPods, laptops; small refrigerators and microwaves; the cartons of CDs; the hairdryers and curling irons; the tennis rackets, soccer balls, hockey and lacrosse sticks, golf and ultimate frisbees; the controlled substances, the birth control pills and condoms; the junk food in half-empty bags--barbecue chips, nachos, mint-flavored Oreos, Tootie Fruities and Coco Roos, fruit snacks and cheese popcorn; the Charm Pops, the Andes mints.
The first thing Genevieve did today when I came home was raise her arms up, winglike, in the universal indication of needing to be picked up, and then plant a giant wet kiss on the tip of my nose.
Even dying can be fun, if you have a sense of humor about what to do with your estate:
Thanks to David Hildebrand '62, Carleton has a slush fund that's worth its salt. Hildebrand, a statistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania who died in 1999, had a lively sense of humor and a generous nature, which was the impetus for the David K. Hildebrand Endowed Fund for Ice and Snow Removal—a slush fund, literally. His family and friends, who created the fund, say that he was fond of wordplay and often composed limericks to include on his statistics exams.
If I'm ever rich enough to consider such a thing, I'm going to saddle Macalester (and maybe Carleton) with some sort of ridiculous endowment fund like this. Perhaps a nordic-ski grooming fund, with reports due to the stewardship office within five days of the end of any snowstorm with accumulations greater than 8 inches. Yeah, that's it.
By the time you read this, I'll probably have been struck by lightning four times, because I have been playing Mother Nature like a ukulele. Wednesday, it was windy but clear when I biked to work and when I biked home; around noon it blew and rained hard enough that the backyard grass was still soaked at dinnertime.
Thursday morning, I biked again, despite ominous predictions of "explosive weather" on the radio and Shannon's eye-rolling at my certainty that it'd all pan out. It was gusty all day, but Northfield saw no rain or other inclemency. The headwind on the way home was harsh, but that's the point of low gears.
Thursday evening, feelin' it, I went for a run. Within ten minutes of starting, I felt a few sprinkles, and from the ridge at the east edge of the Arb I could see heavy rain to the west and the north. But the clouds rotated right around me, and never did open up - until literally the second I stopped running at our doorstep, whereupon giant summer raindrops fell for about five minutes.
Five chances of getting soaked, five escapes. Like I said, I'm due for something bad on Friday!
Now that it's June, we can reasonably assume we won't get any snow. (60 years ago, living through a giant late-May storm, we might have been overconfident.) As such, NOAA has released snowfall maps, like this one for Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Just to do the math for you, 288 inches is 24 feet. Of snow. Much of that massive total came in one "snow event" in March, summarized on this map. Hancock, my hometown, is just north of the red-purple stripe running northeast up the Keweenaw Peninsula - right about where it says that 42 inches of snow fell in six days, and just north of a spot that received more than 60 inches! Five feet of snow in five days. As they say up there, "Holy wah."
This is where I think global warming is going to lead. Not just to higher average temperatures in every season, but toward more unpredictable weather: huge late-season snowfalls, unexpectedly early tornadoes, stronger and later hurricanes, and so forth. If we get a few May snowstorms here in the low-snow belt, I won't complain.
Jogging through the subdivision on my ways to and from the Arb for my real run this evening, I was struck suddenly by the number of houses with garages that contained two or more vehicles of the same mark - sometimes, even the same model. One garage - the one in which the owners often sit at a patio table, watching TV and smoking - contains two identical Toyota Avalons, one silver and one blue. Down and across the street is a house with two Saabs, a station wagon and a sporty sedan; next door is a place with a Chevy Silverado pickup and a Chevy Suburban SUV. There's a house with two BMWs (and a junky-looking Oldsmobile) and a house with two Grand Caravan minivans. And just off my running path is a house with a three-car garage so full of stuff that the three Chevy Trailblazers - an old one, a new regular-sized one, and a new extended one - have to sit on the driveway, along with one ancient golden retriever.
Bjarne Riis will disappear from official Tour de France publications. That's according to a report in The Guardian newspaper, where Tour organizer Christian Prudhomme said the Dane's name will not appear in official Tour record books following his recent confessions he used banned doping products to win the 1996 Tour. "Formally it's down to the (UCI) to disqualify him, but for us he can no longer be the winner and he has already been wiped from the road book [the official press guide] you will see at the start of the Tour," Prudhomme told reporter William Fotheringham. Riis became the first Tour winner to confess to using illegal performance-enhancing doping products. An existing eight-year statute of limitations will allow him to officially keep title, but Tour officials said they would not recognize the victory as legitimate. UCI officials publicly asked Riis to return the maillot jaune. In a May 25 press conference, Riis said: "My jersey is at home in a cardboard box. They are welcome to come and get it. I have my memories for myself."
This is Stalinist, and ridiculous. Riis won the Tour, but now, having admitted cheating, will be excised from its history, unlike other winners who probably doped but haven't admitted it - or can't: is anyone moving to strip the '98 Tour title from Marco Pantani, who was known to have doped and in fact died from a cocaine overdose?
Tonight, like most nights, Genevieve entertained herself in the bathtub by playing with a little red cup. Julia had, at the same age, loved the same cup, so it's a nice parallel. Tonight, though, Genevieve decided it would be fun to pretend to drink from it, so she held it up to her mouth and made her hilariously garbled, "Num num num" sound. I asked, "Can I have a drink, Gigi?" and immediately she held it up to my mouth, laughing at how silly that was. After a few minutes of this, Julia wandered into the bathroom, and Genevieve offered her a few sips; this got all the funnier when Julia made an exaggerated "sip sip sip" sound, playing right along. We called down to Mama, and when she came in, she was duly given a "yittle dwink" as well. This was the funniest of all, because Mama in the bathroom during a bath is nearly unprecedented, and giving her water? Forget about it.
In Northfield, the clouds are our mountains.
I'll have much more to say about the splendid birthday weekend tomorrow, after recovering a bit from that splendiferousness, but suffice now to say that any weekend is a good weekend in which the low point was an extremely fun and hilarious Sunday dinner on the patio. No ham was served, but the corn on the cob somehow elicited hamminess on the parts of the two children in attendance.