Archive for May, 2004

wake up, people

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

Is it nagging anyone else that everything we were told was wrong? Doesn’t it astound you that there’s not some kind of extreme furore going on here? Sure, Bush’s poll numbers are dropping, but don’t you think there should be more outrage? Perhaps it’s because Kerry is so blah. Or because the Democrats are worried that if they kick up a fuss they’re just going to be accused of being “political”. But I’d hope that more Republicans, other than McCain of course, would be speaking up about the hugely flawed assumptions and complete lack of planning and backup planning. Politicians: you are being unpatriotic by staying quiet while your country is being lied to and made a fool of.

couple of pics

Monday, May 10th, 2004

For your enjoyment, here are a couple of photos. First is Toby at the zoo last week; second is a “legalize cannabis” march which meandered its way past our house last weekend.

stormy weather

Monday, May 10th, 2004

We had quite an exciting time yesterday on the way home from the SuperTarget store. It had been a really hot humid day, with gorgeous sunshine and we’d done quite a bit of gardening and general mooching around in the afternoon – very nice. When we came out of the store there was bright sunshine in one direction, totally black sky and lightning the other. As we were driving home the dark skies loomed over us more and more, and we started to hear severe weather sirens. Then things started to get a bit spooky when the sky actually went bruise-green. I’d heard about this but had never actually seen it happen – apparently this is what happens before tornados appear. The winds really picked up at this point (still lost of lightning but no rain yet) and I was getting quite spooked. Fortunately at that point we had to head east so were driving away from the storm but it was bearing down on us. There was loads of sand and dust swirling around us and it was totally strange to look behind us and see how pitch dark it was when there were blue skies ahead. As we got close to our exit from the freeway the traffic snarled up a bit – not ideal when all I wanted to do was get home as soon as possible. Emma’s sister Sarah said, “Is something on fire over there?”. It wasn’t smoke but a column of spinning dust moving towards the road. We’d seen a few little spinning dust clouds but this one was several stories high. In hindsight it would have been cool to have the camera with us, but at the time I was concentrating on keeping driving through the rain and hail which was very heavy by then. We did make it home shortly afterwards, and did as all Minnesotans do – straight to the local TV channels to see what was going on. There was still 15 minutes of tornado warning for our county, but it was really just heavy rain and lightning by that point where we were. When the sun came out an hour later the light was kind of bluey-green, washed-out looking. I made roast beef and we opened a yummy bottle of red and quickly felt much better. Sarah’s excited about telling the folks back in England about the weather.

good to be one

Wednesday, May 5th, 2004

We had a fun evening with Toby yesterday. We had to drop off the car for its oil change, so while that was going on we went to a Perkin’s restaurant next to the garage. Not the most top-ranking establishment in the world, but it was cheap and cheerful and child friendly. Although warning to Toby: if you got any ideas from the family on the table along from us where the dad was being bought a birthday meal by his adult son, be aware that I will expect something a tad more salubrious.

Anyway, Toby was really well behaved, especially as we had to wait quite some time for our order to be taken and to arrive. We ordered him the child-size portion of macaroni cheese with a side of baby carrots, and it wasn’t till it was delivered to our table that I realized he’d never been given his very own order of food at a restaurant before – what a thrill. He said “Wow!” when it was placed in front of him, and he chowed down all the macaroni at great speed and with considerable gusto (uncharacteristically he didn’t touch the carrots, oh well).

After that we went to Menards, the home improvement center, where Toby found a little outdoor chair for a bargain $2 in the garden section at the back of the store, which he insisted on pushing all the way to the front. He’s really into pushing stuff at the moment. It was hilarious, and a lot of people thought he was pretty funny until he tripped and fell over the chair, at which point a couple gave us a very stern look like we were terrible parents. Anyway he seems thrilled with it and it’s ideal for the porch/patio, assuming that he’ll be happy just sitting in it rather than pushing it around.

customer success

Monday, May 3rd, 2004

Wow, outstanding customer service. We have a combination smoke/fire and carbon monoxide alarm in the basement (one upstairs outside our room also) that started to malfunction a few weeks ago. It actually has an “I’m malfunctioning” code beep which is handy and appropriately annoying. So I just got around to calling the manufacturer, Kidde, who with no problem at all said that they would send out a replacement unit to me today. How great is that? I’m very impressed.

photo copier

Monday, May 3rd, 2004

A couple of years ago I was given what was a really funky, teeny digital camera for my birthday – it was lots of fun to have around and before phone cameras really took off it was quite a talking point to have such a miniature piece of electronics. Lately I confess that I haven’t used it so much, and now that we have the Canon I guess it’s going to fall in to disuse. Or so you might think. Yesterday Emma and her friend Jill threw a bridal shower for their friend Rachel from work, and a lot of preparation involved tidying up the things sitting around in the living room, one of them being the mini camera. Last night Toby was inspecting this stuff and picked up the camera which is of course perfect size for him. Not as many buttons as on the Canon but he seemed happy with it nonetheless. He’s at an age when he copies lots of things we do but not entirely accurately, for example he’ll pick up his toy phone, and say hello but will have it on his shoulder rather than against his ear which is pretty funny. And once I had shown him how you hold the camera he had a go himself (and quickly learned how to respond to “are you going to take a picture?”). In his special Toby way, this involved closing both eyes really tight and squashing the camera against his face, it was very cute.