Friday, October 26, 2007

It is funny because it holds up to scrutiny!

(click on image to visit site)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

State Fair!

Last year we waited until the last day, then it rained, and we decided to not go. This year we got our act together, so did nature, and despite raining yesterday and the day before, today was in the 70s with blue skies.
So this morning we packed the kids up, brought the economy sized bottle of purel disinfectant, and drove down to the park n ride. The last time we went required parking miles from the gate, hoofing it with kid(s) in tow. This was way better. Also the kids are older and braver now than before. Carly also bought advanced tickets at the mall for a big discount.
We first stopped by the farmers display, and the kids got to pretend to pick potatoes and apples. What is cool is that before the fair they actual plant and tend corn, pumpkins, potatoes, gourds, all sorts of vegies so that they are fresh and ripe by fair time.
Then the kids wanted to ride the tea cup. Reasoning they were too small to go alone. I went with them. They loved it. I got dizzy and nauseous.
Mostly we just strolled through the displays. We saw the cows and chickens (the kids got to hold baby chicks.... and loved that). We hit a petting zoo, and the kids took a short pony ride (now $4 up from 50ยข when Sophie nearly did it). We had lunch, and strolled about some more, and ate some funnel cake before the huge crowds made heading home seem the right thing.
Good wholesome fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Update on Will

We took Will in for his first, post-hospital, follow up. After waiting an hour in the waiting room, and almost as long in the room with the bed and equipment (trying to keep both kids from either sticking their fingers in the unguarded sockets, or jumping on to the various pointy object) the PA gave him a quick once over, poked him a couple of time in the stomach and pronounced him fine. We sort of knew that already. We also got to hear a doctor go over the possibilities of a sonagram in 4 weeks time to determine if there is any lingering damage.
Carly and I are ambivalent about this. We do want to be proactive and thorough. We'd hate ourselves if we missed something and it developed into a problem later. But, the doctor admitted that there is no evidence to suggest that having a sonagram post trauma has any benefit. So it seems a little weird to even offer it. And apart from any cost (which I am sure will be high) there is the dragging a kicking and screaming kid back to the hospital to be held down so he will remain motionless for the test (he has a learned aversion to doctors and hospitals).
So, we'll see as we get closer to the date, and consult with our pediatrician.

Overall. Great News!

Thanks to everyone who send their support and concern. We appreciate it. You helped us bear a pretty rough patch.

Fall Break For Forty Year Old

Not exactly a girls (or boys) gone wild. No beaches. Only limited alcohol.
But there was a lot of staying up late silliness.

Carly sent me to Seattle for the long weekend (Thursday to Monday) as a 40th Birthday present, Ben and Ping provided transport, and Mike and Sara a place to stay, Steve M and Trey entertainment. We stayed up late, ate heavy fattening breakfasts, watched Steve M play video games for hours and hours, even tried some gaming. The latter didn't pan out quite as we hoped, but there was always lots of game-chat which is often just as good.

It was good to see everyone. It was a definite break. A pause. Punctuation. That was something I could use. And it gave me an opportunity to detox (by retoxing!) from the Will hospitalization.

It is interesting how easily I can slip back into the groove with my college friends. I met these friends 20 years ago, and stopped seeing them on a daily or weekly basis over 15 years ago. And yet, it feels quite natural to just kick up our feet, pop the cap off a cold one, and rejoin a conversation we started low those many years ago.

I think everyone got a kick out of the video chat with the kids. Sadly, we only had one successful one. That technology is not 100% yet (that and our schedule was not conducive to chatting two out of four days). It was gratifying returning home and having Will say: "I am not missing you anymore."

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Telling Mistakes

I am grading mid-term papers and am reminded of my college epistemology professor's frustration that half the class (I don't remember if that included me) misspelling "epistemology" in our first set of papers ("epistomology").

Here is a list of common minor mistakes that rapidly sour me to a paper:
  1. Misspelling my name.
  2. Repeatedly misspelling the name of the author, book, or film (or character in a film).
  3. Wrongly attributing references usually attributing something to the author when she was quoting another, or vice versa (my current favorite is a person who replaced the author with the publisher "Routledge says..")
  4. Inconsistent capitalization, italicizing, and such.
  5. Paraphrasing, referencing, or quoting from a text book by saying "the book says."
  6. Starting a sentence "Reason be" (maybe this is a dialect issue, but it usually happens in papers with many other errors).
  7. Refusing to use the possessive form ('s), and instead just using the proper noun (Hume Fork, Craig wife, Plato theory).
  8. Referring to things as "theories" when they are not. (skeptism (sic) theory, metaphysics theory, epistemology theory, etc..)
  9. Starting a paper with a condemnation of the subject, confession of ignorance, or quotation from the dictionary ("Webster's Dictionary defines a contract as an 'unbreakable agreement....unbreakable! ...uhh You honor I'd like to move for a... bad.. court... thingie")
One or two mistakes is to be expected. Spell check errors, while no excused, are understandable, but if a paper has five or six of these mistakes, odds are, I will become impatient with it and give up searching for the hidden content. These errors themselves do not result in a bad grade. But if a paper is on the borderline, or requires much 'charitable interpretation' from me, these don't help.

Note: I allow students to rewrite all papers (except the final one, heck I'd probably even allow that if they want a grade change). So please do not berate m

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kids and serious injury.

We just got back from the hospital where Will has spent the last 44 hours (or so).
Without going into endless detail, he fell onto a loose stiff wire which had broken in our laundry basket. It punctured his tummy, and lacerated his liver. Bad! Very bad.
Carly and I were in various states of hysteria Friday night and much of Saturday.
My advice, don't let your child get internal injuries. It isn't as glamorous as it sounds.
By Saturday night, it turned into patient waiting for waiting patients, and just plain fatigue, there was little they could do, and we were mostly just waiting for Will to stabilize.
By Sunday afternoon, he had stabilized, improved, and we were clawing at the door trying to escape.

He mostly just needed time to heal up. And apparently, given he is currently spinning around and playing with a torpedo, he has.

It is good to be home.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Kids and Death

Yesterday Sophie was saying that she didn't want to live in our new house, she wanted to move back to our old one with Chicken. It makes perfect sense, we left a lot of stuff at the old place, why not Chicken too? I tried to explain. "Chicken isn't in our old house, he's dead." But I don't think she really gets it. She kept saying things like "when I die, I am going to live in our old house." I get a double heart ache from that.

Part of me is really glad that she isn't able to grasp it, try as she might. It is funny the way we adults fear things and assume our kids would fear them with the same intensity. Will gets scared in the dark sometimes, but I am not really sure what it is about the dark that scares him. When I was young (not even very young) the dark terrified me. What scared me was the thought that of being startled, surprised by something I couldn't see. I don't remember being afraid of what would happen next, after the surprise, it was the surprise itself. I imagine I could have come up with unpleasant things that might happen to me, but I don't remember dreading those things.

The kids tend to get scared by angry faces, aggressive animals and such. For example in the film Finding Nemo, they get scared when the Sharks Chase Marlin and Dory, and when the Barracuda menaces Marlin at the beginning of the film. I am bothered by the next scene when all of Nemo's little brothers and sisters (eggs) are gone, as well as his mother (presumably in the mouth of the barracuda). That scares me. I don't think it scares or bothers the kids much.

We've done our best to be honest, if not forthcoming, about Chicken. He frequently gets lumped in with GG (my grandmother) as someone we are not going to see anymore. They seem relatively accepting of those stories. I feel more uneasy talking about Joan (Carly's mom) who died when she was still a kid. I worry that might be too much. Maybe again this is just a fear of mine (that our kids could be left without one of us), and not something they would be troubled by. We haven't lied about it, but we don't bring it up much.