Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, etc.


My dad got me a Wonder Woman action figure for my birthday.

It is sweet.

And it came with a sign that says "Infinite Crisis."

Just now, Dane asked me what that meant. I said I had no idea.

And then he said, "That's kind of like you."

Excuse me. I do not think I am always in crisis. I mean, come on. Sure, I get stressed at work when it's busy. And I get frustrated when we're late picking Rye up from daycare for the third time in a week. And when I'm cold, I might tell him -- or anyone -- that I'm cold.

But crisis?

No.

So tonight was Halloween, which might still be my favorite holiday, even though I'm grown up (yes, I'm finally admitting it). And Rye was excited for about the first 10 minutes. And then he started asking to go home.

No, I told him the first 15 times he asked.

But then 25 minutes or so later, we finally gave in.

Seems like we timed it, though, so that we missed most of the trick-or-treaters who would have stopped at our house, had we been home with our porch light on instead of soliciting candy from neighbors we've never met.

The end result: We have lots of candy.

But this is not a crisis.

So here are some more pictures, including one of my birthday on Monday.



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ice skating: not a debacle

Ice skating yesterday went better than I expected. I did fine (though weird muscles in my legs are sore today).

Rye tried out the ice with just his shoes on first but then did attempt it with the skates. Mostly, he let Dane and I hold him up and move him along, but he did it for the first time ever and I was proud of him for that.

Later on that afternoon, he came down with a fever and fell asleep in my lap and then slept for two more hours at home. When I took his temperature before bed, it was 103.

He's still sick today. I feel bad for him.

Perhaps I'll get to stay home from work on my birthday after all (Leap Year be damned).

Here are a couple photos from both ice skating and my birthday dinner Friday night. Yes, I requested not cake but an apple pie. It's my birthday, right?

Here we are blowing out the candle.


Yep, he's officially a teenager. Check out the earbuds (and he was watching Star Wars clips on Dane's iPod Touch).


Lacing up the skates.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy weekend

So far today, I've been about as lazy as I can remember being in a long time.

I'm liking it.

I've done basically nothing besides read the paper, eat and catch up on various blog postings, Facebook updates and e-mail.

All of us are just sort of doing nothing, except I can tell Dane is sort of ready to get ready. Or something. He's sort of now wandering aimlessly in circles around the living room.

Rye is finally eating the bagel I made for him at least an hour ago. And he is more than content playing Star Wars guys.

It's nice.

In a little bit, though, we are going to my brother's birthday party. He turned 9 a few weeks ago, and he's having an ice skating party today. I haven't ice skated in years, but I'll do alright, I think. Dane and Rye have already declared they don't even want to try.

I'm not surprised.

After the party, we'll come back and perhaps work on doing more of not much at all! It's my birthday on Monday and we may go out to eat tonight or tomorrow morning to celebrate that.

And we need to get some pumpkins to carve.

But that's it.

And I'm totally good with that.

Here's to a relaxing weekend for all of you, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Batman

My step-mom made Rye a pretty cool Batman costume last week.

So we made a movie.

Here is my directorial debut (be nice):

video

The right thing

Officials at my alma mater late last week announced that a scholar of controversial background would be speaking on campus in November.

And then -- about 24 hours later -- they cancelled his appearance after much public outcry.

William Ayers about six months ago was probably not a common name. He is now, though, because of the connection presidential candidate Barack Obama has had with him in the past. They served together on the board of a Chicago group that works on welfare reform, affordable housing and reducing poverty.

John McCain and others have mentioned Ayers repeatedly in an attempt to discredit Obama and his associates.

Ayers in the 1960s and 70s did some bad things in protest of the Vietnam War. He bombed public buildings -- major ones. And fairly recently, he was quoted as saying he wished they'd done more to protest the war.

I do not agree with violent protests, even if the sentiment is anti-war.

I'm not for bombing. I'm a pacifist. I don't even like it when my 3-year-old pretends to shoot toy guns or hits his dad when they're wrestling.

But I'm also for free speech.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Education had invited Ayers, an education expert who teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago, to speak to graduate students as part of the college's anniversary celebration.

He was invited back in February.

University officials sent out a press release about Ayers' appearance, though, after reporters noticed his name on a calendar.

And then all hell broke loose.

There were parents threatening to pull their students from school if Ayers was allowed to come. The governor urged the Board of Regents to pull the plug. Many of the Regents publicly decried the university's invitation. One even compared it to inviting Osama bin Laden to campus. Even the NU president, while citing the need for free speech and a free sharing of ideas, said he thought it'd be best for Ayers' not to come.

My guess is the final blow was when donors -- big ones - started threatening to withhold money from NU.

In the end, the chancellor said it was a safety threat that prompted officials to cancel his talk. They'd gotten enough e-mails and phone calls, officials said, that they couldn't ensure the safety of Ayers or folks at his talk.

That might be true, maybe a little bit. But I'm not really buying it.

And it's unfortunate that at a public university, a place of learning and discourse and growing and at least hearing all sorts of views about subjects, we would disinvite someone who has valuable knowledge and experience -- whether you agree with it or not -- to the table.

UNL has played it safe, I guess, and maybe that's the smart thing.

But what about the right thing?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The silent partner


My husband seldom wants things.

Besides beer, he hardly ever buys anything for himself.

So when he began talking about the iPod touch for weeks without end, I finally said, "Why don't you just go ahead and get it?"

The original plan had been to ask for money for Christmas from the various sets of parents. But it became apparent that he shouldn't have to wait that long. Seriously, I heard about the Touch ("It's got all these games -- like air hockey! You like air hockey, right?") just about every day.

So about two weeks ago, thank God, he ordered it. And in true Dane fashion, he saved 10 percent and avoided all sales tax by ordering it from Amazon.com. A savings of about $30. Great, except it meant he had to wait two agonizing weeks for the king of all grown-up toys to arrive.

Today, it came.

I got home from the gym after work and rather than a greeting, I got: "Look."

And, yes, lo and behold, there it was, on the living room floor, plugged in in all its glory to our laptop.

Hallelujah, a new day has begun.

So tonight, we've played air hockey (I beat the computer 7-6, thank you very much), waved it around while it made light saber noises (a true hit with Rye, who actually instructed me how to do this within a minute of my arrival home), played Labrynth (you remember - this is where you maneuver a ball through a maze without letting it drop into a hole. Just now, Dane said, "OK, I just have to stop. This is getting stressful!") and bowled. Dane has also done a myriad of other things, I'm sure, like check his e-mail, comment on friends' Facebook statuses, visit Huskerpedia, plan our retirement ... I'm thinking there is no end to what the Touch can do.

Earlier, he said, "You're never going to hear me talk again."

Hmm.

I didn't sign up for that, but I am glad the grown-up boy in our house finally has a really sweet toy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mostly better

I feel the need to post a short update after last night's woe-is-me post. (I apologize for that, by the way. I just couldn't help it).

Tonight, though, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better.

Work was productive today and largely uninterrupted. And the best part: I got to eat lunch with my best friend, who was visiting from Connecticut. That was great, but I would have taken more time to just be like that again.

Tonight, after supper, Rye and I played outside until the light faded, forcing us in. We ran races around the backyard, fought bad guys with a fly swatter (me) and a wooden sword (him) and built castles in the sand. The lingering warmth this fall made that doable. And I'm already sad that within a few weeks, the early dark and the cold will probably make evenings outside undoable.

Still, like lunch with Alexa, I'll take what I can get.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ah-choo!

I have a dreadful, dreary cold. You know, one of those full-blown colds that makes your head hurt, your eyes water and your nose completely full, so full that you have to leave your mouth slightly ajar to breathe.

I hate this.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night, hoping that a lot of sleep would make me miraculously better. And I did feel better today, a bit.

But now, I feel awful again.

And I still have bath time and bed time looming.

Plus, I have to watch The Office tonight, too (no, that is not a bad thing, but it will push bedtime later).

I just want to feel better.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ah, the pumpkin patch


We braved the busiest pumpkin patch in Omaha yesterday for an outing with Rye's daycare. And despite how crazy it has seemed some years, last night was really fun.

We met at 5 and then gathered around a campfire to cook hot dogs -- and later s'mores. Then we rode a train around part of their farm, attempted to jump on a giant inflatable "pillow" in the ground, looked at bunnies and then took a 15-minute or so hayrack ride to the pumpkin patch itself.

It was dark by the time we got on the tractor-pulled hayrack, and just a little bit chilly. We spotted the big dipper through the clouds and the sliver of a moon. Rye curled up against me, and I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd fallen asleep.

Once in the field of pumpkins, we tried to find a few "wee little ones" in short order. We did fairly well with that and then enjoyed an equally long hayrack ride back.

Perhaps Rye's favorite part was the $1 glow necklace we bought next. Back at the campfire, he and his friends -- who also had one -- pretended they were Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader fighting with their light sabers. The light-up novelties served a practical purpose, too -- in the almost pitch black, they were illuminated name tags for our children.

Here are some more photos:

"All aboard!"


It's the giant pumpkin, Charlie Brown!


On the hay-rack ride