Wednesday, October 31, 2007

White Witch and Edmund

Happy Halloween!

And yes, I did dress up as Manny Ramirez. But that photo won't be shown. I look a bit scary in a braided dreadlocky do-rag hairstyle, it turns out.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Change of Seasons

Yesterday was the last group o'soccer games. It was one of those beautiful autumn days - sunny, but a little chilly with the smell of fall in the air.

Both kids did great. The best moment of the first game was when Son D was barreling down the field with the ball and seconds before he got to the goal, he stopped, looked around and passed the ball to a teammate who hadn't yet scored, so his friend could get a goal. Soccer comes easy to son D, so it is nice to see him picking up some sportsmenship in the process.

The best moment of the second game was when Daughter D scored her VERY FIRST SOCCER GOAL EVER. I was cheering so loud for her, you could probably hear me halfway across the country. In a split second, I became one of those parents I don't really like very much. She blew through everyone and ran right past plenty of teammates to whom she could have passed the ball....Screw "sportsmanship," - she GOT A GOAL! Her very first one!

Yes, I am a hypocrite. Yes, my children will require years of therapy to determine that I parented them differently due to birth order, gender, personality, and the rest. They can send me the bill.....

Next week, we move on to ice skating. We are doing a 7 week session of lessons at an indoor rink around the corner. From soccer to skating in less than a week. Must be that season known as 'fawinter" here in Wisconsin. You blink, and there is snow on the ground.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Nothing else. Just "yeah RedSox"

...that and I promised the kids I'd dress up as Manny Ramirez for Halloween if the Sox won before Wednesday.

I guess I'll be looking for some black thick yarn tomorrow to create my flowing locks.

Obligatory Pumpkin Patch photos

I just realized that it's not going to be dark for Halloween this year, due to the daylight savings time switch-a-roo. Wouldn't you know, the ONE year that I actually get my act together and find glowsticks and flashlights, I might not need them?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Then and Now

Because I am a masochist, I watched a replay of the 1986 Mets - Sox game 6 of the World Series while I was making dinner. (Did you know there is a tv station that only shows old games? ESPN classic? I had *no* idea until I was flipping through the channels tonight and saw *gasp* Jim Rice.) So I watched.

I remember that game like it was yeterday. I was in my freshman year at a college outside Boston. Most of the other students were from NYC. Or so it seemed that night. all I can remember is Sinatra's "New York, New York" BLARING from all the other dorms on the Hill the minute the game ended.

I haven't watched that game since the live version in '86 and i have to say, watching it again: IT WASN'T BUCKNERS FAULT. There were a whole slew of other things that went wrong that inning. He was just one piece of the puzzle.

Gee, 20 years of blaming him, all for naught.

The other thing that struck me was how *small* the players were 20 years ago. Even the powerhouses were small. I remember Mookie as being enormous. But compared to Manny or Ortiz today? He's teeny. Is it the steroids? Or all we, as a society, just bigger?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On the radio

Somehow, my east coast dad was on Wisconsin Public Radio this morning! Due to that pesky time zone difference, we missed it live, but luckily it's on the web and we are listening now. (who knew when they said 8 am to him, they meant 8 am Eastern Time??)

For all the relatives who'd like to listen it is here:

(today's 7 am Joy Cardin show)

You can use my email address and my zip code to download it. (I don't know my WPR member number..sadly...)
kpnelson (at)

Son D is sitting on my lap, completely engrossed even thought he doesn't have a clue what his grandfather is talking about. He keeps saying, "that's grandpa Jack!" and wants to know how all those people in Milwaukee know him. (It's a call-in show.) He also is asking "Who's Katrina?" and "Why is grandpa in an institute?" and "Why aren't they talking to Nana, too?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fair Weather Fan

Excuse me while I become completely unproductive for the next 10 days, obsessing on the many ways in which the Red Sox can somehow lose the world series. (and on how the Democrats will manage to lose the next election....could these things be related?)

To be honest, I haven't watched a whole regular season Sox game for almost 11 years. True fan, huh?

But every year, when post-season comes around, I am sucked right back to my childhood in New England. I turn right back into that geeky girl who could name every single Sox player in the '78 season, including what position they played and their number.

There is a car in our neighborhood with the license plate "Rice08" Every time I see it, I say to myself, "No, Rice was 14. Yaz was 8." Eventually I figured out that it is just a Republican unhappy with the current choices. (The "Bush/Cheney" bumper sticker gave it away.)

I suspect those of you who really follow the Sox must think of me the way regular church-goers think of the folks who only show up on Christmas and Easter.

And in 2007, you'd be right.

But in 1978, I was right there with you.

My favorite Red Sox player, ever.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lucky 13

According to Wikipedia, the proper gift for a 13th wedding anniversary is Lace.

According to the appliance-gods at our house, the only possible purchase allowed to commemorate our upcoming anniversary is a BRAND NEW DRYER! It was delivered today.

Yes, the "hanging on by its last leg" dryer finally go so annoying that even I could not stand to use it any more. It took 2 hours to dry a small load. It made noises that are not otherwise found in nature. Seriously - you had to leave the house when you put clothes in the dryer. Human ears could not listen to that sound. Dogs would run away. It was time to send it to the great appliance recycling place in the sky.

The new dryer is unbelievable.

I know I shouldn't be so excited about an appliance. I realize that getting giddy over the fact that our washer and dryer now match (and look pretty!) is a bit silly. But I can't escape the fact that somehow, I've evolved into an odd creature that gets great satisfaction from the whole laundry process.

13 years ago, we moved into an apartment with a laundry room in the basement. I doubt I noticed the brand of the washer or the dryer - never mind the features. We were young and in love and had places to go and people to see. We had not yet realized how much of life and love is experienced in the mundane everyday details of things like laundry.

It's pretty easy to marry the guy with whom you want to dine in Paris or snorkel in the Bahamas. But marrying the guy with whom who you want to sort socks? That's a whole different ball game. Somehow I've ended up with both - and now if I could just find a way to sort socks with him in Paris, I'd be set.

...and I wonder if this new dryer has a cycle for lace?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Please don't make me vote for Hillary

Raising WEG had a brilliant post on all the reasons she doesn't want to vote for Hillary.

Every morning, I look in the paper to catch the story that she is losing her lead in the polls. But, alas, I don't find that story. All I see is her lead increasing. I don't get it.

No one I know is excited about her. I have friends who are enthralled with John Edwards. I have a mother who is downright giddy about Obama. I have relatives who love Kucinich. (note: Spell check tried to change that to "Zucchini" the way I originally spelled it.)

I have friends who are excited about Fred Thompson and even one who adores Guiliani.

But no one I know says, "Gee, I can't wait to campaign for Hillary!"

Why not?

I don't think it is because she is a woman. We are a pretty feminist bunch, my friends and I.

I don't think it is because of her husband. In general, we all seem to agree that he was an above-average president (all things considered.)

Although we don't agree with all of her positions, they aren't *that* far off from our core beliefs.

Aren't I supposed to be her "dream" demographic? I'm a centrist Democrat, who occasionally even supports (gasp) Republicans. I'm a woman. I'm married with kids. If I'm not excited about her, who is?

According to USA Today's Candidate Match Game, I should be cheering for Gravel. (With Dodd 2nd and Obama a close 3rd.)

So two questions:
1) Why do we dislike her so?
2) Who are these people who are putting her at the top of the polls? Where are they? What are they THINKING????

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why is it...

that even though I am the ONLY one in my family who does NOT:

1) have a soccer game tomorrow (10, 2, and 4 pm thank-you-very-much)
2) own a pair of Adidas socks that go up to my knees
3) own a pair of Adidas cleats (that hurt if they step on mama's bare toes....)
4) have a crush on Hope Solo
5) have a special soccer ball

...that I am the one who gets the moniker of "Soccer Mom"

Is it the mini-van, I wonder?

But just to keep it real, could I at least be referred to as "She-who-finds-&-washes-all -the-soccer-uniforms-late-Saturday-Night" Mom?

That would be a bit more accurate, seeing that I can't play soccer to save my life.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Go read this blog

One of my friends has started a blog called "Solve 4 Biggies"

He proposes to solve the following four problems by a phased-in tax shift from income to energy (less income tax...more energy tax):

1 - Global warming

2 - Dependence on
foreign energy

3 - Trade deficit

4 - Pollution from non-
renewable fuels

We disagree on #3. I remain steadfast to my belief that free trade makes the world a better place. (We just need to re-distribute some of the gains, that's all.)

My favorite post so far was called "Stop the Madness"

It's worth reading.

And this one scares me.

Personally, I've always had a fondness for Pigovian taxes. So I think it's a great idea.

I've read articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Economist arguing for a carbon tax. I have to admit that I haven't heard candidates from either party discussing such a thing. Is any discussion of "taxes" taboo during a primary season? Or am I just missing relevant debates?

Regardless, go read "Solve 4 Biggies" - you won't be sorry. He doesn't have an RSS feed yet...but I'm working on that! : )

Sunday, October 7, 2007


I got to see a lot of the lovely city of Milwaukee today.

And somehow, I managed to finish. It was the longest, hottest, slowest, hardest marathon I've ever run. Today's high in Milwaukee was 87 degrees. It was cooler at the finish, near the lake, or I'm not sure I would have made it past mile 24.

There were marathons in Chicago, Milwaukee, and the Twin Cities today. The heat was unbearable in all three cities, but worst in Chicago. A Chicago runner collapsed and was pronounced dead - so tragic.

But I kept it really slow and walked a lot and kept hydrated (but not too hydrated - a very fine line these days.) I cramped up a lot from miles 19 - 24, but managed to somehow keep going. (stupidity? stubbornness?) But I was very careful. I passed a lot of runners on the side of the road with IVs. It was a tough day.

Of course, it was probably toughest on husband D. who got to navigate a strange city in the heat with the little D's, all whilst providing race support. He's amazing, that husband D.

Me, I just listened to my iPod for 5 hours while people tell me how good I looked. ("lookin' good" appears to be the universal marathon spectator cheer.) And the Lake Front marathon is a beautiful course. Not a bad way to spend a day, really.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Visualize a cool autumn day...

This is not the weather forecast you hope to see the weekend you attempt to run a marathon (that quite frankly, you haven't really trained enough for.)

"85 degrees" and "marathon" and "chance of thunderstorms" are words that shouldn't be strung together.

And this was the best one I could find. You'd be surprised how many weather sites there are out there. One had 87 degrees on Sunday - I rejected that one right away. That won't do. Another had the lightening starting on Sunday morning. Again, that won't do. Running 26.2 miles in lightening does not strike me as a smart thing to do. (although running that far in hot weather isn't always a walk in the park, either.)

So, I'm sticking with this particular forecast. It only gets up to 84 on Sunday and the lightening doesn't start until late. I suppose I could live with that. But isn't Wisconsin supposed to be chilly in October? Aren't we supposed to be dragging out our snow pants about now?

I'll keep neurotically checking the various forecasts for the next 2 days. I bet I can find one that is 83 degrees and no lightening at all.

updated: I didn't realize when I linked to that weather graphic that it would change and be updated. So, this morning, I was thrilled when I looked and saw that the lightening has been pushed to Monday. That's progress. Now if we could just lop 20 degrees of the temperature, we'll be good to go.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

When politics get in the way of policies

Great posts/articles here:
angry pregnant lawyer

The Progressive


I don't get it. I simply don't get how anyone (Democrats and Republicans alike - but especially our current President) could put political reputation/perception ahead of a plan to provide health insurance for children.

SCHIP is NOT a federal health care program. It's NOT socialized medicine.

The "S" in SCHIP - that stands for STATE. The *states* run the program - not the federal government. And under SCHIP, the children are enrolled in private health insurance plans.

I heard Bush's speech today and I was so disappointed.

He got facts wrong over and over again. He claimed that the bill would allow families who made $80K to get coverage. That's simply not true. If you look back into the process of crafting the bill, you will see that New York, in fact, did propose this. But it was rejected and didn't make it into the final version. The truth is that this new bill actually put in stronger limits for whom the states can cover.

He also claims that it will cost too much money. This is a very short-sighted argument. The May edition of Pediatrics
has a study which calculates the true costs of children who don't have insurance. After you add up the lack of preventive medicine and emergency room visits, we certainly aren't saving any money as a society.

HR 976 is a Bi-Partisan bill. The house passed their version 360-45. In the Senate, it was 68 - 31.

Warner *and* Webb voted for it.
Specter *and* Clinton voted for it.
Hatch *and* Feingold voted for it.

If you can get that group to agree on anything - that in itself, is a minor miracle.

Our body of government created a bill to provide medical coverage to children that will save the country money in the long run. It's not perfect. But it PROVIDES MEDICAL INSURANCE TO CHILDREN.

And the President vetoed it because of petty politics. Sometimes I wonder how that man sleeps at night.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cleaning House

Lots of interesting posts about house cleaners out there today.

A. loves her newly found cleaners.

Laura at 11D
feels guilty.

Raising WEG lists a bunch of good political/social reasons why she won't hire a cleaner.

If D. and I both worked full time, we would have a cleaner. Hands-down, I would get over all of my reasons why I don't. Life is too short to spend your entire weekend cleaning. I'd hire a cleaner. Immediately.

But one of the big reasons why I'm *not* working full time is so we *don't* have to outsource big portions of our family life to other people.

I think we are one of 3 families in my entire neighborhood who clean their own houses. I'm not kidding. We are definitely considered odd.

We tried it. We had cleaners for about 5 months after son D. was born. It was nice. But it wasn't for us.

First, really what it was - truly - was a way for me to avoid expressing dissatisfaction that I was doing most of the cleaning at the time. But you know what happened after the cleaning ladies came? My kids ONLY saw females cleaning. In their minds, men didn't clean. At all. So we lost the ladies, and managed to work on an equitable division of labor in the house. Now, the children see that men clean too. Men clean lots.

Second, the chemicals. I clean with non-toxic stuff bought at the local Co-op. I don't use the chemical-laden stuff. The cleaning ladies used chemicals and more chemicals. I don't want that toxic stuff in my home.

Third, one of our big philosophies in life is that "life is messy" and "you mess it up - you clean it up." A home that is perfectly clean 100% of the time is beyond our ability. But...we all clean up what we mess up.

Fourth, we all work together to clean. My kids scrub toilets. They mop floors. They vacuum. They dust. Not well - don't get me wrong. But we do it together. They think it is a blast. While other kids are growing up with a vision of cleaning as this horrible chore to avoid at all costs, our kids actually think it is fun.

Fifth, the cost. It just seems silly to pay that much for cleaning - when it is so easy to do yourself. (IF you have time.)

And finally, human beings need physical movement. I'm not going to say that cleaning your house is an enjoyable way to get fit. It's not. But it is manual labor. For me, it is good. I like being active and doing things. I was with a group of mothers at the park. They spent the first part of their conversation comparing/complaining about cleaning ladies. The second part of their conversation was "Oh, if I could only lose 5 or 10 pounds." I held my tongue. (us non-overweight marathon runners are not allowed to comment on anyone's weight. ever.) But in my head, all I could think was "hey - maybe if you did your own scrubbing, you'd tone those arms a bit..." I didn't say it. But I thought it.

The one thing I hear over and over again is how hiring a cleaning lady gives people time to "do something else that matters/is more enjoyable."

I get that. But to me, working together to make our home a clean place - as a family - is a really great way to spend our time. Letting a stranger do that intimate job just felt really odd to me.

But, in full disclosure, this is one of my favorite books.

And I couldn't do anything without the robots. Life without Roomba and Scooba...oh, I can't even imagine.