Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Too cold for school

Schools are closed today because of the cold.

I think it is -8 today but the wind chill is something like -35. That's instant frostbite.

I take back everything I said about embracing winter. On a day like today - one must HIDE from winter and CURSE it. It's soooo cold.

I plan on bundling up in front of the fire and doing nothing but whine about the weather this morning. There is ice on the *inside* of our windows.

Normally, the kids don't watch TV during the week. I think we shall be making an exception today. An all-day exception, perhaps.

Hot Cocoa, anyone?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter Weekend Photos

How to dress fashionably for the -25F windchill...

After 13 years of living in Wisconsin, I've learned that the only way to deal with winter up here is to embrace it. Go outside every day. Take the kids out every day.

And a funny thing happens when you do that. You start to really like winter. We have been outside all weekend - skiing & skating. Tomorrow, we are going to go snowshoeing and sledding.

The only downside? The laundry. Do you have any idea how many layers and changes of clothing occur in an active family of four who try to ski, sled and skate in one weekend?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shrill Bill

The Economist has a great article on the messed-up Clinton machine.

They point out:

By most reckonings the Republicans should be doomed. But the Clintons' tactics are alienating blacks and young people. The Clintons are in the process of doing the impossible: making the 2008 election a referendum on them, rather than on the Republicans. And the Republicans are inching towards nominating their one candidate, Mr McCain, who has broad popular appeal.

In contrast, Obama's speech brought chills to my spine again tonight. He gets it.

He reminds me of my daughter's school. On paper - it should be a failure. Most of the kids are poor. Most of them aren't white. Many don't speak English.

People actually move out of our neighborhood so their kids don't have to attend this school. I'm not kidding.

But, if they only knew. See - this school...this school has hope. And joy. And promise.

There are plenty of problems. The school doesn't have money. Most of the teachers are young. There's no fancy equipment or extra-curriculars. The school has all the difficult issues you would expect a school with poverty to have. It's far from perfect.

But the passion it inspires amongst *all* of us who are connected to the school -- really, I've never seen anything like it. (Hell, I became PTA President and if that isn't crazy, I don't know what is.) And not just PTA people - the teachers, the students, the other parents - everyone.

When I see Obama speak, he seems to bring out that kind of passion. I get very excited when I think of our country embodying the spirit of D's school. Just imagine what we could accomplish.

Bill, you can call it a "fairy tale" all you want. We're not listening to you any more.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Just another Winter in Wisconsin

Someone mentioned to me that when the temperature is -10F (as it has seemed to be for the last week here), that you could go inside, stick your head in the freezer and it would be 30 degrees WARMER.

That is just wrong. So wrong.

But we are supposed to get a veritable heat wave tomorrow. We will reach freezing. A full 32 degrees F *above* zero.

My poor family was subjected to life with the two smaller D's this week. The two children who were not given heat sensors at birth, evidently. The two children who think that single degree temperatures are just perfect for skating, sledding, and generally playing in the snow.

It's not a bad way to grow up, actually.

And we are betting on who will be the first person to see someone in a short-sleeved T-shirt or shorts tomorrow. When the temps go up 40+ degrees in one day, people get a little crazy. I, myself, have gone running in shorts on the first 40 degree day of the spring. It just feels so much warmer than -10.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dear local media:

I realize that there is a big football game in Wisconsin this weekend. Really, I do. And the sports page should be ALL about that. I get it.

But it seems that over the course of the last few days, *all* the news is about the Packers. I turned on the TV this morning to get today's weather. But alas, all I could get was the forecast for the Packer game tomorrow night.

Then the Governor came on the news. There's been lots of news about the state budget lately, so I stayed to listen. Did he make a comment about the budget? No. But he *did* tell us what he'd be wearing for the Packer game on Sunday.

(Hopefully something warm. The forecast this weekend is for - 20 wind chills.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

clean sweep

Normally, as a rule, I try not to make threats that I can't follow through on. But sometimes....sometimes, the opportunity presented is just too great.

My entire family arrives in 2 days for a wonderful long-weekend visit. My sister will be staying in our basement guest room, otherwise known as the kids' playroom. Imagine a room that can go from perfectly clean to "wall-to-wall" legos and playmobil in a matter of minutes. Visualize a room that can be vacuumed and dusted and cleaned...but before you can say "Lego Hogwarts Castle" - the toys are back out again and you can't see the floor.

Yep, that's the room she is staying in.

I tried all weekend to get them to clean up the toys. Finally, I signed and said, "Oh well, if this room doesn't get clean, I guess Auntie I. will have to cancel her ticket. She can't possibly stay with us if she can't walk to her bed."

It was clean in 30 minutes. Like magic.

Now to convince son D. not to wake her up at 6 am every day with a drum solo...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Primary colors

Seen over at DivaMom's blog.. (warning for those at work: music on the page)

I never turn down a time-wasting political internet quiz. In previous ones, I kept getting matched with Mike Gravel. (who I knew almost nothing about.) So I was glad to see a different result on this one!

You'll notice she and I are pretty much exactly opposite! Funny how that happens. We grew up together in DC. After college, she went off to be a performer, married another performer, and then they moved to Las Vegas. I married the boy-next-door (whose mother worked for a Republican Congressman) and moved to the midwest.

So, how did I end up the Lefty? And she turned into the Conservative?

84% Barack Obama
83% Bill Richardson
82% John Edwards
81% Hillary Clinton
77% Chris Dodd
72% Dennis Kucinich
72% Joe Biden
72% Mike Gravel
44% Rudy Giuliani
41% John McCain
34% Mitt Romney
32% Mike Huckabee
28% Tom Tancredo
22% Ron Paul
21% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another exciting night

Well, this is shaking out just as I'd hoped. Obama wins Iowa...Clinton wins NH.

The next piece of the puzzle we need to fit in is for Edwards to win SC.

Then - by the time the primaries end up here in Wisconsin (at the ungodly late date of mid-February - gasp!) - we might matter. Our votes might actually count for something.

It would have been cool for a 1-2 punch Obama victory. But it is so much more interesting this way.

I haven't been this excited about politics since a summer day in 1990 when my dad and I were sent off to get caffeine-free diet coke for a still relatively unknown Bill Clinton who was at a BBQ at a neighbor's house. He shook my hand and talked to me (very briefly) and I got goosebumps. He was so charismatic and persuasive.

If nothing else, Obama gives the best speeches. Goosebumps, all over again.

And if the writers strike sticks around, at least we'll have interesting politics to watch.

Friday, January 4, 2008

He had me at "They Said...."

Wow. What a night. What a speech.

Obama looked and sounded absolutely presidential.

Clinton sounded like a robot to me. A political machine gearing up for the next round.

Edwards disappointed me. He came across as whiny. (And as the mother of a 5 year old boy who has practically invented the art of whining, I don't want to hear any more whining. Especially from my president.) I was hoping for better from him.

I was enjoying Huckabee's speech, until Husband D. surfed to the Wikipedia article on Gomer Pyle while the Huckster was speaking and that kind of ruined it for me.

I didn't catch Romney, (except for his ridiculous quip on how he got "silver") but his website is so scary that I don't really need to hear his speeches to know how I feel on him.

I'm hoping that Ron Paul makes a strong showing in New Hampshire. I don't really agree with him on much, but I'm routing for him.

I'm actually quite surprised by Obama's win. We've spent a fair bit of time in Iowa since moving to the Midwest. It's a very homogeneous place. I really thought they would go for Edwards.

The best news, to me, is that Clinton no longer has this thing locked up. Just a few months ago, the media made it sound like she was the de-facto nominee and nothing could get in her way.

Surprise! Americans actually think about the issues and care about who leads us.

Thanks, Iowa.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How did we follow politics before the web?

I keep refreshing this web page.

Every time I do, Obama gets a little bit ahead. Yippee!

What I'd love to see?

Obama in first
Edwards a very close second
Hillary a very far away third

I guess we'll know in an hour or two.

Last night, Daughter D asked "Mama, when's Daddy getting home?"
I answered: "Soon, why?"
D: "Because I need someone to explain the periodic table of the elements to me and it looks like science and math so you probably shouldn't try."

So, I was particularly happy to hear this exchange tonight:

D: "Daddy, what's a caucus?"
him: "Go ask your mother."

Between the two of us, we should have her education covered.

Back to caucus-results-stalking for me. You know it's something when I actually - for a split second - think "gee, it would be fun to live over in Iowa tonight." Do you think I could reside there for one night every four years? Husband D. suggested that I could drive over for the evening and try to convince someone I lived there. I'm not sure that would be legal, though.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ice Ice Baby

As I type, there are two grown men on our roof, raking all of the snow off of it.

One of the downsides of getting 30+ inches of snow in 30 days is that it can form ice dams on your roof. Not being from here, I had no idea what that meant or why it is bad...until a few of our neighbors woke up to water leaking into their houses right through their ceilings. That's not fun.

I called around to buy a "roof rake" but there are none to be found within 100 miles of here. (note to self: buy roof rake next September.) I'd never even heard of roof rakes until 2 days ago. Other, more prepared, people have bought them all up.

But now that I see these guys on our roof, I'm glad I couldn't find one. There's A LOT of snow up there. They are earning their money.

Luckily we've spent the week enjoying the upsides of 30+ inches of snow: sledding, skiing, and adding to our snow fort.

Back to real life tomorrow.