Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back to Me

Must get the unpleasant aftertaste of yet another political blog out of my system.

Part of me thinks I should apologize for being anti-Palin yet again. But the bigger part of me says no - it's my blog, after all. Those who aren't interested can click away. The others who question Palin's choice - and there a lot of us, let me tell you - I can now welcome the noted left-wing liberals George Will, Kathleen Parker and Fareed Zakaria to the club - never tire of the constant edification.

Moving on.

My main contractor is not here this week; he has another job. So one of his guys is here. How funny is it that he has the radio tuned to NPR all day long?

How funny is it that my 10-year-old, when she heard us talking about the election the other day, said, Let's look at the electoral map. She went to the computer, clicked on CNN, clicked on Politics, then clicked on electoral map. She does this often, she told me.

What a great kid. Glad to know I've done something right in my parenting.

The bathroom is nearing completion - we have working sinks, shower and bathtub. There is now shower door, so we can't really use it. But wow, it looks great. Medicine chests are up, lights over the vanity are up. There has been some confusion, some errors in measurement, but we're getting it taken care of. A door arrived damaged and another drawer is the wrong size. But it will all get fixed.

I love to walk in there and just look around. Pictures when it's done. Don't hold your breath just yet.

Our addition plans were approved - we had to go through the historic review board as we are in a historic neighborhood. They approved them - it's mostly a formality, but they want to make sure it looks as original as possible from the outside. And I don't want to radically change it. But I do need a bigger kitchen - trust me.

Homework crisis here last night - not pretty. Must get kids in gear.

Much to do - must go to the hardware store (yet again), to Target, to get cash. I'm always out of cash - once those girls know I have it, it's gone.

No rest for the wicked. That means me!!

More on Palin

The Sarah Palin imbroglio continues to fascinate me.

I say this as a feminist.* I say this as a Hillary Clinton supporter. I say this as a woman who has supported equal rights.

But I cannot support Sarah Palin.

It would be too easy to jump on this manufactured bandwagon, this mythical creation by the Republicans who suddenly want us to believe that they are all about rights for women.

Please. I am not that naive. If Republicans were so fair-minded, we would have seen a woman VP candidate long before this. We would have seen much more leadership in the Republican party by qualified women.

Sarah Palin was a last-minute pick for VP. It's pretty clear, according to McCain insiders, that his first choices were Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge, both of whom were rejected because of their pro-choice views. It was decided somewhere along the way - apparently in the last days of the Democratic convention - that McCain needed someone to shore up the commitment of the conservative base of the GOP, someone who could excite the party, speak their language of the far right.

A woman he had met exactly twice - once to offer her the job.

All of which is fine, theoretically. Where McCain erred was in choosing an unproven, under-qualified woman. A woman who, McCain believed, would lure disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters over to his side.

Which offends me to the core. I resent the suggestion that women would vote for a woman based solely on gender. That women would vote against their principles just to vote for a woman. The very idea that Palin and Clinton are interchangeable is ludicrous - their stance on the issues could not be further apart.

And I - and other women I know - cannot support a candidate who does not support a woman's right to choose, does not support health care for all, who continues to espouse a belief in abstinence-only sex education (when it clearly does not work - read the latest research).

Palin is a token woman. She was chosen on the basis of her gender - and her purported far-right credentials - alone. And for people who argue that criticism of her is sexist, I beg to differ.

There are many, many women in the Republican party that could have been nominated. And had the woman on the ticket been Olympia Snowe, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Elizabeth Dole, or Condoleezza Rice, we would not be having this discussion. None of these women smacks of inexperience, as they all have proven track records of experience and of knowing their stuff.

Which you cannot say about Palin. Watch as she uncomfortably squirms her way through her interviews with Katie Couric of CBS News. Listen to the lack of substance in her answers - hell, listen to the way she does not answer the questions period. This woman is woefully unprepared. And the way the campaign is handling her exposure to the press is baffling - generally, she is off limits to reporters, who are not allowed to approach her, yet she is turned loose for lengthy interviews to a few selected high-profile news outlets, interviews she is clearly unprepared for.

She lacks a clear understanding of economics, of foreign affairs. She simply does not grasp the complicated issues that are of the utmost importance at this time.

You can't say that about McCain, Obama, or Biden - each of them sits for the press, answers questions, and takes their dues for the answers they give. If Palin truly is qualified for this job, then why is she deemed not ready to deal with reporters? Is the media tougher to deal with than, say, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

What sort of twisted logic is running this campaign? Or, dare I say, are the rules different for a woman running for this office?

It's strange. And it's sad. I do want to see a woman run this country. But I want it to be the right woman. Palin is not right for this job. McCain is 71, and he has had several bouts with melanoma. I can't imagine that his five years in a POW camp are going to lengthen his life expectancy.

And I'm troubled by the process he used to choose Palin - the lack of vetting, the haphazardness of his decision making.

Which says nothing about Palin herself. But I think in her canned speech, her inconsistencies, her lack of speaking to the press, she has spoken volumes. The country deserves better.

But you be the judge. I leave you with Palin answering questions from Katie Couric. Palin was on again last night, with McCain, trying to explain why her comments contradict his. I didn't get a very satisfactory response. In this clip, listen for her answer to the Wall Street bailout question. And tell me honestly if you think this woman is ready to lead the country.

I think you and I both know the answer. But you listen for yourself.

*Being a feminist is not, repeat NOT, a dirty word. It's simply "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." Who isn't a feminist?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stream of consciousness

Random thoughts:

• Why do people name their kids names like Cody? Tristan? Track? Trig? They sound made up. A distant relative of my husband's spells her daughter's name DeStyne.

(Honest to goodness, I saw siblings pictured once named Dakota and Cody. Yeesh.)

• Is it possible to walk through Target, the grocery, the library without holding a mobile cellular device to one's head?

• When will Americans wake up to the energy crisis and start driving fuel-efficient cars?

• Or walking more, or living closer to where they work?

• Why is Jessica Simpson famous?

• Ditto Miley Cyrus?

• Why do the boys of summer drag that game into October?

• If we are such big believers in deregulation, then why are we, taxpayers, being asked to bail out the mess on Wall Street? Seems to me if government regulation is "interference" and a bad thing, then a government bail-out would be equal "interference."

• And $25 million-plus salary holders should be helping with the bail-out, not holding their hands out.

• How can Sarah Palin be qualified to lead the country, yet unqualified to talk to the press?

• What is the force that causes my desk to be constantly cluttered with papers, regardless of how often I tidy it?

• Who gave my kids permission load up the DVR, fouling up my scheduled recordings?

Answers? Anyone?

Monday, ordinary, any day

Monday morning.

What to say.

Gary is gone this week - at some meeting or training or something else business-related in San Antonio. He left the house at 4.30 a.m. for a 6.30 a.m. flight. Unfortunately, I never did get back to sleep after the 4 a.m. wake-up. So I am feeling not so awake today.

It will be tough to get Sylvia to soccer practice this week - I need to take Alison to a college fair on Wednesday and Friday there are myriad things going on. Sometimes, something has to give.

College fair. Eeesh. When did my daughter get so old?

Watched the debate Friday night. Didn't hear anything new, but I certainly did not change my mind. What I really liked was watching on CNN, where they kept "score." Each of their consultants had a little chart on the edge of the screen, where they could either give or deduct points from each candidate. Some were more into than others - one guy (forgot his name) had Obama and McCain each with +7 and -7. Made the tallying easy - I just left his score out. But according to those people, Obama clearly won, getting much more credit for good comments and fewer deductions for errors or misinformation.

We are going to be so ready for Thursday night ... except that Gary will not be here, so I'll have to watch alone. Sad - I'll have to let Alison stay up and watch with me.

So ... Friday night it was just Gary, Sylvia, and I, so we went out to dinner. Came home and watched the debate. Saturday Gary took the girls to the Feast of the Hunters Moon. Somehow, even though the food is great, I suddenly felt that I just couldn't face a day of wandering through a field, looking at tents full of 18th-century wares, and watching various fife and drum corps (just what is the plural of "corps" anyway?).

So I stayed home and straightened up the living room. Looks great. Yes, it's the same old furniture; no, the leaded glass doors have not been replaced. Yes, the ugly carpet is still there. But the room looks presentable, none the less. Gary came home and we moved some furniture, hung a bunch of stuff on the walls, so our house feels much more put together.

Saturday night we decided not to go to the movies, but stayed in, made popcorn, watched television. Big night, I know.

Sunday we went to church, which had what felt like the l-o-n-g-e-s-t ever session of Joys and Sorrows. Honestly, it went on for 15 minutes. That has to change - I could see a woman I know absolutely cringing during the entire thing - I'm pretty sure she would have bolted it she could have.

So, Sunday afternoon Gary and I went to a fund-raiser for local candidates. It was fun - not a big crowd, but I got to chat with some friends. One of the women I just played Mah Jongg with was there. She is a formidable woman (she puts in my place immediately, tells me just how I should be doing things - how to wear my nametag, for example). She is somewhat prominent in the community (her family owns a well-known business), is very active in different groups.

She scares me a little. But in a good way. I think.

And last night, I watched Gary pack his suitcase, did some laundry, and watched Mad Men.

Fun stuff, I know. But it's in the mundane that we live most of our lives, isn't it? I have to say, I'll take my mundane over others' excitement. Any day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flying Time

Is it Wednesday so soon?

It's been a busy week. I guess feeling time fleeting past is a good thing - if I were bored, time would crawl.

But I am anything but bored these days.

On Monday, I got up early and got all dressed up (read: nice capris and sandals) to go see JANE PAULEY stumping for BARACK OBAMA.

This event combined several of my favorite things: Politics. The presidential race. Seeing fun people. Spending half the day with JoAnn. And Jane Pauley.

I used to be a huge Jane Pauley fan - not quite sure why, but I was. Particularly when I was in college. It was a combination of familiarity - I watched the Today show in the mornings as I got dressed, going way back before she even started on the show - and my burgeoning journalism career. I felt that she really got the short end of the stick when she left Today. Plus, her husband is so cute (!)

Anyway, I was thrilled that she was in town, campaigning for Obama. Which leads to my second disclosure: I love presidential campaigns. I love politics - find it all fascinating - and I truly love the campaign season. It only happens every four years, and I love watching the debates, reading the analysis, being part of the electorate. I love our system of government, and I love being an informed voter. I know, many people think it carries on too long. Sorry - I am loving every minutes.

Especially now that Obama is ahead - !

I also loved seeing who was at this event that I knew - I enjoy seeing friends and seeing which local "celebrities" (or what passes for a celebrity in this town) are there.

Pauley was good - she was the facilitator for a panel discussion on economics, which included my former neighbor. She reminded us that we are all one cancer diagnosis from bankruptcy - and they have insurance. Sad tale. The econ professor from Purdue watered down his explanation of the current financial Armageddon so that people like me can understand it. Bottom line: Not so good.

Afterward, JoAnn and I went to lunch. At the student union. I felt like an undergrad again. In better shoes.

Yesterday was a day of running errands, stuff around the house. Playing catch up. Reading The Moffats, which Sylvia got for her birthday. I love Eleanor Estes.

And today, more errands. Went grocery shopping, complete with my reusable bags. I love those bags. I've had to work very hard at remembering to use them, but I am totally trained. And I've barely gotten any grocery sacks at the store this year - very impressive. I only end up with them if I make an unscheduled stop at the store, which does happen. But the bag can be recycled.

And today, also, I painted. This is my contribution to out new bathroom: Painting. Yesterday, it was me who got Gary up there with the roller to paint the big wall. And today, it was me - not the executive we, but me - who primed and painted all the trim. It looks great. But really, how hard is it to paint baseboards and molding when they are not even on the wall yet?

So. It's late (after 9) and I am beat. And I'm sure tomorrow will be just as much fun as today. Better get some rest.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Winding down

It's been a good weekend.

OK, so not a lot of stuff got done. I've done some re-evaluating on our living conditions and decided that, despite the ongoing construction, a few more things need to get organized. And there is no reason, really, why our living room can't be in better shape.

But this weekend it was not meant to be. Because we were too busy having fun. Including, but not limited to:

• Game night Friday night. At church. Our church has lots of fun people. If you don't believe me, just ask anyone. Anyone at all - our church is renowned for having lots of good musicians and just generally fascinating folk. I enjoyed chatting with several good friends.

* Purdue game Saturday. And what a game - Purdue won, but barely, over Central Michigan University. The CMU quarterback is good. And Purdue could not seem to get to him. But somehow they got it together with a fantastic run for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the game - all they really needed was a field goal, but the touchdown made it a little more difficult for CMU to come back. Went for the two-point conversion just to make sure. And then, when CMU had the ball, moving rapidly down the field (I tell you, they were playing well), Purdue intercepted the ball with just 10 seconds left - Maddie and I had sore throats and stinging hands. What a game.

* BFF Helen and Dan came over Saturday night to enjoy our firepit with some gin & tonics. Note: Must get Helen fired from her job so she has more time to play with me.

• Church this morning, where I successfully eluded the kitchen dominatrix and entered the church kitchen. It was a bold and daring display, somewhat rash, carried off with reckless abandon, and right under her nose. I am so proud. Trust me, you have no idea what this feat truly entailed. And I have a witness, lest you doubt my account.

• Canvassed for Obama. According to the Indianapolis Star, Obama has a slight - slight - lead over McCain at the moment. It's one poll; it's subject to change. But it is enough to rally the troops. So we hit the pavement, knocking on doors. We got a few people who were McCain supporters, yet with one notable exception, they were polite (she was something else). Most people were either strongly for Obama or leaning Obama.

Exciting times.

So this evening, I'm home, resting my tired feet, planning my visit to Purdue tomorrow to see Jane Pauley.

As my friend Gale said in her blog, how ironic that, while our country is in the midst of economic upheaval, not to mention any number of other societal ills, my own personal life is nothing but good. Which is why I am working for Obama - I'd like to share the love.

Life is sweet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy, Happy

It's been a week full of good things. Positive notes. Reasons to be ... well, reasons to be happy.

Happy, happy.

So happy I am.

Let's see. We celebrated a birthday - that's always a good thing. Alison celebrated with a dinner of fettuccine alfredo and poppyseed cake (mmm, my favorite).

I won three times playing Mah Jongg on Tuesday - three times? I know! I came home 40 cents richer.

I actually got busy and walked one day this week, joining JoAnn and her friend. Need to make it a habit.

Found the missing fireplace remote control - it belongs to our Texas house, and the packers had set it aside. Then the actual movers showed up to load the truck, and for some unknown reason, they threw it in a box. Today I uncovered it, so I will not need to pay for a new one.

My bathroom is coming along - the tub and shower are completely tiled and look fabulous. Gary and I (mostly Gary) chose the accent tile and it looks fantastic. They started on floor tile today. Counting down the days til we are back to a (for us) normal number of bathrooms.

Then work will begin on our new kitchen - so excited.

And today, found a necessary piece for my Halloween costume. Came up with a fun idea, which I will be wearing to the party JoAnn and I are hosting.

Which, in turn, inspired me to clean up around here a bit. I've been using the renovation as an excuse, but let's face it - I could get a few more things put away. I even flew into a frenzy of dusting and vacuuming - and the party isn't for a month. I am way ahead of schedule there ... after all, my house will look like a haunted house. A few cobwebs will only add to the ambience.

It is 80 degrees and sunny. Just beautiful, with more expected this weekend. Tomorrow night is game night; PU game on Saturday.

Happy, happy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

It was 17 years ago today that I began my journey through the world of parenting.

I was woefully unprepared.

Not unprepared for the amount of work - it is staggering, but that did not come as a surprise. No, the surprise lay in the amount of joy, in the fulfillment that being a parent to my daughter would bring.

Alison made her debut at 12.05 p.m. on Monday, September 16, 1991. She arrived a full 12 days past her anticipated due date - 12 long and grueling days, during which I endured doctor visits, non-stress tests, ultrasounds, and being poked and prodded in every imaginable way to ascertain whether or not this little person was better off where she was or should be forced into the world against her will.

I was all for encouraging her. The doctor felt otherwise. And maybe it was just as well, because she decided on her own, her arrival was fairly speedy. She was perfect - a whopping 8 lbs. 14 oz., an absolutely gorgeous baby girl.

I entered into some parts of parenting with a great deal of naivete. I truly believed that how your children turned out was in all how you reared them - I honestly thought that if I just taught her to be a good person, she would be.

How little I knew, in those early days, about how children learn and about their genetic predispositions. Fortunately, Alison was gentle as she taught me how life really works and about how babies turn into toddlers and become themselves.

It's hard to believe she is 17 years old today. She has grown into an amazing young woman - bright, articulate, funny, and generally a delight to be around. She would make any parent proud.

She is not perfect - really, what teenager is? - but in the grand scheme of things, she does not cause us great concern. Sure, she could make her bed, pick up her room, put dirty clothes in the hamper. The green Jetta she drives seems to sport new dings every other day. She promises to do something around the house and forgets within minutes.

But these are minor annoyances. She is thoughtful and treats her sisters well; she is kind to her friends - and there are many - and pleasant to be around. She won't friend me on Facebook, but in person, she treats us with respect. She is truly the kind of young woman everyone likes.

And she plans to help me with my Halloween costume - but I'll be keeping that a secret for a while longer.

She is one of the reasons I became a parent a second and even a third time - she has made this part of my life pure joy. Happy Birthday to my eldest daughter - thanks for being you.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I woke up today to the sound of a barking dog. Loud barking. Early in the morning. So annoying.

It was my dog. In my yard.

We're not sure what possessed her - she barked all morning until the girls left for school. We put her in the crate and that seemed to help a bit, but she's been off all day. She barked this evening, even after her walk. Our contractor was here only briefly this morning - he and Zoe have formed a close bond. I wonder if she was missing him.


For a Monday, I wasn't terribly productive. I ran to the hardware store to pick up grout and some tile pieces, stopped at Target for eggs and yogurt. Put together the application for the historic review board, which included running to the copy shop. Came home where I proceeded to ... well, not much. I did some laundry, did the crossword puzzle, dinked around a bit. Changed some sheets. Went to the grocery store and bought a birthday gift.

(Hmmm ... looks better when it's all written down. I still felt as if putzed around much of the day.)

I blame it on living under construction. It's hard for me to get motivated. I can't possibly keep the house really clean, so I've sort of given up. We do the bare minimum and pretty much don't worry about the rest - there will be time for that when the house is done.

So, tomorrow I will be busy, but it won't be doing housework. I am helping with a newsletter in the morning, then playing Mah Jongg in the afternoon. Should be fun - I am all oyfgehaytert.

The dog is quiet. Let's hope she stays that way.

Black and gold

There is nothing like a football weekend.

We live on the other side of the river from campus, so the flurry of activity that corresponds with a football weekend really touches us only tangentially. Unless, that is, we venture across the Wabash into West Lafayette. Which we do by choice, as we have season tickets.

But entering a maelstrom of chaos by choice makes it fun, rather than a hassle.

And truth be told, I love a football weekend. I love the crowds, the sights, the smells. I love to walk past the tailgating fans, to enter a stadium filled with cheering fans, all in black and gold. I love to listen to the band, yell with the crowd, watch the plays. It's even better when your team wins. The Boilers were way ahead in the first few minutes of the game. Yet they couldn't hold onto their victory. It slipped away, through two overtimes. The Oregon Ducks won by six points.

It's funny, sort of surreal, if you think about it, to watch grown men and women shouting, "One, two, three, four, first down," complete with hand motions, along with a man dressed as Purdue Pete. We exchange high fives with everyone around us when there's a good play. We analyze each move with our new best friends who sit next to us.

All in the name of football.

We avoid the hassles of parking by riding the free trolley to the game. The trolley runs between downtown Lafayette and the Purdue campus, and we are a just a few short blocks from downtown. We get a nice little tour of campus as we ride, going past the dorms on the edge of campus, the vet school, the basketball arena.

And inexplicably, on Saturday I was possessed by a sudden and overpowering yearning for my college days back at Mizzou.

I have never felt that longing before, that intense sensation. I've always harbored fond memories of my days at the University of Missouri. When friends would talk about how much fun college was, I would agree, but I've felt content that those days were past. But not on Saturday. I was filled with an intense longing for Faurot Field, for football Saturdays when we all trooped over to the stadium en masse, when the entire campus was possessed with Tiger mania. One year my dorm had seats right behind Marching Mizzou, so we spent the whole game "in" on all their antics.

After the game, it was all about partying or hanging out with friends, either celebrating a victory or lamenting a loss - in my case, usually the latter, as the old Tigers were not playing their best in the years I was at Mizzou.

I'm sure my memories are vague and cloudy; I'm viewing many, many football Saturdays inextricably intertwined in the hazy recesses of my mind. They are important years, the college ones, years in which my sense of self was defined.

I want my daughter to have that same experience. I want her to go to a school where she can become involved and turn into the adult she is meant to be.

I am also making plans to get back to Missouri for a game. It won't be this year, but next year we will be up for it. We will have morphed into those alumni we, students, ignored, that we found desperado-ish.

Not that it matters. Those kids will look back in 20 years just as I do, with a great affection and fond memories. They will return to college games as an adult and remember their youth. They will smile, as I do, at what has transpired in the intervening years. And they will know that these are the moments that make up our lives.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, Saturday, this & that

It's 9.15 a.m. Gary has Sylvia at her soccer game; I am up, in my sweats, waiting for the garage door repair guy to show up.

It's rainy here. It will likely be rainy for a while, as we get residual rainfall from Ike. I've watched the news, read CNN, checked the Houston Chronicle online. Nearly 4 million people are without power, but I'm thinking that does apply to my former neighborhood. I sent a couple e-mails to friends, but I won't necessarily get an answer, will I? Gary will have to text Bart and see how everyone is doing.

Last night Maddie was supposed to march with the high school band (they always invite the eighth-graders to join them one night). But it got rained out, so we skipped the game. Alison went, but Sylvia had soccer til 7.30 and I was not up for sitting in the drizzle. We ate at Little Mexico Too - not the greatest Mexican food, but not bad, either. Came home, and some friends called, so we walked down to the Checkerboard for a drink.

Now the Checkerboard is a bar. Not some swanky downtown establishment with black and chrome and a view, but a neighborhood bar. The kind that managed to opt out of the citywide smoking ban. The kind that serves food that I can't, or won't, eat. The kind of bar that never heard of a Cosmo. It's definitely fun. We have a couple of other nearby neighborhood bars, but I'm not sure I would dare venture in the Local Bar. The Biltmore, maybe. But the Checkerboard is a good place to sit and have a drink with friends.

This is what I like about living in a more urban environment - or what passes for urban in a university town. I like walking downtown, to other nearby businesses. I like the older feel of the area - houses that have been here for more than 100 years, the sense of history. I like the tall, stately trees, the varied architecture.

But what it's really about is the sense of community, something I did not feel in the suburbs. Perhaps others did. And maybe it was just me. Or maybe it just wasn't a good fit for us.

I'm rambling. Gary has allergies, and I am not feeling that great myself - I slept dreadfully last night. Luckily the garage door repair guy does not require me to look, or feel, good.

I'm contemplating eating a bagel for breakfast. After that, the day is full of possibilities. Purdue game isn't til 3, so we have time to decide who goes. I think it will be me and Gary.

Tea pot is calling me. The day awaits.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sending positive vibes to friends and former neighbors in Houston - Ike looks like it will be a big one.

We lived roughly 100 miles from the coast - people in those areas are encouraged not to evacuate, but to sit tight, loaded up with enough supplies (batteries, water, food, the necessities). Thrown the patio furniture in the pool, secure heavy objects, and be prepared for some winds and rain. But it's worse to get caught in the traffic and gasoline lines - staying put is your best bet unless you can evacuate days ahead of time.

The worst that will happen to our former area is loss of electricity; no real flooding worries out in NW Houston. Still, it can be harrowing. Stay safe, friends!

Friday: In which the day starts off with promise. And rain.

I'm trying today to table some of my cynical thoughts. Thus there is no mention of terrorist attacks, memorials, or Iraq in this post, none of my thoughts.

However, I will comment on Ms. Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson. So far, I've only seen what was aired at 6.30 last night. She's a quick study - it's clear she's been tutored heavily over the last several days (why else the hands-off issue to the press?). But it's clear that she still does not have a comprehensive understanding of U.S. foreign policy. Sure, she can throw out the name of a couple of world leaders. But she has a very basic, very simplistic understanding of where we stand and how hypothetical situations - which could easily be reality - should be handled.

She had no idea - none - what the Bush Doctrine is. She is clearly lacking the knowledge - or, dare we say, the experience - for this job.

I probably am, too. The difference, of course, is I'm not running or claiming that I'm ready.

Went to book group last night: We read Lolita. I'd read it a long time ago, but it was worth the discussion. There was some talk of the author vs. the narrator, and I restrained myself from getting into a deep philosophical debate, bringing up Foucault, and opening that entire discourse. I was content to let others hash some of that out, rather half-heartedly, I might add - getting into heavy theory is not that what this group is about. But it would be worth reading more of the criticism of this book - I do wonder what sort of response it was intended to elicit. It's not just about making us uncomfortable - it's clearly about watching this character's descent into madness and his break with reality.

Lest you think the group is all into only really highbrow works, we'll be reading Eat, Pray, Love in December. I heard one review that was awful - we shall see.

Must run to the hardware store to buy a soap dish. Must mop the kitchen floor. Must get ready to paint - ! - the bathroom. (I've taken on that job myself.) School project to oversee this weekend, football game - high school and Purdue - soccer game, lunch plans on Sunday, a little campaign canvassing on Sunday evening.

I'm tired before it begins.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mmmmm, peppers ....

Neighborhood potluck last night. I whipped up one of Gary's specialties, a corn salsa. He alters the recipe a bit, so I called to confirm before I ran to the grocery store.

How can serrano pepper sound like habanero?

They don't, of course. But I had habanero in my head. (This isn't my recipe - it's his.) So I added not one, but two habaneros to the salsa.

Maddie was not very happy with me when she took a bite. I thought it was OK; my friend liked it. I figured it was a little taste surprise for those who ate it. It is such a pretty salsa - yellow, purple from the onion, red from pepper, green from cilantro. And it smells soooo good.

Potluck was lots of fun - hanging out, eating in the little cul-de-sac behind us (it's an alley that has morphed into a street - I imagine there were carriage houses there at one time). Good food, good company.

But last night? Gary had to help me take my contacts out - !

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My love affair with Maureen Dowd

I love Maureen Dowd. She is right on the money, as usual.


I got so wrapped up in my wretched Monday (well, that might be a bit of hyperbole) that I never talked about how fun the weekend was. No matter - because next weekend will likely be just as fun. I'm guessing. Because I am living in a neighborhood I like, going to church with great people, and in general surrounded by a great and supportive community.


Yesterday I got my hair cut. My relationship with my hair service-providers has been tumultuous (more hyperbole). Maybe I am difficult to please; I don't know. But I don't think I am unreasonable.

• Went to Melissa in Peoria for years. Liked her well enough. Then one appointment I said I was ready for something different and did she have any suggestions. "Don't look at me," was her response.

Wait a minute. Who is the professional in this scenario? We moved soon after that, so I didn't have to make the painful decision of whether or not to fire her.

• Shortly after moving to Lafayette, I found Sarah. I quite liked her - about my age, really liked the way she did my hair. She moved to another shop at one point, which was not nearly as nice as her previous place of employment (and had quite the groovy name: Tanglez and Bangz - nice), but it allowed her to set her own hours, which I understood. Went there even after we moved back from Germany. She was usually fun to talk to and, as I already said, I liked the hair cut.

But. And you knew there would be a but.

Turn out she was very good friends with someone I also know quite well - they had grown up together. And this mutual friend went through some significant personal problems. I knew about it before Sarah did. And when Sarah found out, she started pumping me for information. It all became a bit gossipy. And she did not like this friend's sister - whom I had the opportunity to meet on several occasions. The sister seemed fine, but Sarah despised her, for some indiscretion that went back to something like fifth grade. She called her a fat cow (I'm pretty sure she looks about like I do - what was that saying about me?), could not get over whatever this 25-year-old rift.

More importantly, I went back to work at the local newspaper, a job I really loved. When I told her, she said congratulations, then went on to talk about how much she hates the local paper, what a piece of trash it is, how it's all wrong all the time and she never reads it. Comments I will not even respond to - some criticism is likely valid, but come on, all wrong, all the time?

(And as a side note, until you've spent your days putting every bit of information into any part of a newspaper, you may hold your criticism. I've read enough people's blogs full of typos and misplaced commas, people who like to think they are above making grammatical errors, that I'd like to see any one of them catch every mistake every day in a daily paper that runs from 30-50 pages. Once they've churned out error-free copy for even one week, ON DEADLINE, much less years, then we'll talk.)

Back to the issue at hand. Mostly I just nodded. I came back for my next appointment and she asked how work was. Great, I said - I love it. Then she went into her anti-newspaper diatribe AGAIN.

Now. She has every right to her opinion. What bothered me was her lack of discernment, her total disregard of social acumen. As a business woman, does she not know how best to talk to her clients? I would never, ever come in and make disparaging comments about her or her husband's job, her decisions in child-rearing (and some, to me, were questionable, but it really was not my place to openly judge her). I decided it was time to move on.

Which I did, to a place recommended by a friend (Terry has lovely hair - yet oddly enough, she always told me how great my hair looked!) Her guy was OK, but he's one of those male hairdressers who thinks he knows better than you how you really want to look. (And he was so non-chatty - let me tell you, when you're stuck in that chair for nearly three hours with those foils, a little conversation helps break up the time.)

I liked where I went in Houston, but here we are, back in Lafayette. A friend recommended a new place, owned by people who own one of the places in town with a really good reputation. Prices are the same as the older place (which some people find really swanky), but they're based on what tier of stylist you get. It's a green salon (another plus), not far away, and highly recommended - why not?

I got there, and the place is very nice inside. Very classy, very mod and chic - all new, stylists all in black. First they first offered me the complimentary massage that preceded my hair cut. I saw the $$$ rolling, but wow, it felt great. Hair was washed, and as the conditioner soaked in, I got the hand/arm massage. Hair cut, blow dry, style - and she completely understood how I wanted it styled. Make-up touch-up at the end.

It was fantastic. But my real concern was, can I really afford to do this every visit? And can I stand not to?

You won't believe the total: $30.

I was stunned - I haven't paid that little for a haircut since I don't know when. I guess my stylist was at the bottom tier, but I don't care. She was very pleasant, and I plan to take the girls there, even (they have a separate price schedule for kids).

Most importantly? I love the way she cut my hair - it looks great!

So, mark one concern off my list of anxieties. I'm sure something else will take its place, but for now, so happy!

Monday, September 08, 2008

I Hate Mondays

I got my People magazine in the mail today. And let me tell you, the last thing I want to see right now is a People magazine.

First of all, I am supposed to get it on Friday. It is the perfect item to use for winding down on Friday afternoon - light and superficial articles on vapid celebrities. But for some reason, I didn't get it until Monday. And Monday is a day of business, not a day when I read about how thin celebrities are and how cute their babies are. I have my own children. And no one gave me a medal for losing the baby weight. (Which I did, by the way. Just in case you're wondering.)

Today I have dealt with a child who missed the bus - the bus that arrived more than 5 minutes early. Said bus picks up at our door - there is no reason to be ready five full minutes early. Usually we are sitting outside waiting. But rather than stress about it today, making her rush, I just drove her to school. Not a big deal; I don't want her to start her day all frazzled.

Then I had to deal with a snippy Verizon phone rep who had to explain just why my phone bill is so high. (Answer: I am still being charged for transferring my service - those charges are spread out over two bills. Annoying.) Then she wants to know which state I moved from - why was this relevant, I asked? Oh, she's just making conversation.

You know, I didn't call you for chit chat - I have friends for that. Stick to business, OK?

Then this People magazine arrives. With our new VP candidate on the cover, extolling the virtues of her "choice" to have her baby with Down Syndrome, and her daughter's "choice" to keep her baby.

But according to her, there is no "choice" - she believes terminating a pregnancy would be wrong. So when she talks about how she took the moral high ground, she must realize this is a choice she would not allow other women. Those of us who truly are pro-choice would never, ever deny a woman the right to have her baby. What if someone were to decide that certain women should not have babies, that certain types of babies should never be born? I don't want the government to have that kind of power, either. It's truly about who decides, which is why I want it left in the hands of the woman. I want women like Palin to have that right. Too bad she doesn't see it that way.

I've been interrupted, and my head is sort of spinning. And that's enough anti-Palin for today.

These aren't really reasons for hating Monday - most of the day was OK. My tile selection will look great in the bathroom, I volunteered for a bit today, took care of some other details. Plus I don't hate just Mondays - I am equal-opportunity hater, and I'll leave open the option to hate any other day of the week. For now, I think I'll take control and turn today around.

Friday, September 05, 2008

New look, new blog

After more than two years, hundreds of posts, I decided it was time for a face lift. After all, all those women in my old subdivision were putting away money for their boob jobs - why shouldn't I indulge with a new look for the old blog?

(Putting away money for boob jobs? Says a lot about some people's values.)

Also, check out my friend Gale's blog, linked to your left. Sure, I like it - it's more ranting - even rational - about our new pol, Sarah Palin. I won't say more on that, because I think Gale covers it pretty well. But even if you don't agree with Gale, you'll enjoy her writing - she is sharp, witty, and one of the reasons I am so glad to be back in Lafayette, Indiana. I was sorely lacking in fun women friends in the heart of Texas.

I lied - I will get back to Sarah Palin. But not today.

I don't link to a lot of blogs. I read a ton. But I only link a couple. Partly because 1) Some of the blogs I read are people I don't know that well and I would feel as if I am stalking them; 2) Some I read because they fill me with righteous indignation, so I can't actually link to them; and 3) Some of them are people I really do stalk in blog - I can hardly link to them!

Many of my very favorite people do not blog. Hmmm. Not sure what this says about them. Or me. I won't name names - I'm sure you know who you are. (Peter.) (There are others.) So I will continue to surreptitiously enjoy others' ranting.

But Gale is out in the open. I'm so pleased she has joined the blogosphere. Welcome!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rainy day

The rainy weather blew in yesterday. I was in the pool (thanks to a call from a friend) early in the day - good thing, as the rains came shortly after that.

I'm OK with fall being here - I am happy to switch gears.

This short week has totally thrown me off. I am never quite sure what day it is. So every day when I wake up, I am caught off guard about what it is I have to do, appointments I have.

I had some time to kill this morning, so I walked through Macy's. Our local mall is so sad ... but sometimes I like Macy's. I found a couple cute things today, including a winter coat. Hard to believe I need one. Well, "need" might be strong, but I definitely want one.

But I didn't buy much - we're spending enough on the house that new clothes seem a bit lower on the priority list.

Caught Sarah Palin at the convention last night. She "electrified" and "energized" the crowd according to some reports; others called her "shrill" and "aggressively partisan." Either way, she didn't change my opinion of her.

Sure, she can speak to and energize a crowd - score one point. But it's not her presentation that ever had me concerned. I don't want to be her friend - I don't care how funny or clever she is on the podium.

It isn't about her family or her daughter's pregnancy. I don't doubt for one moment that she loves her children, and I imagine she and her husband have figured out a way to handle the childcare issue.

It is about the policies she advocates: her anti-choice position, abstinence-only sex education, drilling for oil in ANWR, her relationship with lobbyists (which she says she is against, but was happy to use and, in fact, lauded when she was mayor of Wasilla). No recognition of same-sex couples, the teaching of creation in schools, the lack of health care for all Americans, lack of funding for alternative energy sources,and a lack of real change in the way people are treated in this country.

I didn't care, either, for the mocking tone during her - or Rudy Giuliani's - speech. I didn't hear that when Mike Huckabee spoke; he did not mock or make sarcastic comments about Barack Obama or Joe Biden. And I didn't hear it when Obama and Biden spoke. I didn't hear it when Bill Clinton or John Kerry spoke. They all acknowledged what they know about John McCain, that he is an honorable man, but is simply not going to put policies in place that will help this country.

I don't want to hear that every criticism of Palin is sexist. She was chosen because she was a woman. But I'm not not supporting her because of her gender; it's because of the beliefs she holds, beliefs that I don't share. Somehow, Republicans want to claim that all negative comments about Palin are sexist? Talk to Hillary Clinton about that one.

I don't care how Palin dresses, her voice, her laugh, the size of her thighs or style of her shoes. None of those affect my life. But her track record in Alaska - or lack of one - is my business.

Tonight is McCain. I'll tune in; I want to hear what he has to say. But I'm not anticipating changing my mind.

I think the rain will be here for a while.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And now for something completely different ...

I tuned in to the new 90210 last night. And - I loved it!

I watched the original oh so many years ago. And I loved it, too. Well, early on, anyway - once Brenda left, not so much. I didn't watch much after that. But we got four good seasons.

I had not really planned to watch the new one. Then a friend blogged about it, and I started thinking about it. So at 8 p.m., I was there (well, actually, more like 9, so I could skip through the commercials).

Gary thinks they may be pandering a bit too much to the original fans of the show - Kelly? Brenda? Erin Silver - which I caught right away, though she may be slightly younger than that in actuality, but I can overlook it. Kelly's mother will be there next week - same actress. I can only hope they bring back everyone - after all, just what are Luke Perry and Brian Austin Greene up to, anyway?

The best part? The new characters are just like the old ones, with slight changes:

• New kids hail from Kansas, not Minnesota
• New kids are brother and sister, but not twins. And one is a minority. (Go diversity!)
• They work on the newspaper, with the Iranian guy standing in for Andrea
• Young, earnest Annie also acts, dresses badly, and she will have a fling with the cute guy
• Popular girl will be a bitch and Annie's friend, ala Kelly
• David Silver's sister has a blog (cue David with that stupid camera). God, does she have an embarrassingly bad music act, too?
• Midwestern parents will have trouble adjusting
• Though it's nice to see Lucille there, wreaking havoc

Opening credits, theme music, high school set - all the same. Different, yet the same.

I can hardly wait for next week! In all its vapidity, I love this show!

Still more on Palin

You would think I've had my say on Sarah Palin. But no - I'm not done.

The news coverage is non-abating. Personally, I think this is fair. For a couple of reasons:

• She is running for vice president. She is not a private person. Hasn't been since she entered beauty pageants and politics. Her children are a different matter, but it's all about how she has handled it.

• Palin is the one who presented herself as a wife and mother. I'm just a hockey mom, she said. She paraded her family out on the podium with her - she made her family the issue.

• It bring McCain's decision-making under question.

I have never questioned her desire to be a working mother. I believe that both parents can work. But I also believe it is very difficult for both parents to have extremely high-profile, high-stress jobs. If one parent has such a job - not just the man - then the other parent has to be around for the children. Someone has to be there, not just physically, but for all that is involved in child-rearing.

They have a special needs child. I understand that working women have babies all the time. But they don't typically return to work three days post-partum. I certainly hope her husband is there to pick up the slack - children need their parents.

I also think it's worth pointing out that the decision to have a baby extends well beyond giving birth. I refuse to laud her for her decision to give birth to her Down Syndrome baby. Many, many people with less resources than she has do this every day with no fanfare.

Because it isn't just about having the baby. It is about rearing these children, giving them everything they need. Which, those on the far-right, includes access to health care, to education, and a decent quality of life, meaning the parents must be able to earn a fair wage, live in decent housing, have transportation, and have a respectable quality of life.

Until the "pro-life" community can guarantee that to every child through the policies they are willing to support, then we can't have this discussion. And maybe we can't anyway, because we are still talking about a very personal decision, one that I'm not willing to take away from women.

And I'm bothered that someone like Palin cannot see before the evidence that abstinence-only is not working. Apparently hitting her over the head with the proverbial ton of bricks is not enough to sway her. What more evidence does she need?

McCain blew it with this one. He rushed in, chose this woman without doing the requisite background checks (he met with her exactly twice, once to offer her the job). His staff talked to few people in Alaska who knew her. The campaign claims it knew about the pregnancy, the DUI, the fishing license violation, the ethics controversy, her disputed involvement in the Alaskan Independence Party.

Palin has said she is against earmarks, but was happy to take the money when she was mayor of Wasilla. She says she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere, but in fact supported it early on. She claims she turned the money down, but it was Congress who pulled the plug. And Palin kept the money.

I don't like it said that liberals are bashing her because she is a woman. I'm concerned about the hypocrisy. Conservatives were quick to jump all over Hillary Clinton for issues that had nothing to do with her credibility. I am not commenting on what Palin looks like - I am concerned about her judgment and her experience.

If the GOP could find more dirt on Joe Biden, you bet we'd be hearing about it. Just like Fox News has been too happy to spread rumors about Barack Obama's religion and promulgating his unorthodox middle name.

In the end, much of this doesn't matter. Maybe it should, but presidents are not elected on the strength or weakness of their VP candidates. But it sure does show what they're thinking.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

And more changes

My poor girls. They have been through a lot this year.

Moving is stressful - anyone will tell you that. So here we are, new state (I know we've lived here before, but in some ways it is all new to them), new house, no bedroom for Maddie, new schools.

And now, two weeks into the year, Sylvia is being moved into a different classroom.

I've probably told this tale here before, our struggles with the local Gifted/Talented program. It's called Challenge. Alison tested in, and for a variety of reasons, we opted not to send her. When Maddie's turn came around, we turned it down again. Maybe we did it for the wrong reasons - who knows? - but we made what we felt was the best choice at the time.

In middle school, suddenly all the Challenge kids became Alison's best friends. She was put in some of their accelerated classes. Maybe it might have worked out after all (the reasons we didn't do it were many and complex). Maddie ended up in the Cypress equivalent when we moved to Texas.

But rather than second guess past decisions, we decided to re-evaluate Sylvia and her needs. Ultimately, we decided to have her attend a regular class and cluster into Challenge for only Language Arts.

Then we talked to the teachers - they wanted her in Challenge all the time. We listened to the discussion, thought about it, and finally today the decision was made: She is full-time Challenge.

She is worried about changing classes; I just hope she will fit in, that the work load won't be too much for her. On the other hand, I think she could stand to be pushed a bit.

Most importantly, we can't look back now. It's done - let's hope we made the right decision.


We have drywall!

The bathroom project is entering a new phase - the fun phase, where you really begin to see progress. Sure, I saw progress during the demolition, when they tore down the walls; I saw progress when they ran plumbing and tore into my dining room ceiling.

But this - this is exciting progress! The vanity is due in this week, and I've purchased the toilet, tub, and shower. Soon they'll be tiling, painting, installing the light fixtures.

Then we can move into the new bathroom. I can paint our bedroom. And the girls will have their own bathrooms.

Then we're on to phase two of the renovation: In which we add on to the back of the house and eventually gut the kitchen. Meaning we are without a kitchen for a month to six weeks.

It will all be worth it. But progress can be painful.


I've spent some time thinking about Sarah Palin.

A lot of time. An inordinate amount of time. This whole scenario is fascinating to me, for a number of different reasons.

I could claim that I'm really not judgmental. Which would be a lie, because we all are on some level, aren't we? (Trust me, from the blogs I read, in which people share their thoughts and opinions on every little thing, the answer is categorically Yes.

And I'm not going to claim that I am some perfect parent whose children are without flaw and who always makes the right decision, the best choices. We're human - we make mistakes.

The thing is, I'm not claiming that I'm qualified to run the country.

Palin is the governor of Alaska, pop. 683,478, which means it ranks 47 out of 50 states. That makes it smaller than Indianapolis, which is the 13th largest city in the United States. Prior to serving as governor of Alaska, she was mayor of a town of 9,000.

Alaska has relatively low taxes, and because of a surplus in state petroleum revenue in the 1970s, the state has an annual surplus that is distributed to citizens. The amount varies, but is often close to $2,000.

In other words, this is not the most challenging governorship in the country.

Also - and I'm not afraid to say it - I am wondering about the state of her personal life. Which I would not be questioning if she were a private individual. But she's not. She is a governor, and she is running for vice president. Thus it is all open for discussion. If Bill Clinton's marital troubles were our business (and in some sense, they were), then her family life is just as much our business.

Teen age girls get pregnant. Happens all the time. My concern is that Bristol Palin, five months pregnant, is evidence that abstinence-only sex education does not work. A federal study whose results were released in 2007 showed that abstinence-only curricula not only did not deter kids from having sex, but that the kids who did choose to become sexually active did so without taking proper precautions.

Experts with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States agree that the best programs are ones that encourage abstinence but also include information about contraception and healthy practices.

Thus Palin's adherence to the beliefs in abstinence-only education would seem to be out of touch - something her own daughter is now a testament to.

I have read a lot, heard a lot of theories about the timing of this announcement, speculation about the real story, curiosity about the McCain campaigns vetting process and decision-making strategy. All of it is rumor.

But the fact remains: A woman with very little experience, who has had trouble teaching her own child how best to manage her private life, has been suggested as the best person for the No. 2 job in the U.S. government. McCain's own strategy was to nail Obama on his lack of experience, a tactic that will now backfire.

And surely, surely they don't really think that disaffected Hillary Clinton voters will turn to the McCain ticket because of a conservative evangelical woman.

Another anecdote: Palin waited until she was seven months pregnant to announce the impending birth of her fifth child. At eight months, she traveled from Alaska to Texas to speak to a group of fund-raisers. While there, she began leaking amniotic fluid. She delivered the speech, then flew eight hours from Texas to Alaska - changing planes once - then drove another 50 miles in order to deliver the baby, born shortly after she arrived.

The baby was born with Down Syndrome. Palin returned to work three days later.

Draw your own conclusions. I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with her decision-making here:

- high-risk pregnancy (baby had already been diagnosed)
- traveling in eighth month of pregnancy
- water breaks = possibility of infection. Any medical professional would tell you to get to the hospital ASAP
- flying without doctor's consent, presumably without notifying flight personnel, while in labor
- returning to work three days after giving birth to a baby with special needs

A friend told me once about their minister, who also had a pregnant teenage daughter. He was honest about it, which she appreciated. But how, she said, can he run our church when he cannot even keep his own family in order?

Fair question? I guess it's up to voters to decide - including her own mother-in-law, who says she may not vote for her. Would you put your daughter through this scrutiny, knowing that the press would be all over this? If your daughter had a serious boyfriend at 17, would you talk to her about the possibility of pregnancy, offer to help educate her? Or just tell her not to? Would you try to have a public official fired because of their relationship with family member?

These are all things McCain did not find out in the incomplete vetting process on Palin. What else don't we know?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Summer farewell

Summer is over. A closed chapter on the year of 2008.

I am always sad to see summer end, yet happy about the possibility of fall. This year, I feel that way more than ever; in Texas, we got a pseudo-fall - all the activities, but none of the weather and wardrobe changes. We went to football games, had bonfires, and trick-or-treated, but it was all done wearing shorts and using mosquito repellent.

It's felt as if summer's over for a while now - the kids have been back in school for two weeks. But the pool is still open, so this weekend we got to party a bit as if summer were still for real. Which it is - only the school calendar's say otherwise.

• Friday we swam. My friend JoAnn came over and we hung out by the pool.
• Saturday we took care of some small around-the-house details, then my Mah Jongg group came over. We swam, played three or four games, then I headed to Global Fest (leaving Gary home to watch Mizzou v. Illinois on television).
• After Global Fest, we headed down to Red Seven, fun downtown bar with outdoor seating, for drinks. Gary and some others met us there.

Then yesterday, we headed to Chicago, per Sylvia's request. She wanted to celebrate her birthday (belatedly) with a visit to American Girl Place and lunch at Ed Debevics. We did - surviving the crowd and chaos that apparently always reign supreme at AG - I've never been there without hordes of people. But she loved it.

We walked from AG to Ed's, then, after our burgers, walked to Millennium Park. We checked out the sites along the way, stopped in Urban Outfitters for Alison, then moseyed back. Our hotel was in Deerfield - a very nice Hyatt, where we felt as if we were crashing the wedding reception in the lobby - and Gary and I then headed to Ravinia, where we had concert tickets: Aimee Mann and Squeeze.

Aimee Mann played first. I had read a review somewhere and thought we might like her - she did not disappoint. She was best known to me as the singer of that awful Til Tuesday song, Voices Carry. But her brand of folky-rock was really good.

Plus she opened up for Squeeze! I was so into them when I was in high school - they were slightly alternative, meaning critically acclaimed without a lot of commercial success in the U.S. Yet they had - have - their devout fans. Some British critics called Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook the best songwriting duo since Lennon and McCartney, yet that never did translate into big sales.

I love them, love everything they've ever done. I don't own it all (I've missed a couple CDs over the last few years), and I have not replaced all their vinyl - though I don't think there's a single band I've done that with, not even Elvis Costello. I've seen them a few times - saw them in St. Louis once, and saw them in San Francisco at the Fillmore (amazing, by the way - great show, great venue, now closed).

Last night had three original band members, and they played a great set. All the big numbers, naturally, but a couple of more off-beat ones that the entire crowd clearly did not recognize (but I did!!) They played for about 90 minutes, opening with songs like Up the Junction, rounding out the first set with Another Nail in My Heart and Hourglass. They returned for their encore and finished off with Slap and Tickle, Some Fantastic Place, and Pulling Mussels.

Oh, and it was Tilbrook's birthday. We sang to him, and they played a little film tribute done by some friends. And treated him to dancing girls - which appeared to be a genuine surprise. Lots of fun - it was a great show, taking me back, once again, to the 1980s. It was fun to visit, but it's always good to return to real life.

That was the end of our summer. Next weekend we have soccer games and the first Purdue home game. Thus will begin our fall - a welcome change.