Friday, October 31, 2008

First Trick or Treating in 30 years

Soulmate and I took Katie out for Trick or Treating tonight. It's the first time ever for little Katie, and the first time in at least 30 years for her parents. Being a little rusty, our neighbors' girls, Maddie and Grace, volunteered to show us the ropes. We got Katie dressed in her blanket sleeper for warmth (it is Minnesota after all) and put her little "lion cub" costume on. Soulmate painted on the "Wizard of Oz" lion face, and we were set to go.

We went around to all the neighbors with lights on in the 2 or 3 blocks directly to our west and south. Most were home, and were delighted to meet the princess cum lion cub, many for the first time. We were equally delighted to see them, many of whom we haven't seen for most of the year or longer, and some of whom are new to the neighborhood.

Everyone seemed to think Katie was so cute that she deserved 3 or 4 pieces of candy. Daddy didn't protest at all, knowing that precious little of what we collected tonight will ever make it into Katie's mouth, and almost all the rest will end up being metabolized by Daddy on the bicycle. I tried to help Katie pick the "best" kinds of candy (i.e. the kinds Daddy likes best), but she ended up choosing her own and putting them into her bag.

Soulmate has already raided the loot and taken all the Sweetarts and other sour candy, which is just fine with me since my tastes run to chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. I've spent precious little time on the bike the past several weeks, and my jeans are getting that uncomfortable feeling in the waist and seat. Hopefully I'll be able to get out tomorrow and burn off some serious calories with Big Jim.

Katie was quite gleeful about the whole experience of Trick or Treating, especially with older friends Maddie and Grace to show her the ropes. She even deigned to allow their Mom, Tami, to hold her for a little while as we trudged around the neighborhood:

Here's a video from today starting with a little breakfast and ending with a tired lion cub about to fall asleep on her feet after a really fun day:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sweater Weather

Soulmate's good friend Judy brought a package to church for Katie last Sunday. It contained two sweaters hand-knit by Judy's 95 year old mother. You could only hope to be half as witty and delightful as she if you make it to 95. Anyway, I wanted to immortalize her in my small way by showing off little Katie in one of the sweaters.

Other than that, it was a beautiful Saturday which I idled away with the girls, without accomplishing a single thing. So there.

Oh yeah, and I spun for 2 hours tonight while watching Bruce Willis Die Hard the second time. Did you ever notice that everybody in that movie either misses wildly with 1000 rounds from their Uzzi or Gloc, or else they score about 100 splatter rounds per body. Maybe it's just me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Throwin' y'all a bone

I realize I haven't updated much lately; I really have no excuse whatsoever, except maybe that we're having such a good time being a family that I haven't had any time to document us being a real family. Hey, give me a break--Ozzie has an entire film crew hanging around his crib to document his family's dysfunction.

Anyway, here's a bone for you Katie junkies out there. Our friend Donna, who took the pictures of Katie at the church picnic this past summer, took pictures at Katie's dedication service last week. Here are some highlights:

As for you poor slobs who are still looking for scraps of bike blogging, I got nothing. Well almost nothing: I spun for 2 hours tonight (after putting Katie to bed, naturally) while watching Will Smith pulverize mutants (again). No, it wasn't "Independence Day" (one of my all-time favorites), but rather "I Am Legend". Whoa, there's some serious suspense in that one. And some mutants with a very high ick factor. Forget the cure, dude, just keep that M16 handy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Whaddaya want for nuthin?

At least it's not a rrrrrrrubber biscuit. Katie demonstrates the proper technique for eating a teething biscuit, and not just any type: a genuine Italian Biscotti Plasmon. Ray from Mi Famiglia restaurant gave them to Katie a while back, but she has shown no interest whatsoever in anything remotely crunchy--until now.

Katie and mommy have been attending a toddler class every Tuesday morning (where the object is for the children to learn how to be toddlers, evidently). The power of peer pressure starts very early, and Katie has been looking around during snack time and figuring out that cheerios and other crunchy things aren't just for feeding to the dogs after all. Though when all is said and done, the leftovers still end up going to the dogs.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We had Katie dedicated at church yesterday. It's kind of like a baptism for Catholics or Lutherans, except the baby stays dry. It's patterned after Samuel in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament, both of which were brought to the temple at a young age, and dedicated to God's service. I don't recall any babies being dunked or sprinkled like some churches do now, but that's up to the theologians to debate. We just go along with the traditions as we understand them.

Anyway, Katie was a little angel during the dedication ceremony, except that she really wanted to take the microphone away from whoever had it, and she really didn't want to wear the cute but useless red headband that matched her little velvet dress/tights outfit. Here are some pictures from the ceremony, and the whole 9 minute video. Warning: there is nothing about bikes or bridges in this entire video.

Friday, October 3, 2008


An alert reader recently sent me a link to a 1999 NYT article that explains why we're in the financial crisis we're trying so hard to legislate away. This article was written 9 years ago to the day that the current administration's fix-it plan was voted down.

NYT September 30, 1999: Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

Who is to blame: the Clinton administration for forcing Fannie Mae to buy riskier mortgages in an effort to increase minority home ownership? The Bush administration for failing to foresee the unintended consequences and rein it in? The big banks who followed one another like lemmings into ever riskier sub-prime markets? Greedy and shady mortgage brokers and house appraisers who arm-twisted unsuspecting homeowners into ARMs and interest-only mortgages that could only succeed if housing prices continued to climb year after year? Gullible and covetous consumers who knew they couldn't afford that McMansion but bought it anyway because the bank said they could?

My two nearest neighbors have been foreclosed, and their houses sit empty and bedraggled because they got sucked into sub-prime mortgages. We tried to bail them out, but their financial situations were almost cartoonishly impossible. There was no way out for them but to sit idly by and let the bank evict them.

Shame on all of you who let this happen, or made this happen, or could have put a stop to it and didn't. Shame on all of us for wanting more than we can afford, and living above our means just because the credit card company or bank says we can. Shame on you politicians currently making political hay over the heartache and loss of millions of us enmeshed in this travesty. Shame on all you Wall Street types standing hat in hand waiting for the government to bail you out so you can start anew bilking small-time investors out of their hard-earned retirement funds.

I don't know anything about ING Direct, since I don't have any money invested in their company, but they published a full page ad in a bunch of newspapers yesterday (shame on them for trying to get more customers by referring to this crisis!). They have published a declaration of financial independence with 10 points that I have always lived by, and recommend that you do as well.

BTW, don't be fooled by the pols who promise that this $700B bailout will be cheaper than that because some of the toxic investments will actually bring some income back to the taxpayer "investors". The government's accounting system is a giant shell game, and any taxes we pay in whatever form (including those we'll have to pay to make up the $700B bailout) are already spent by our elected officials. Any "payoff" from this cash infusion will inevitably cycle back to somebody's porkbarrel project.

I'm bracing for higher taxes, less services, and no real breakthrough in the credit crunch with this bailout. I no longer look to the government to look out for me and my interests; heck, I've stopped including estimates from social security and medicare when I calculate my retirement needs, because I just don't have faith in those programs or the system that backs them.

Audacious hope? Sorry Barack, I don't think so. If you think a new administration is going to fix any of this, you're worse than Don Quixote: you're tilting at phantom windmills. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Once upon a time I believed that a man or a party could change the world for the better, but I don't anymore. One man's utopia is everybody else's dystopia. Live and let live. Down with government. Long live gridlock. Remember the law of unintended consequences, it works best when the plan is big and complicated. Like the bailout plan.

And I'm usually an optimist...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Progress on the DeSoto

I haven't had time to upload any more videos of the progress they're making on demolishing the DeSoto Bridge just up river from us. I've taken a few more clips over the past couple weeks, and as you can see, there's been some progress: