Archive for October, 2013

A beary happy Halloween



Going home

By my calculation, I have now spent a total of twelve nights away from Bear. The first was a very awesome night of sleep when my mom and Sev agreed to take her overnight when M-Bear was only about 6 weeks old. Ah, that was nice. I still remember the text from my mom in the morning: “When are you coming to get her?” I think they tag-teamed staying up to watch her sleep all night because they were so worried something would go wrong. Thanks again, guys! Next up was the September 2012 trip Heather & I took to California to watch Brady get married in that lovely ceremony outside of Healdsburg. That was a nice, but quick trip. Then came a jaunt to Chicago for a January oral argument. In February, we went to NYC for two nights for Emilia’s super fun wedding. ┬áIn May 2013, I went back to Chicago for another argument. Earlier this month I spent three awesome nights outside of Guerneville with great friends in a kinda wacky house we filled with too much wine. And now here I sit in a hotel room in Elkhart Lake about to wrap up my time here at a work conference. On Monday, I’ll return to Chicago for two oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday. So, what do I think of *all* this time away from my loves? I’m not going to lie: sleeping in a big bed in a quiet room I don’t have to clean is pretty nice. Waking up on my own, without hearing crying or whining and having to rush out of bed to change a diaper and soothe my babe, is not bad. It’s refreshing to have a couple of days away.

All that said, I’ll be driving a little faster on the way home than I did on the way here (but not too fast, of course — state car and all). I can’t wait to get home and kiss some cheeks.

Anyone else?

Is it just me I?* I’m not sure how all of you are going to respond to this, but I have to ask. It really bugs me when people have blogs that are filled with poor grammar, typos, and even formatting problems. Does it bug you? I know I should lighten up about this because, hey, there’s a ton of good content on the interwebs and I should be thankful for it, and let it go when the writer seems to think that comma placement is just an aesthetic choice. But, see, I can’t. It bugs me in my soul. Of arguable more importance, it has an adverse practical effect on me. You see, I can’t follow the directions on “how to sew whatever” when I can’t understand what the hell the writer is saying. It’s the whole “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” thing. And this isn’t just confined to sewing blogs. In fact, it’s coming dangerously close to epidemic territory.

I hope I don’t sound like a complete jerkstore, but I really feel like if you’re going to write something – anything – you should be required to have a basic command of grammatical rules. Reading crappy blogs that promise to give me good advice (as – ahem – opposed to easily understood but boring blogs sans any advice) is usually disappointing. I know I make a zillion mistakes a day and I’m not proud of them, but I just think if some of these almost-helpful bloggers just spent a wee bit more time proofing their writing, the world would be a better place. Or, if you almost-helpful bloggers don’t want to do that, maybe you should just put everything in pictures. They’re worth a ton of words. Even well-written words.

*I guess I have my own rules for what I consider offensive writing. No, I don’t mean Bret Easton Ellis or the Bronte sisters. That’s a topic for another day. I mean offensive writing as in ignoring the rules. “It’s me!” doesn’t bug me. Writing “I wish there were less cats in the house” should result in at least a fine and maybe even a day or two in the Clink. And there really should be fewer cats in the house. The thing is, I try not to like the rules just for the rules’ sake. I like the rules because they let me understand the author’s intent. The less/fewer rule doesn’t really fit into this paradigm of mine, but some things are just sacred for their own sake, no?

No screens!

I know everyone and their mother says to keep kids away from screens for eternity – or at least until age two – because they kill brain cells or something, but can it really be that wrong to let Bear watch a little Dark Crystal early on a Sunday morning? Probably, but it’s too late.


Last night, at the city’s transportation and parking committee (of which I am a member), the public was invited to speak about any specific thoughts they had about Madison Metro. Of course, the public are always welcome to speak about specific items we’re discussing, but this was a sort of anything goes type evening. About 15 people spoke and were limited to three minutes of time. I found most of their comments interesting and incredibly thoughtful. The bus system means a lot to a lot of people. One of the most interesting speakers, though, was someone who has been in Madison only a month and seems to have a more academic interest in public transit than a personal one. His name is Jan and he is studying here for a bit, but he hails from the Czech Republic. I believe he said he runs some NGO back home that works on transit projects. He had some suggestions for the bus system, all of which made a lot of sense. For example, he suggested that after a stop, the speaker system should immediately announce the next stop (instead of waiting until about a block from the next stop, which is what the system currently does). He also suggested some improvements for bus stop signs and other things. One of the best parts of his mini-presentation, though, was when he began by saying, following his introduction, “The Madison bus system is very good for an American transit system.” Pause. “But, when compared to European systems….” Hee hee. So kind. And true.

I actually really commend Jan’s confidence and bravery. I can’t imagine being a young person, studying abroad, seeing a flyer for a public conversation at a city committee meeting, taking my time to go and share my thoughts on the ways my new city could improve itself. But I think we were all so glad that he did just that. In fact, when the beeper went off signaling the end of his three minute time period and Jan started to stand up to go, our chair said, “Uh, keep going. I want to hear this.” Bravo, Jan.

October 2013

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