Archive for January, 2011

Kite Flying on Frozen Lake Monona

Below is the latest photo from Cassius Callender. I wouldn’t normally enjoy looking at a photo of a frozen lake in the winter, but I like this one:

A way to slow down traffic on Winnequah Road

From Calvin & Hobbes:

Click here for more real life reproductions of Calvin & Hobbes snowmen nightmares.

Deceased yet Consolation

It’s something of a coincidence that this week, of all weeks, my 8-year-old daughter had to master the pronunciation of the words “deceased” and “consolation.”

Thursday morning, which was also coincidentally the day 9-year-old Christina Taylor Greene was laid to rest in a casket handmade by monks in Tuscon, AZ, it was my daughter’s responsibility to stand at the lectern of IHM church (she’s a student at IHM school) and read the petition for “consolation” and “for all the deceased” during the morning mass.

She landed this gig a week ago after playing Rock/Paper/Scissors with the neighbor boy, who also wanted to read this petition. She won and had been elated about that ever since, working carefully with me every evening to make sure she pronounced “consolation” and “deceased” correctly, over and over again.

A perfect refrain for the week, as it turns out.

She recited the petition perfectly that morning and I thought of Obama’s speech the night before (perhaps the first time I’ve ever been deeply moved by a presidential speech) and the part where he said we see ourselves and our children in the victims:

For those who were harmed, those who were killed – they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but we surely see ourselves in them. In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis – she’s our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America’s fidelity to the law. In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

And in Christina…in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic.

So deserving of our love.

And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost.


Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.

After my daughter read the petition, Fr. Bart encouraged the kids to not lash out in anger when hurt, to instead seek healing and to help heal others. That, along with Obama’s speech, are small steps in the direction of consolation, along with the stories of the acts of heroism that occurred during the shooting.

My daughter doesn’t really yet know what the reality of being deceased means, as she hasn’t lost a loved one. She can pronounce “consolation” now but has yet to express it or experience it at a deep level.  When that day arrives, I hope, along with Obama, that this country really will live up to her (and all our children’s) expectations and that she’ll have reason to say, “We are so blessed. We have a good life,” like Christina used to say to her mother.

Memory Eternal, Christina, Dot, Dorwan, Judge Roll, Phyllis and Gabe.

Actually I’m not really into New Year’s Resolutions. But I found myself doing New Year’s Resolution type of things in the 6000 block of Monona Drive last week.

On Tuesday I joined Anytime Fitness. For weeks I had been deliberating about whether or not to join a gym. I hate winter and thought maybe this would be a way to fight back against Seasonal Affective Disorder. Chugging Vitamin D doesn’t seem to be enough.

Anytime Fitness ran a one day special on Tuesday, where you could get one month free and no sign up fees, so I signed up.

Listening to someone talk about their exercise routine is tedious, so I’ll just say that so far, so good. I like that nobody wears fancy exercise outfits, there are a lot of 65+ year old members, there’s a nice variety of machines and the machines aren’t off-putting like I thought they might be. I find myself actually wanting to linger instead of wanting to get the workout over with as fast as possible.

Also, as a self-employed person, it’s nice to have a place to go during the day other than the grocery store and my kids’ schools.

Last week I also took advantage of a free session of acupuncture across the street from Anytime Fitness at Dane County Family Acupuncture.

I had never had acupuncture before and, even though I have no serious ailments, I was curious to see what it was like.

The needles weren’t uncomfortable and I came away with some suggestions of things I should do on my own to maintain and improve my health. There was NO pressure to sign up for other appointments, but I want to go back.

Perhaps the best part was how well Kristin listened to me and her interest in getting the big picture of my health the past several years. If you have chronic health issues or have wanted to try acupuncture, I highly recommend Dane County Family Acupuncture.

Happy New Year!