Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have a confession

The first step is admitting you have a problem, and that you are powerless over it. Okay, I am probably not powerless over it, but it is a problem.

I hate to fold laundry. Specifically underwear and socks. HATE.IT. If you were to open either my underwear or sock drawer right now, you would see a writhing pile of clothes. Socks in knots. Panties doing unspeakable things with bras. There it is, my deep, dark secret.

As it is now cold outside, which necessitates wearing closed toed shoes, which usually necessitates wearing socks, I have had to face the writhing knot of socks for the first time in months. I wear athletic socks throughout the year when working out and wearing my sneakers, but those socks live in a different drawer, where I can keep the whites separate from the darks and allows me some relief in my sock search, but that is as far as my organizational efforts extend.

Oh I have tried over the years to get a handle on this. I have sat down with the pile of socks and organized them, paired them up and put them back in some sort of order. That lasts about 3 days. Pretty much until the laundry is done and there are new citizens of the Land of Sock to put away and I just cannot bring myself to pair up and fold them inside of each other because as I mentioned before - I.HATE.IT. So the new citizens are bunched up and dropped in willy nilly on top of the semi-organized currently residing citizens.

I don't really know where the root of this loathing comes from, but it is there. The problem that it presents to me is that over the years I have, in my quest to find the perfect black sock, one that is not too thick, not too thin, has just enough spandex in it to stay up without strangling my leg and cutting off the circulation to the top quarter inch of my epidermis, I have accumulated quite a few black socks. This morning as I pulled sock after sock from the knot, I counted 7 completely different black sock options. And as I pulled the eighth sock out I finally found a companion to one of them, so that is the pair I am wearing right now.

What I need to do is find that perfect black sock, buy about 12 pairs, and dispose of all pretenders to the throne. Then when I reach in to the abyss, I will be guaranteed whichever two socks I produce, they will always match.

That thought right there is the reason I own at minimum 7 different pairs of black socks. My holy grail is still out there. In the meantime, I will either have to live with the situation as it is losing 15 minutes in my morning to the Sock Match Game, or face my problem, turn it over to a higher power and conquer my inner demon. Wonder if I can get Bob to fold my socks...

Monday, October 26, 2009


Today over at The Women's Colony, a fabulous blog community, they are having a Blue challenge. This challenge involves putting up pictures on your blog that feature that color.

In thinking about it, while I love the color blue, I don't take pictures of it much, with a few exceptions.

The beach at Caneel Bay on St. John when we were on our honeymoon.

My blue-eyed baby.

The three blond, blue-eyed amigos in our neighborhood.

A little blue bug at the Halloween parade yesterday.

Check out the Women's Colony. It is a great community and there are some seriously talented photographers out there!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Parade

Well, I still feel crappy, but my friend TR came over and helped me wrangle Cooper for the parade, so we went. It was a beautiful day for it, and Coop had a good time.

He had no interest in putting the hood of his costume on, which was a T-Rex costume, until the parade actually began. Apparently he is not interested in dress rehearsals, just let him know when the performance is about to begin.

The parade starts about half way into our neighborhood, and then we all walk to the bottom of the neighborhood to the park. Other than all the older kids who seemed intent on going all ninja on everyone, it was a good time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh the Irony

Two days after getting my flu shot and I feel like SHIT. Yes, I said it. POOP on a stick. I am sure it is coincidental, since my building was like a tuberculosis ward last week with all the coughing and sneezing and phlegm that was present. It was almost inevitable that I would catch at least a cold. I felt moderately alright through most of the day, with just congestion lurking. Now I feel quite crappy.

Tomorrow is the neighborhood Halloween parade for the kids. I shall see how the day goes. Bob is going to be showing a condo so he will miss the parade. If I feel as bad or worse than now, Cooper will be missing the parade.

That is all I have to say right now. GAH.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bubble Girl

First of all Wheeeeee I have reached my 300 blog post milestone.

Second of all, Bob and I managed to get the seasonal flu shot yesterday at the Costco in Dedham. Which is WAAAAAY better than the Costco in our town. And it is near a Whole Foods which actually has a big parking lot. In case you are unfamiliar, Whole Foods is this fancy schmancy grocery store that carries a lot of organic, i.e. expensive, food. It used to be called Bread and Circus, which my friend called Bread and Checkbook because of the prices. There are two fairly close to me, but I cannot bring myself to shop there except when I am in search of a specific Burts Bees eye cream. It is unavailable other places that I can find Burts Bees products, like Target. But the really irritating thing about Whole Foods in this area is there is NEVER an adequate amount of parking. Well, that and the people who shop there regularly are possibly the most arrogant, self-absorbed and entitled people you will ever find congregated in one grocery store. The parking is so inadequate that the one near campus usually has a cop directing traffic. Seriously. So you know, the Jaguars and the Lexus' don't have any accidents.

But the one in Dedham has a HUGE parking lot and it almost makes a person want to go shopping there. Almost.

In other news, I am surprised I can even type this today. Yesterday they began painting the building I work in. The contact high almost had me asleep under my desk. Our building is a house from the 1930s and it has cedar shingles, which were in dire need of a new coat of paint. So for weeks these worker bees have been outside tearing off bad shingles and preparing the house for painting. Yesterday all of a sudden there were worker bees on ladders outside of my windows, covering my windows in plastic. I have windows on three sides of my office, which was probably a pantry or a porch in the original house. It sticks off the side of the house, and half of my office hangs out over nothing, and is on stilts. If I had remembered my camera I could show you a picture. Anyway, now I feel like I am in a big bubble. Like The Prisoner. That show always freaked me out. Soon they will be done as much of the house is a lovely sage green now. It used to be beige. Hopefully I will make it through today without too much fumigation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flu Shot Frustration

First of all, it appears Gus will be fine. He used to have more frequent GI type problems, but he mostly outgrew them. His bloodwork was fine, so other than being on the expensive food for a few days and taking some Flagyl, this tummy medication, he is no worse for the wear.

On to my current frustration: getting a stupid flu shot. Bob and I have been trying to find a place that a) still has a supply and b) doesn't say "We only do those on every other Tuesday when there is a full moon and the Red Sox are in the playoffs". We plan on trying Costco tomorrow when supposedly their clinic is happening.

Getting a shot for Cooper is presenting more of an issue. Because he is younger than 9, he can't get it at those clinics. You have to go to the pediatrician. Which is normally FINE, except last week when I called they said they didn't have any appointments available, to call again next week. Which I did. Only to find out Oh HEY they just ran out of the seasonal flu shot and no they don't know when they are getting the next batch, but I should call back the first week of November. And yes, they have the H1N1 vaccine, but they are only giving it to high risk kids, like those with serious conditions. He is not a viable candidate for the nasal spray because he had pneumonia last winter and it is a live vaccine, which means he probably would have to stay home from day care for two weeks.

But they DO recommend getting the vaccines. But they don't have them or won't give them, depending on which vaccine we are talking about.

So how bitchy do I become about this? Supposedly they are all concerned about Swine flu hitting kids harder than other populations, but they are not actually testing for it unless a person dies from it, or is in critical condition. So how do we know if someone ACTUALLY has the Swine flu, or flu in general? I feel that there is a lot of doom and gloom about the situation, but when you are not actually tracking the statistics, how can you PROVE there is a problem?

Here on campus there have been a handful of kids who have been isolated due to having "flu-like symptoms" but again, no one is testing for the virus, so how do we know if it is, in fact, the flu, swine or otherwise?

I don't want my family to catch it, but I don't know how aggravated and frustrated I should allow myself to get over this. Worse case scenario we are going in for his 3 year check up in mid-November, so assuming they get at least the seasonal flu vaccine by then, maybe they will give him a shot. But the whole Swine flu thing is still a big old question mark.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Every so often Bob reminds me, through some brilliant deed, why I married him. This morning, when it was time to engage in the "let's get Cooper to sit on the potty to pee" game, he said to Cooper "Let me introduce you to the joys of READING WHILE GOING POTTY."

Why didn't *I* think of that??? The men in my family have a long standing tradition of using the bathroom as a library. The kid is obsessed with Green Eggs and Ham, and could not sit down on his potty fast enough to peruse it while piddling. Score 1 for the Bob!

And today I am finally the proud owner of my own car. I went to the dealership to finalize the buyout of my lease, and got to have yet another odd and slightly uncomfortable exchange with David, the finance guy. Today he went on a riff about the Balloon Boy episode - the one with the kid who everyone thought went up in his family's homemade helium balloon, but now it appears it was a hoax - and how it was irresponsible of the chief of police to go on national TV and accuse the family of perpetrating fraud. Irresponsible of the POLICE? That family is lucky they still have custody of their kids if you ask me. But I politely declined to get pulled into a discussion of how it was or was not an invasion of that family's privacy and said that I was leaving it in the hands of the state of Colorado to figure out.

But now I have new plates, a fresh and shiny new inspection sticker and WOW is my car clean. They detailed it last week as part of the inspection. It was only this clean when I first got the car.

In the sad news category, I arrived at work to find an email announcing that early this morning a couple who lived just down the street from our campus were found dead. Apparently it was a murder-suicide. They were in their late 80's. It brings home the dread I often feel when I consider how hard it is to get old, what with the loss of independence and physical and mental fortitude that is often part of the experience. What level of despair does a couple have to reach to bring them to the point where the husband is willing to kill his wife and then himself? Apparently there was no history of known domestic violence, just an old couple who had lived in that house a long time.


Also, my first born dog, Gus, is going to the vet today. He has been throwing up since Sunday. He made it through almost all of yesterday without barfing, so we thought he was over whatever he had. Then at 4am there was a lot of barking from the Schnauzers, and I went down to find he had been sick again. Poncho does NOT like being in a messy kennel. No he does NOT. He is the one who barks very insistently when Gus yaks in the kennel to get someone down to deal with it. So I don't know what the vet will do for him, but they wanted to see him. Dogs are even more frustrating than kids when they get sick, because at least now Cooper can tell me his tummy hurts. All Gus can do is look sad and limp. I hope it is nothing BIG.

The Gus.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh Hi There

Well, I have not posted much of anything for almost a week, and mostly because I didn't have much of anything to say. I have been living over here with Mr. Short Attention Span, aka, my son. Well, that is not totally accurate. He will spend an hour and a half playing with his toy school bus while watching Fireman Sam for that same time period. But Fireman Sam comes in 11 minute long episodes. So every 11 minutes someone has to put the next one on. But the fact that he loves it and it is supposed to take place in Pontypandy, Wales, so there are cool accents being spoken, makes me OK with the show. And you learn fun fire safety tips. Of course after watching every episode produced a minimum of 4 times each, one has to wonder how the entire country hasn't burned to the ground what with all the careless behavior the citizens seem to participate in.

In other Cooper news, he has decided he does NOT like sitting on the potty. We have not taken on potty training full force yet, but he wakes up dry most mornings, so we like to get him on the potty first thing to help him get used to the idea. I think the problem is he really like hanging out in his room with one or both of us when he first wakes up. We have just put a small book shelf in his room and moved all of his books from the living room into his room. Now he has even more reason to want to hang out in there. Taking off the diaper and sitting on the potty just gets in the way of all that groovy bonding.

I appreciate that he wants to hang out with us. That won't last forever, if it even lasts into next week, so I like to take advantage of it while I can. But this is counter productive to getting up and getting ready to go to school, and it isn't helping with the potty training concept. I think we will be ripping the bandaid off soon and doing the full on potty training within a month or so. First we need underpants and stickers. For Cooper. My own person reward system is more inclined toward chocolate and wine.

And finally, on Friday and Sunday it SNOWED here. SNOWED. It is the middle of October. What the frickety frack?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Festivities

Yesterday we went apple picking. This is a great outdoor activity with a toddler to be sure. We went to Honey Pot Orchard, where you not only can pick your own apples, but you can take a hayride, pet some animals, buy some cider donuts, cider and pumpkins and go home just in time to take a 4 hour nap. If you are the toddler. The mama spent that time going through the box of recipes she has that used to belong to her paternal grandmother, Ella, looking for recipes that involve, well, APPLES.

These recipes date from somewhere in the 1940's to the mid 1980's. My grandmother died in 1988 I believe. She was in her 80th year. So she lived through things like two world wars, the flu pandemic of 1918 during which her father, a doctor, died, and of course the depression. So she was a frugal woman. Her collection of recipes are fascinating. There are many that were cut from newspapers. There are more that are either handwritten or typed out, on a variety of pieces of paper. Pieces of envelope, index cards that appear to have been used at one time for tracking information about fire insurance coverage, stationary from the insurance company, from Illinois University, a long, thin piece of brown paper that was probably used to wrap closed meat from the butcher and a page from Field and Stream magazine, among others. It is almost as interesting to see what the recipes were written on as to see what the recipes themselves are.

But the recipes are interesting too. I have found multiple occurrences of recipes with the words chiffon, escalloped or delight in the title. In my quest to find apple recipes, I have collected 4 apple crisp recipes, 3 apple pie recipes, and 3 apple cake recipes. There is one recipe that has the word "GOOD" written up near the title. I will have to be sure to try that one. There are a few casserole and salad recipes that have me a bit puzzled. Not everything will be put to the test.

A friend of mine recently told me that German Chocolate Cake is not German at all. It was named for the baking chocolate, German's Baking Chocolate. Someone at the company came up with the recipe, and from that point on it was referred to as German's Chocolate Cake. And now I have the recipe, which is on a label from German's Chocolate, which my grandmother saved. And I now have the recipe for Tangy Southern French Dressing that my Aunt Sharon introduced into our family decades ago. I have been wondering about the recipe recently, and there it is!

The one recipe of Ella's that is probably most revered in our family is the jelly filled cookie recipe. I have had it for a long time, but have never tried to make them. My biggest problem is a lack of an adequate cookie cutter. This cookie is like a popover or tart. It is a soft sugar cookie, but you fill it with jam or jelly, strawberry or raspberry is my preference, and fold it over before baking. Grandma always cut them out with this large cutter with a wavy edge. I have not found one of adequate size. I might resort to using a can, like a large crushed tomato can.

I think for easiness sake, apple crisp is on the menu first, and then a pie later in the week. I do love fall!


Picking apples.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cooper Chronicles

Today Cooper and I had quite an adventure. We got on the T (Boston's train/subway system) and went into Boston. We went as far as the Boston Common, which is where the Freedom Trail starts, where the State House is as well as a great climbing structure with big brass frogs. We saw people who were there to answer questions in period garb, like Ben Franklin, who, right before I got his picture, was texting on his phone. I am fairly sure that is not an authentic, period piece.

The climbing structure was really cool. It was HUGE, and the entire area was covered in this springy padded stuff, so when kids fall off of it, they kind of bounce. I think during the warm weather part of it becomes a sprinkler park. It is right next to the Frog Pond, a shallow wading pond, hence all the frogs.

Cooper was completely enthralled with riding on the train, and made friends with a woman who was visiting from Minnesota for a wedding. She was on her way to walk the Freedom Trail, which takes you through all of the historic parts of town, including the North Church (made famous by Paul Revere, one if by land, two if by sea), Paul Revere's house (the ceilings are even lower in that house than in mine!) and the Constitution, i.e. Old Ironsides. If you have several hours and like walking and find yourself in Boston, check it out.

It costs $2.00 for an adult each way on the T, and $6 for parking at the station. All in all, it was a very inexpensive way to spend the morning and it kept Cooper VERY entertained.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adventures in car buying

I have been leasing my car. I know what that crazed and wildly unrealistic Suze Orman says about leasing, which is to say I have been flushing money down the drain, but BITE ME Suze Orman. The lease was hundreds of dollars less a month than buying was, and that was good enough for me at a time when I was taking on being a new mom and having to begin paying for day care.

She creeps me out. And not because she lives an alternative lifestyle. Well, everything about her life is alternative to mine, from her choice of partners to owning 12 houses and 9 cars or whatever. She is just WEIRD. I do love the spoofs they do of her on SNL. I would link to it right now, but that is just more work than I am interested in doing at the moment. Go youtube it.

Back to car buying. My lease ends in December. I drive a 2007 Honda CRV. I love my car. It is a good size for an SUV, which is to say it is about the same size as a sedan, but it rides higher and has on demand 4 wheel drive. Great in snow. Good for getting a toddler in and out of a car seat. And because my commute is only 8 miles one way, I have ridiculously low mileage on it - 16500 miles after 3 years.

So I decided to buy my own car. It is an option with the lease. I first made contact with my dealership via email. That resulted in a barrage of automated responses, none of which made sense to send to me given my inquiry - I want to buy my car at the end of the lease, how do I do this - is what I asked. Next thing I know I am getting emails saying SURE we have the car you are inquiring about, or 25% of buyers buy within the first week of looking, so come on in...

So I responded by email again, saying Yes, I want to buy a car, MY CAR. And then I called the dealership. And got transfered to a woman who didn't know the answer, but would have someone call me. Then I got some phone bank customer service person calling me who was all "I can get you in for a VIP appointment, how is tomorrow" but that wasn't going to work for me, which threw her off her game.

Eventually I got an email from Jessica, the sales person I dealt with when I originally leased this car. I called her, and she made the appointment for me that I needed, with the finance guy. I went in this week, fully expecting to still get the hard sell on trading in my leased car and buying or leasing a new vehicle, but it didn't happen. David just processed my application, and in an hour I was the proud owner of my own car. Whee.

David was an experience all unto himself. In one hour I found out way more than I needed to about him. He has been divorced twice. He grew up in Europe because his parents were hippies and his dad didn't want to serve in Vietnam. He himself however, did a stint in the Army, with an airborn division. He has one child, who is 5. He likes to golf, play online Poker and has a girlfriend who is a little too fly by the seat of her pants for his tastes, because that is the way he is too, and someone has to be responsible in a relationship. His second wife got her hair done every two weeks, costing $150 each time. She also was not adventurous at all, as in she would not try sushi or food she didn't already know and like. He thought I was very cultured - he has a "class meter" and can tell classy people right away. His words, not mine. He thought I had an unusual "look", not the average jewelry selection. Note: I was wearing some Asian inspired jewelry, which is different, but not outrageously unusual. He is bald, and has a large scar running around the backside of his head from ear to ear. I didn't ask about it. He buys a new car once a year. Good think he works for a dealership! He said "Thank you, ma'am" every time I gave him an answer to a question for the application. He is okay with Obama but wishes he would just stay out our private lives, keep his hands off health care and stop telling anyone what to do, like stay in school. He is not a Republican or a Democrat, he is a FREE AMERICAN.

That was just some of what I learned in an hour. To say he did NOT STOP TALKING is being polite. He ended up giving me both his personal email address AND his cell phone number on my packet of paperwork in addition to his work info. I am quite sure he was not hitting on me, but perhaps he would like to hang out or go sky diving. I mentioned I wanted to do that when he talked about being in the airborn division. He did say I was "a fun customer". I won't be inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner though.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I would have to live to be 121

That is how old I would be if I managed to live to see my 70th wedding anniversary to Bob. Because I didn't get married to him when I was 19. Like my grandmother did when she married my grandfather who was a ripe old 21 years old himself. I present to you Agnes and Tony, circa roughly 70 years ago:

Those two crazy kids are celebrating their 70th anniversary today. It also happens to be my grandfather's 91st birthday.

In 70 years they have raised three daughters, and have 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. We didn't see them a lot when I was growing up, since they lived in Minnesota most of that time, and we didn't. My grandfather traveled for work and often found himself in our general area, so we would see him more often than we saw the two of them together. I remember him attempting to teach me Italian words or phrases. It didn't work very well but I always liked trying. They were the antithesis in many ways to my other grandparents. These two were always the swanky pair, the jet setting pair. I have loved having them as my grandparents and am glad they have stuck around long enough to get to know Cooper.

70 years is a freaking long time to be alive, never mind being married to the same person for that long. I think it is a testament to lasting love, stubborness, and ultimately being too tired to do anything else. I jest. Mostly.

Happy Anniversary you guys. Happy Birthday Grandpa.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where to begin...

Lots of things floating through the brain, and lots of nothing getting done around here. Someone needs a day off from life, and that someone is The MAMA. I am trying to find the days that work for doing that, that don't conflict with other people being out (the burden of working in a small office) or other commitments.

Things that I think about, not necessarily in order of importance:

Roman Polanski: Should be prosecuted for his crime. I don't care how many beautiful movies the man has made, he drugged and raped a 13 year old girl and then fled the jurisdiction. I know he made an undisclosed payment to the family, but he has not faced the court system for his crime. What kind of crazy message does THAT send?

Native American ancestors: Turns out my father's cousin Irene, who has been diligent in researching our ancestry on that side of the family, has found we have Mohawk ancestry. And Welsh, Dutch and a few other spices. It is far enough back that I don't think I qualify to get any money from any casinos, if the Mohawk tribe has any, but it is interesting none the less. More interesting is one of our Dutch ancestors, Maria Du Truax, apparently was quite the trollop, having a child out of wedlock not once but twice with different men.

Professional developement: Lately I have been wondering if I have what it takes to make the next step professionally. I know I can do the job, but it would mean a larger commitment of time and energy at the job, and less time and energy at home. And honestly, I am not sure I am willing to make that trade off. I have been in my current position for 9 years. By all accounts this would be a perfect time to make the leap to VP for Enrollment Management somewhere. But I look at my boss, and the level of commitment she brings to the table, and wonder if I can do it right now. She is unmarried and has no children. She has a golden retriever, who comes to the office every day. She has few if any outside obligations that require her to make any sacrifices in terms of her time at work.

I already work full time, and have Cooper in day care from 8 - 5 five days a week. He loves it, I don't feel he is being harmed in any way by doing that, but after work and on weekends, my time is spent being his mom. And a partner in my marriage. I don't think I am willing to commit less to that.

Beyond just my own professional growth, one other reason I would consider a change is financial. If a position were available at a college in an area that we were willing to live, that would provide a cheaper/more affordable lifestyle, it might make sense to pursue it. But that brings up the next question: Do I want to live in Pittsburgh or Peoria? Pittsburgh maybe, Peoria...well...

So it is a question I am balancing in my head: How much weight do I give to the idea that if we could live more affordably, Bob might not have to work at all, so maybe the extra commitment I would have to give to work would be offset by him being able to be the primary care giver, vs. wanting to give as much as I can myself to being a mom and a wife while still working because I have to?

If I didn't HAVE to work from a financial standpoint, I probably still would, but maybe I would make different choices about what I did and how much I worked. While I am good at what I do, and it is part of my identity, it is not all of who I am.

Seriously, do men have these conversations with themselves? Blahblahblah, it is time for lunch. Insights and thoughts are welcome.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


For half the day on Friday and all day yesterday, 40 employees representing various departments and levels of responsibility at my college met for our third annual strategic planning meeting. The first year we did this was the first year our new president was in office, and it was his way of including the entire community, or as much as is practical, in planning the direction of the college over the next six years. It is actually a very interesting and admirable effort on his part. It certainly doesn't mean that any old idea or agenda item will become the focus of the colleges' efforts, but it does mean that items that rise to the top of the list get almost 100% buy in from the community.

It also offers an opportunity for various areas or departments to share exactly what they do and how those efforts impact the rest of the college community. For example, we are a growing institution. Three years ago one of the items that made it to the final vision list was to grow to 1600 undergraduate students. This year we hit 1500 and we still have three years to go until we hit the year we finally review how we did achieving the items on our vision list. So it was presented during this years' meeting that maybe we should increase that goal to 1700 or even 1800 students.

This allowed for a very dynamic and educational conversation, led in part by my boss, the VP for enrollment management, regarding how we go about admitting and retaining students, and what restrictions we have on the total number of students we enroll, like places for them to sleep, enough classrooms to teach them in and a big enough dining facility to feed them in. In addition to this was a discussion about whether we are only concerned with quantity and not quality. Which of course we are not, but while it is easy to quantify the quality of our students, it is hard to control who will be in the pool from year to year to admit. Of course it is our goal to always maintain if not improve the quality of our students, but there may come a year when for whatever reason, the pool we have to choose from is not of the academic caliber that we would like. Then you work with what you have got.

My point is that often I hear from people on campus, faculty usually, that they think my boss and admissions are only interested in bringing in a number. That it is only about meeting and exceeding the goal, that they don't care about the continuing students or the quality of the education at the college. So I appreciate when there is an opportunity for people who don't deal with this everyday to hear what we do, what her values are and how much she cares for this college. If she didn't care she wouldn't have been here for 22 years.

So while it is a commitment of time and energy on every one's part to be part of this meeting, it is ultimately very useful on many levels. It is exhausting. I got to the end of the day yesterday and still had to go to a birthday party that Cooper had been invited to. Bob had taken him at the appropriate time, and I reported there as soon as I was available. There was a real live magician who seemed to have most of the kids captivated. Except for mine. I arrived to find him outside of the room where the show was going on, running around keeping himself entertained with balloons. Oh well. I don't like magicians either if I am to be honest. I think that anyone whose primary occupation is fooling people is not to be trusted. You know, like car salesmen and politicians and magicians.