Saturday, September 13, 2008
It happens way too often around here...

"I'm OK! I'm OK!"
Thursday, September 11, 2008
McCain-Palin Rally
I was invited by a co-worker of Noni's who I used to work with. He had five tickets and offered two to Noni and me. In real life I'm not overtly political because I can't be. I need to be politically neutral for some legitimate reasons. But this was being held two hours from home, so I could let my Republican freak flag fly. I told Noni I'd go.

We rode up to Fairfax with three of her co-workers. We got up at 4:00 a.m., hit the road at 5:15 a.m. and got to Fairfax around 7:20 a.m. The campaign had asked that people park at a local mall and take a shuttle bus since there would be no parking at the park where the rally was being held. We were on one of the first buses so we thought we had done everything just right. Ha!

First the bus went the wrong way and we had to circle a block back to the mall and start over. I'm pretty sure our bus driver was an Obama supporter. When we finally got to the park we quickly realized we were actually pretty screwed. The line was already almost a kilometer long (as quoted in the paper). It snaked down the street and wound back into a residential area, going around several turns. We felt pretty defeated at that point. We grabbed a spot in line.

Eventually we made our way in, after passing various t-shirt and pin vendors and protesters. The set-up for the event was done poorly because the press bleachers and other structures were big obstructions to much of the crowd. We claimed a spot a little ways up a hill so we could at least see over the crowd. We were still pretty far away.

It was fun to be in the crowd and feel the excitement. Our day was mostly hurry-up-and-wait but in the end I think it was worth it. For someone as politically conscious as me it was about time I did something like that, and it was fun to do it with Noni. Now I can say I've done it.

On the bus. Nothing like riding a school bus to make you feel small and inadequate again. Although, there was just as much wise-cracking and laughter as I remember back in the day too.

This is shortly after we got in line. We were back in the residential neighborhood, standing on someone's lawn. Hey, the sidewalk was full!

Hey! It's global warming bear! I'm pretty sure he was on our side.

The cops moved the protesters across the street from the queue. I would have been greatly disappointed if they hadn't made an appearance.

Our hillside perch.

The crowd filled out by the time the speeches started.

The reluctant McCain supporter with a placard in hand. If you'll recall from way back in the winter, the political quizzes matched me with him, but I wasn't all that thrilled about the idea. You can read my early dismissal here. Oh well, Carnac I am not.

Tiny people on stage
McCain is speaking. Our view of the speakers was blocked by that stupid blue thing. Of course they put that up after we picked our spot.

Todd spots me in the crowd...

And waves to me. Le sigh...

The motorcade!
One nagging fear that I had throughout the rally was that we hadn't asked where the buses were going to pick us up. As we made our way (very slowly) out of the venue we were told to line the street in front of the park and the buses would pick us up there. As we got close to the street a ripple of excitement went though the crowd and we started to see sets of motorcycle cops going by with their lights flashing. We quickly realized it was McCain's motorcade. I couldn't push my way to the road to see so I took several pictures holding my camera up over the crowd. I mostly got crap.

There was another burst of excitement when the bus, the Straight Talk Express, slowed down and stopped. The bus door opened and I think McCain may have stepped out. The secret service dudes were freaking out and the motorcycle cops were circling back to keep the crowds pushed back. Unfortunately the bus stopped right across from the protesters and they quickly ruined our fun. The bus door closed and the bus started easing past us. Cindy and John were right at the front of the bus waving at us as they went by. McCain passed about eight feet in front of me and do you think my camera got the shot? Hellz no.

After the motorcade left we quickly realized that Fairfax had problem. Actually it was more like a cluster****. There were thousands of people lining the street waiting for buses to take them back to the shopping center and there weren't but four buses. Within twenty minutes we realized that we were screwed. We might be waiting there all afternoon for a bus. We decided to try to walk. I asked a cop how far it was back to the mall where we had parked. First he gave me a look like I had a penis growing out of my head, then he told me that it was probably 2.5 to 3 miles. We decided to walk. We made it half a mile before deciding we needed lunch or at least a drink. The McDonald's was packed, the Pizza Hut turned out to be a Pizza Hut Express and every restaurant in the shopping center was full. We got drinks and sat for a minute on the sidewalk in front of Safeway.

I decided that walking under the given conditions was for the birds and I went in search of a phone book. The super-nice lady in the birdcage at Safeway gave me the number for the Yellow Cab company and we called a cab. Since all five of us wouldn't fit we decided to send two back to retrieve the truck and come back to pick us up. It took twenty minutes to get our cab (others had had the same idea) and it was an forty later that the truck was able to make it back to us to pick us up. By then Mickey D's was emptied out and we grabbed lunch and hit the road.

Secret Service dude, just like in the movies.

McCain's bus, the Straight Talk Express.

Rally Videos
To be quite truthful, there's not much to see. The speakers are ant people in the distance. But you can hear them. The first video features a surprise appearance by Fred Thompson to introduce the candidates. You can definitely recognize his voice. Another interesting thing about this video is at the end when you hear a call come up from the crowd behind us for a doctor. They were saying someone was having a heart attack. I read later that ambulances carried away twelve different people from the event.

In this video you can hear Sarah Palin. Much of her speech was the same stuff from the Republican National Convention.

John McCain is speaking in this video. Plus I do a panoramic shot of the crowd.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Where else?
"Daddy, wrap me up in this towel and carry me like a bag!"

"Carry you like a bag? Where do you come up with ideas like that?"

"The idea store."
The reveal
Ta Da!

I'll have more about this tomorrow. I have some of my own pictures and video, albeit from a good distance. But seeing as I got up at 4:00 a.m. this morning for these shenanigans I'm spent and don't have much energy or incentive to play with pictures tonight. Plus I have to pack for an overnight in Richmond tomorrow. I should have plenty of time to post tomorrow. Pinky swear.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Can you guess?
I'm going to a mystery location tomorrow for an undisclosed event. Stay tuned...

(Shawnie is disqualified from guessing. She knows)
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sugar is bad
Last Friday night Emma was munching on her one piece of candy a day from her parade stash. I think she was trying to work on a Now & Later. We made the off-hand comment that the sugar in candy was bad for her. She sat there looking stunned. She had no idea sugar was supposed to be bad for her. We explained that brushing her teeth was so important because sugar was bad for them. She declared that she wasn't going to eat candy anymore. O-kaaaaay.

The next day on the drive over to Noni and Popi's the topic came up again. She was repeating the same declarative sentence. "I'm not eating candy anymore." We had a much longer discussion about why candy is bad for you, why we stress how important it is to brush her teeth, and what foods are good for you instead. She was soaking it up. When we arrived at Noni and Popi's she immediately launched into an oral dissertation on why candy is bad for you. I'm sure Noni and Popi were bemused.

I didn't give it that much thought until tonight. After dinner we gave her pudding. As she's eating it I had to break it to her that pudding has sugar in it too. She stopped eating and looked completely repulsed. I rushed to assure her that it would be all right if we were sure to brush her teeth. Then she wanted to know if ice cream has sugar. Well, yes. Anything sweet and good will probably have sugar.

I think I'm ruining her life already.
Emma watched a whole movie
I know, big deal, right? Except she's never done it before. She's really fearful of new shows because she's always scared by something. We have several new Backyardigans episodes on our DVR that she won't watch because "they're too scary." Like she'd even know, since she won't watch.

Last year I started to show her Snow White. Man, did I ever forget what that movie was about. Within the first three minutes the Wicked Witch is ordering the huntsman to kill Snow White, cut out her heart and bring it to her.

What gave me hope that we might be able to watch a whole movie was Cinderella. Emma's recently been reading the story in a storybook. As I thought it through I realized that there wasn't anything that scary in it. The evil stepmother is just mean, not too scary. Other than that I couldn't think of anything.

Emma found something scary pretty quickly. I had forgotten the subplot concerning the cat, Lucifer, trying to catch our friendly mice pals. Emma was scared the cat would catch the mice. I was able to coax her into sticking with the movie. She made it the whole way through. She was pretty proud of herself. I was too.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Dogsitting duties
We're taking care of some friend's animals while he's off camping and playing cards and she's off seeing her mom with the girls. Emma got to go along for this morning's duties. It's great fun for her because this is the house with the trampoline. Now they also have a hammock too. It's not hard to get her to volunteer for this chore.

Rank bribery
I'm not above it. When I'm asking something extraordinary of my child I feel like she deserves the incentive to stick with me. When I go shopping it's usually a 4-6 hour marathon. I only get to shop about every other weekend and it's usually necessary for Emma to come along. Yesterday I knew we had a ton of stuff to shop for, mostly fall/winter clothes for her, so I offered to get her a Polly Pocket at the end of the day if she was good. She had a few 3 year-old moments, mostly when having to try on clothes, but otherwise she was good. The last picture features her award for good behavior.

New comforter
This is the first change in Emma's bedroom since we set up the nursery. I wanted a comforter that fit her bed. The other quilt was queen sized and it drug the floor on the back side of the bed. It was impractical for sleeping in the bed every night. I wanted a new comforter that would go with the blue rugs, but also add a bit of pink and purple. I kind of like the "crazy quilt" look of this one.