"...That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our healthcare is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet...
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things..."
It is time we acted our age. And that means taking responsibility. And figuring out what you need to do to help...not just sitting around waiting for the new guy to fix our problems. Hmmm...that sounds an awful lot like another young president's inaugural address...say, about fifty years ago. So what can you do for your country?
- Maureen Dowd, The Long, Lame Goodbye. New York Times. 17 January 2009.
Thought this quote was funny. However, hope the Obamas are adopting a dog. That would feel even better.
More importantly, the current temperature (at 5:00pm) is 5 degrees above zero but it feels like negative 12. This is downright balmy compared to the temperatures we're going to get to experience over the next 24 hours or so.
A wind chill warning remains in effect until 12 pm cst Friday. Treacherous wind chills between 35 and 50 degrees below zero will exist across the area tonight into Friday morning as northwest winds continue around 10 mph, and air temperatures plummet to 15 to 25 degrees below zero. Some improvement is expected in the wind chills on Thursday afternoon back toward 20 to 30 degrees below zero, only to fall back toward 35 and 40 degrees below zero thursday night and Friday morning. A wind chill warning means the combination of very cold air and strong winds will create dangerously low wind chill values. This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken.
FIFTY DEGREES BELOW ZERO? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Please note that that is WITH the wind chill. The air temperature itself will be 25 degrees below zero. Practically summer-like. And, excuse me, but when are wind chills of 20-30 below zero considered "some improvement." And this says nothing of the fact that this weather forecast involves the word "death" (see paragraph one for my thoughts on the dangers of driving, especially in the territory of carnivorous space squirrels). Seriously. And people decided Wisconsin was a good place to cut back on the nomadic hunting and gathering thing and set up permanent settlement for what reason?
Meanwhile, we have a gigantic window and several smaller windows with no insulating shades (no shades at all, actually) and I just noticed the rubber piece that goes around the door and presumably helps to keep the cold outside where it belongs has fallen off. Fabulous.
There is a rumor going around that they're going to cancel school tomorrow. Most of the K-12 districts in the area have already closed. Maybe I'll have a "snow" day. Maybe I can teach the dogs to pee in the toilet this evening. It could come in handy tomorrow.
My subzero bag is just begging to go winter camping.
Besides the fact that it is the dreaded week back after after winter break, it has been one giant running-around-in-heels event after another since Tuesday. New student orientation on Tuesday, rescheduled December graduation (it was snowed out) on Wednesday, two days of faculty/staff inservice also on Wednesday as well as today, and tomorrow there will be a hundred or so high schoolers running around. For some reason, the recruiter is central to every single one of these activities (with the possible exception of inservice, as no one seems to realize I work at the college). To top it all off, Mike has the emergency pager this week, so he is extra special cranky. This is the week that people call him with "emergencies" like "our guest room toilet that we never use is maybe possibly leaking a little bit but we don't want you to come over right now (it is 3am afterall) but could you come immediately in the morning and don't worry about forgetting because we'll call you again in an hour to remind you" and "there is a weird smell coming from inside our furnace that is probably a dead animal and will you come over and get it out?"
I'm particularly impatient for this weekend to hurry up already as our friends Sarah and Joe and their dogs Rusty and Rooke are visiting this weekend. We're FINALLY going to get a chance to play our board games that require more than two players! Yeehah!
(Sarah, if you're reading this, I promise we'll do other stuff too!)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is Hamlet, reimagined. Set in the Wisconsin northwoods, the title character is a young boy, mute from birth, whose family raises an amazing breed of dogs. All is well in Edgar's life until his uncle, his father's brother, unexpectedly returns. Soon afterward, Edgar's father is found dead and his uncle begins to pursue his mother. Edgar suspects his uncle of murder, but in his attempt to make an accusation things go horribly wrong. Edgar flees into the Chequamegon forest with three pups that he has raised and trained. Months later, he returns to face his uncle...
Books speak to us for different reasons. I love a good adventure, a good love story, a plot line that helps me reflect on myself, not to mention fabulous writing. But I don't need all this in any one book. This book was brilliant for all of these reasons, and many others. I loved that it was Hamlet, seen through an entirely different lense. Almost everyone is there, Horatio, and Laertes, and the Ghost, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but often in unfamiliar form. It has been years since I've read or seen Hamlet, but the plot and characters came back to me through this book, slowly at first, and then much more powerfully. More than once I found myself holding my breath, impatiant to discover how Wroblewski would reinvent a particular character or plot twist. I love that it is set in Wisconsin. Characters are constantly "popping a Leiney's" and the locales and descriptions are familiar, if sometimes only in name and not through personal experience. I love that the author, David Wroblewski, "gets" dogs. The Sawtelle dogs are as central to the novel and plot of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle as dogs are to the lives of anyone fortunate enough to share their home with one. I love that the author is obviously a remarkable reader himself. He is a marvelous storyteller, who deserves all the praise he has received for this book and more. He knows how to keep his reader engaged, how to explore the complexities of his characters, and how to leave just enough to his reader's imagination. All around, a phenomenal work. And if this hasn't convinced you to get your hands on a copy of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, I'll lend you mine.
Mike's cousins taking advantage of the snowmobile rides up to the top of the hill.
Mike's dad (in his "drunk UPer" costume) and cousin driving the snowmobile.
Shaking down the cousins for loose change.
Over the years, we've learned that advanced planning and a little research results in the best sites, away from the big RVs (what are you doing in the woods, anyway?), the pit toilets, and mosquito-infested bogs. So, just as winter starts to get really settled in, the planning begins: where should we camp this year? Who can come that weekend? Who wants to book the site?
As of yesterday, planning for the 2009 season is in full swing (thank you, Laura), and the table above proves it (thank you, Julie). Maybe we're a little on the over-achieving side, but when you live in a state that can (and often does) have snow on the ground October through May, looking forward to camping season helps to stave off seasonal affective disorder for at least another month. And by then, I'll have a notice in the mail containing six of the sweetest syllables on the planet: "REI Dividend."
1) Exercise more and eat more fiber and less cheese etc. etc. etc. There. Mandatory resolution out of the way.
2) Keep the house clean. I've been doing a pretty decent job with the whole cleaning thing since we moved, and would like to keep it up.
3) Cook more. I'm finally getting into cooking...it helps to have a fully stocked kitchen equipment-wise. Hurrah for wedding presents!
4) On the subject of wedding presents, we seriously need to finish the rest of the thank you cards. There has been some serious foot dragging on my end (and complete foot dragging on the end of my dear husband).
5) Cut back on caffeine
6) and alcohol.
7) Be a better phone call answerer/returner. I HATE talking on the phone. But I will make an effort.
8) Shop more. Yes, you heard me. I HATE shopping and HATE buying clothes and HATE spending money on them. Consequently, my clothes are falling apart. Honestly, this may be the hardest resolution for me to keep. Poop. Stupid resolution.
9) Take the dogs for more walks. Once the temperature gets above 0, that is.
10) Eat less chocolate. :)