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Well, they're "sorta, kinda" indexing me anyway. It's on a 24 hour tape delay or something. So I never get picked up by Memeorandum because they pull from Technorati and Technorati has stuff I posted yesterday listed as my latest blog entry. And that's old news to Memeorandum.
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I'm doing a report on the Mayans and the Aztecs.
I told my Dad he should put these on his blog.
Have a super sparkly day!
Sophie asked me for help with her math homework last night.
Sven is on a trip to Hong Kong. He arrives at the airport and exchanges $125 US Dollars for Hong Kong Dollars. If he gets 7.79 Hong Kong Dollars for each US Dollar, how many Hong Kong Dollars does Marcus get?
Who the hell is Marcus?
Maybe he's the guy who mugged Sven.
And what moron goes to Hong Kong with only a buck twenty five in his pocket anyway? Sven deserved to get mugged! He was probably waving his money around like a fool yelling "I'm rich, I'm rich!"
At this point we were laughing so hard we had to take a 5 minute break.
We decided it was a typo. And then she got the right answer.
When a tumultuous line of thunderstorms rolled through early this morning our first thought was, uh oh, the parade's gonna get rained out. Not a chance! By 9 AM it was overcast, but clearing, and the line of marchers assembling along Forest Avenue stretched farther than I could see. As we made our way down Bloomfield Avenue with the other Brownies and Girl Scouts I was pleased to see so many friends and neighbors had turned out to honor America's war dead.
Who's that guy with the giant coffee cup?
West Caldwell Mayor Joe Tempesta spoke eloquently at the closing ceremonies, reminding us of what it means to serve our country and pay the ultimate price.
We often hear that freedom has a price and that each generation pays its due. Today is our day to say thank you to those who for generations have foot the bill; to those who have paid so dearly-with their lives. And to their families and friends whose lives are forever changed and to whom we owe an enormous debt.
We must teach others, particularly our children, about the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf so that we might continue to enjoy the liberties and freedoms granted in our Constitution.
We must help future generations understand that, politics aside, the act of committing yourself to your country and being willing to fight for the freedom of others is among the most noble of endeavors.
We must find ways to ensure the legacy of our heroes endures in what has become a "sound-bite" culture. These dedicated men and women are worth more than that — more than a 20-second sound-bite. Their history deserves telling and re-telling. Find a way in your life—at work or home, at church or a youth group meeting, wherever—to keep their memories alive. Honor their sacrifices, tell their stories, and cherish their memories.
Carol of No Sheeples Here! is once again organizing Troopathon. Please consider purchasing a Care Package for one of our brave service members. It's a great way to honor the legacy of our fallen heroes.
For as little as $24.99 you can help make the daily routine of our troops a little more bearable and thank them for their service all at the same time.
There are many items which the military does not provide for our troops but are still really, really needed and appreciated.
Gourmet organic coffee, Oreo Cookies™, deodorant, candy, Diplomacy Jelly Belly Jelly Beans™, hot chocolate, hot apple cider, wet wipes, sunblock, battery operated fans, Gatorade™, Painted Hills Beef Jerky™, Chap Stick™, Planters Trail Mix™, Ocean Spray Craisins Trail Mix™, bug repellent, "For The Troops" CDs, Diana Nagy "The Journey of Life" CDs and foot powder.
As Proof so succinctly puts it, "It's hardly an adequate way to express our gratitude for the sacrifice that they are making, but it beats sitting on your butt doing nothing."
Happy Memorial Day. May God bless our troops and hear the prayers of their
My little girl has quite the silly sense of humor. She picked out this card for my birthday today.
It's one of those "sound effects" cards. So when I opened it and saw this:
I also heard this:
On the plus side she got me a really cool J-E-T-S trash can for my office.
UPDATE 08 Jun 2010 15:28:
Not to be outdone, Tammy sent me this JibJab gem on Facebook:
Is that sick, or what?
PS to Russ — all I want for my birthday is an Anna Little win in NJ-6. Oh, and Chuck Devore to score an upset in CA, and Nikki Haley to hit 50.1% in SC. On the Dem side, here's hoping Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and the nutroots pull a Ned Lamont on incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln.
That's not asking too much, is it?
Happy birthday, Chris. You don't look a day over sixty.
Which is good, because sixty is far away, in the future, like when Barack Obama is but a distant memory and Happy Days are Here Again.
Get off my lawn.
Lawn? Dude, you're in freakin' Wisconsin. Your lawn is a bare patch under the snow melt which emerges in mid-August and is buried again during the first blizzard of September. Not that my lawn is anything to write home about. If it's green, it grows, that's my motto. After a few beers the weeds start to look good.
Global warming dumped more than 2 feet of snow on Fishersville Mike. We got 8 inches, as measured by my neighbor AJ at the behest of his son Hank who needed to know "exactly" how much we got. He sent his dad out into the backyard with a ruler.
The Christmas decorations in our front yard look pretty good in the snow!
And the great thing about Sophie is she always wants to help dad. She volunteered to shovel the walk. Afterward she's hanging out with her friend Hayden enjoying a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate.
I got off easy, Sophie shoveled the walk, and my buddy Andre came by with his
truck and plowed my driveway. Now mom's off at the mall and I can sit back
and watch the Jets.
Sophie is so excited she's bouncing off the walls. Today on Radio Disney she heard that Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana is embarking on a 45 date concert tour this year. Sure enough, the official Miley Cyrus blog confirms that she'll be appearing in Newark, NJ at the Prudential Center on November 7th and 8th.
Two shows. Tickets go on sale June 13th. If I don't score some seats for Sophie and me it will be the end of the world as we know it.
How much does Sophie love Hannah Montana? Mom took her to Universal Studios when they visited Grandma in April. Sophie was ho-hum about the place, until they entered the gift shop. The life-size Hannah Montana cardboard cutout brought a gigantic smile to her face!
It doesn't fold up, or they would have brought it home on the plane.
UPDATE 08 Jun 2009 14:12:
We got tickets!
Even though tickets don't officially go on sale until Saturday June 13th there are "pre-sale" tickets available. I'm probably the last guy in America to know this, but if you're a member of MileyWorld.com you get a special code that lets you buy tickets starting at 10:00 AM on Monday June 8th (today).
I discovered this at 12:45. I immediately joined MileyWorld.com; say goodbye to $29.95. I got my special code, logged in to Ticketmaster and found that the best seats still available were in the upper deck. Everything closer was already sold out.
So now I have 4 tickets in section 101. I imagine that if I'd waited until Saturday I'd be frozen out and feeling like a chump.
Sophie's summer camp is a lot of fun; she is taking swimming lessons, playing basketball, participating in art and drama classes, going on field trips, and learning new songs from her peers. She came home yesterday wanting to share this song with us.
The ukelele was her idea. I think it's a nice touch.
It's cool being a dad. Especially when you have a great daughter like Sophie. She bounced into my room this morning and announced "don't wake up yet Daddy!" and then she scampered downstairs. A little while later she was back, "you can get up now".
I made my way downstairs and found her excitedly holding a handmade card with "I love you" written all over the envelope. Inside was a plain piece of paper that she had decorated with hearts and "Happy Dad Day" written in big letters. She explained that she didn't know how to spell "father" so she wrote "dad". It also said "I love you and you love me" next to a drawing she made of us hugging. On the back she wrote "we have fun together".
I got more than a little choked up.
She also bought me a really funny card based on a Chris Rock skit. The card said to make your own plans for today or your wife will make them for you. When I opened the card there was a recording of him whining about how his wife always tries to introduce him to her girlfriends' husbands like they should have some kind of man play date. "He likes baseball just like you" is supposed to mean that you'll have lots to talk about. Ayup; Tammy's pulled that stunt more than once.
Tonight we're grilling some ribs (Sophie's favorite) and puttering around
the house together. It might not sound exciting but when I'm just hanging
around with my little buddy everything is alright with the world.
The first year of school is over. Sophie's kindergarten class met today for one last time so they could "graduate". The students put on a very nice program; they said prayers, sang, and thanked their teachers and parents for a great year.
The principal recited each child's name as he handed them a certificate. Parents beamed and cameras flashed.
Afterward over coffee and cake we chatted with the parents and teachers. Sophie was quite melancholy; she'll miss her teacher a lot. That's because she's an amazing teacher; she's patient, kind, nurturing, sensitive, and passionate about learning. Every kid loves her and she loves them too. Sophie really enjoyed her time in this class.
Overall I'm very impressed with the school. Most of the parents I've spoken with agree that it's great. Last week I was chatting with one of the moms during T-Ball practice and the subject of the first grade teachers came up as we talked about next year. Her older daughter had "Miss M" and the mom said she was a fantastic teacher. I mentioned that Sophie likes to hang out with the other first grade teacher, "Miss G", during aftercare. Again I was given a glowing testamonial, "she's a real sweetheart".
The school sent home a summer reading list and asked that Sophie fill out 4 very simple book reports to turn in after summer vacation. We also got a whole list of review activities that we can do over the summer, cross-referenced with web sites that have age appropriate exercises we can print out.
And so it's on to first grade! This was her 3rd "graduation" in as many years; first was the daycare end-of-year ceremony, then the Pre-K graduation, and now kindergarten graduation. Next year she'll be expecting another ceremony, but there won't be one. The fanfare is over for a while, until she completes fifth grade. Then there's yet another graduation before she starts middle school.
Sophie's educational journey has just begun and we are truly blessed by
the wonderfully solid foundation she received in kindergarten this year.
Aside from the airline, security, and rental car hassles, we actually did have a pretty nice vacation. The hotel we stayed at, The Bahia Resort in Mission Bay, was fantastic. They had a wonderful heated pool, and we all enjoyed playing in it. Tammy's sister Veronica and niece Cheyenna came down for a day, and brought along Brandon's girlfriend Christie. Sophie met some girls her age and had a blast. She watched some of the bigger kids jumping into the pool and Christie convinced her to give it a try. Click on Cowabunga Sophie on your right to see all the fun.
The hotel has an outdoor lounge area, with a fireplace and comfy couches. After we were done swimming we showered and then sat there for hours enjoying a sampling of their appetizer menu, which was really quite good. Christie wanted to get the nachos, but the description said it used multicolor chips. She has a wierd phobia about eating anything other than "normal" (blond) color chips. So, since we were feeling pretty good after a few cocktails, I asked the waiter if she could get the nachos with just the "regular color" chips and no orange or black ones. He laughed and said he'd see what he could do. He came back a few minutes later and said someone would go through the bag and pick out just the chips she wanted. He assured us it would not be a problem, and when he delivered the plate he joked "here's your racist nachos!". We all thought that was uproariously funny. Yes, I gave him a very good tip.The main reason for our trip was so Sophie could visit SeaWorld and Disneyland. I took a bazillion pictures -- click on Sophie and me on your left to see them. SeaWorld is sponsored by Anheuser Busch (Bud) and the Clydesdales were Sophie's favorite attraction. She loves horses and she wanted to spend all her time watching these wonderful animals. We eventually convinced her to check out the rest of the park but she was underwhelmed by Shamu and the antics of the dolphins. She did enjoy feeding the seals and riding Shipwreck Rapids.
Disneyland was an all day affair. Tammy's Auntie Marylouise lives near Anaheim and she met up with us at the Mouse House. Sophie was in awe for pretty much the entire time! She loved the fairy castle, Flying Dumbos, and especially the train ride that goes around the park. There was a perpetual smile on her face for pretty much the entire day. The only glitch was when we took her on Space Mountain; it scared the daylights out of her. No worries though, we ducked into Honey I Shrunk the Audience and she proclaimed the 3D experience "awesome".
I got to try my hand at futuristic driving on the Autopia. Sophie was my copilot. She was not a fan of my driving; when we got off she said "Daddy, I'm glad Mommy drives our car". Ouch! My driving wasn't that bad, was it? I had trouble with the hairpin turns and I did hit the side walls a few times, but I didn't bump into any other cars. It was fun for me; but I asked Sophie if she wanted to go on it again with me and she said "no". I felt a little like Captain Kirk in A Piece of the Action:
"Captain, you are an excellent starship commander. But as a taxi driver, you leave much to be desired."
"It's faster than walking."
"But not as safe..."
"Are you afraid of cars?"
"Not at all. It's your driving that alarms me."
"I've got the hang of it now."
- Spock and Kirk, before another try at an automobile
So Auntie took Sophie on Buzz Lightyear (she scored 3800) while Tammy and I shared a soda. After that Sophie convinced Auntie to go on the Merry-go-Round with her, and then we rode the little circus train through the miniature alpine village. Tammy and Auntie's favorite attraction is the Haunted Mansion and Sophie loved it too! She thought all the skeletons were very cool. Sophie also loved Pirates of the Caribbean -- and sang along with "Yo Ho! Yo Ho! A pirate's life for me!"
We finished up the Disney adventure by watching the parade down Main Street and then it was time to find some dinner. Auntie said the easiest place to go was Downtown Disney and we found a nice restaurant that served gourmet pizza and pasta. By this time we really needed a glass of wine (unlike SeaWorld, Disneyland is "dry") and we sat outside by a heater until our table was ready. Sophie could barely keep her eyes open after all the excitement, and when dinner was over I carried her to the car; she was fast asleep, with the same goofy grin on her face that she had all day.
After Disneyland we woke up a little late on Wednesday and set out on a 3 hour pilgrimage to Victorville, CA; home to Sophie's Grandma Penny. She hasn't been well (long story) so she was unable to travel down to San Diego or Anaheim to go with us to SeaWorld or Disneyland. So, we took our pictures out to her and Sophie regaled Grandma with stories about her adventures. We all went out to dinner and then headed back to finish our vacation by the pool.
Auntie Marylouise came down to visit with us on Thursday. Like the rest of Tammy's family she's originally from Hawaii and she had mentioned that Tammy's cousin Stuart lived nearby. He's deployed in the Navy but his wonderful wife Robin and daughter Zoe met up with us in Old Town San Diego for dinner. The hotel recommended Cafe Cayote and we sure were glad they did. It was a fantastic restaurant, great service, excellent food, and potent margueritas.
Sophie and Zoe took to each other like long lost friends and they soon were giggling and playing happily. After dinner we walked up and down the street and the girls kept up their chatter and tried to outdo each other with funny faces. The time to say goodnight came far too soon for everyone but Robin had to work Friday and Zoe had to get up for school. We walked them to their car and saw that they have excellent taste in vehicles -- Robin drives a Land Rover Discovery just like the one we used to have!
Friday morning I wanted to relax and read by the pool but Tammy and Sophie decided to check out Coronado Island. They lunched with Auntie at the Hotel Del Coronado, walked the beach, and checked out the statue garden built as a salute to Bob Hope by the Navy.
Sophie really enjoyed her spring break; she couldn't wait to tell her friends at school all about it.
Today is the annual take your daughters (and sons) to work day. In conference rooms across corporate America our children are getting a glimpse of what Dad and Mom do all day. Which is great, because too many kids think that money grows on trees.
But, why only expose them to actual work for one day a year? We should take this opportunity to instill in them a desire to contribute to the betterment of our families. Not by consigning them to nineteenth century style sweatshops, but by giving them responsibility for tasks associated with their daily lives. In other words -- Chores.
Sophie has always liked to help out. We recently formalized the arrangement when she expressed a desire to have some spending money (to buy more Webkinz, naturally). We told her that she could earn a weekly allowance by making sure she made her bed every day, picked up her dirty clothes and put them in the hamper, fed her fish, and watered the houseplants. She now does all of that, and more, with enthusiasm. When I hand her $5 each Saturday she is totally psyched. Tammy also pays her an extra dollar or 2 for special jobs like helping put away the groceries.
One big complaint of parents today is that kids are too spoiled (not their own kids mind you, other people's kids). These same parents pass out $20 bills with nary a second thought, and then go around cleaning up while their little angels play the latest X-Box game. I'm not going to let Sophie become a teenage chore slacker! Regardless of how much homework she gets, or how many activities she participates in, she'll always have chores that will have to be done. It's a great way to teach her to prioritize and effectively manage her time.
It's also much more satisfying to earn something you want than it is to have it just handed to you. Kids learn to respect their stuff when they have to work to pay for it. The toys Sophie has bought with her allowance are the toys she plays with the most, and they're always put away in the proper place.
The other benefit of assigning her chores is that she is more willing to assist Mom or Dad with our daily chores too. It's natural for all of us to work together; and Sophie really likes to learn how to do what we're doing. It is a wonderful bonding opportunity for us. And when she says "I can do it" I just feel so proud.
Those are the childhood memories she'll cherish -- doing things side by side with Mom or Dad;
not a one day staged event in a windowless conference room.
Sometimes we forget that Sophie is only six. For the most part we talk with her like she's just another person, but we do try to avoid controversial subjects. For instance, we've made a deal that Dad can't watch the news while she's in the room; she asks too many questions that we don't want to answer yet.
Yesterday though, we blew it. Her school sent home a note warning us to be on the lookout for a suspicious man, attempting to prey on young girls. It was in the paper too -- 3 teens reported to police that a man had tried to force them into his car at a local strip mall. They wisely ran away, but then another parent reported that her children encountered a similar situation, and now everybody's on edge. Caldwell is a nice suburban town, but you can't be too careful no matter where you live. There are nuts everywhere it seems.
It was a really nice spring day and Sophie wanted to play outside after school. She's done this many times in the past, and since Tammy was working from home, out she went. Tnen Tammy read the note. She went into over-protective Mom mode (a natural reaction, for sure) and told Sophie not to stray from the front porch. Sophie asked why, and instead of just saying "because I said so", Tammy said "because there is a bad man who wants to drag you into his car". She then went on to reinforce the "stay away from strangers" meme we've been instilling in her.
Uh, oh. Six year olds have very active imaginations. Sophie was freaked out. She did as she was told, but when it was time for bed, she didn't want to go upstairs. "What if the bad man comes up the driveway while I'm asleep?" "What if he tries to climb in through my window?" We tried to reassure her, telling her that we'd call the police at the first sign of trouble. "What if the police are in the bathroom when you call?" was her response. I explained that there are lots of police officers and they don't all go to the bathroom at the same time, but she was still very worried. I had to lay down with her and rock her to sleep, and it took over an hour before she stopped asking more questions while fidgeting and clinging tightly to me.
When I finally got back downstairs, Tammy sheepishly admitted that she
probably over-reacted. As parents we have to stay on top of the dangers
that lurk around the corner, but we also have to remember to be careful
about needlessly inducing fear into the minds of our children. Sophie isn't
old enough yet to fully understand the difference between a potential threat
and a clear and present danger. Fortunately she didn't mention anything
about the bad man at breakfast, so perhaps my reassurances were enough to
put her mind at ease. More likely though she just temporalized the threat;
since nothing happened last night, nothing is going to happen. I wish I
could pretend that was true.
Sophie has become quite the little kitchen helper. Her favorite meal is Dad's parmesan chicken, and tonight she asked if she could help prepare it. So, I let her pitch in. I prepared the ingredients in 3 mixing bowls, got the chicken cutlets ready, and turned over the prep to Sophie. She dove right in and got the entire 2 pounds of chicken ready for frying. (Click the picture for more shots of her culinary debut.)
The recipe is based on one I found in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook. These days I mostly "wing it", but here's how we did it for 2 pounds of chicken cutlets:
Dredge each cutlet through the flour mixture coating evenly. Dip it into the egg mixture, let it drain for a few seconds, and then dredge it through the breadcrumb mixture. You should end up with a good helping of breading on it. Lay the cutlet on a plate to set, and continue, stacking them on the plate.
When all the cutlets are breaded, get a broom and help Sophie clean up the mess. :-)
Get an overproof ceramic dish, and put it into a preheated 250 degree oven. In a nonstick skillet heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (EVOO for all you Rachel Ray fans) and a chunk of butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted fry the first batch of cutlets, about 3 minutes on each side (cooking time depends on how thin your cutlets are). When both sides are nicely golden brown, transfer them to the dish in your oven.
Add some more olive oil and another chunk of butter to the pan. You want to keep enough of the frying liquid to cook the cutlets, but don't drown them. Keep frying the cutlets, adding olive oil and butter as necessary, until you have cooked them all. Transfer the cooked cutlets to the dish in the oven so they'll stay warm.
Squeeze fresh lemons to get about 1/3 cup of juice. Add olive oil up to the 3/4 mark. Add a pinch of kosher salt, and then a lot of fresh ground black pepper. We like a lot of pepper! Whisk the mixture.
Sophie likes her cutlets plain, with just the lemon pepper sauce. In the Barefoot Contessa recipe, she suggests placing shredded romaine lettuce on top of each cutlet, and then drizzling the lemon pepper sauce over it. That's how I like to eat them.
I usually serve the chicken with a light tomato & basil pasta. Tonight we were pressed for time so I just made a quick batch of rice pilaf, and some corn for Sophie since she's not much of a salad eater.
Sophie's prep work was excellent -- they tasted as good as they always do. And,
we had a lot of fun cooking together.
Sophie looks positively lovely in her new Easter dress. Like every little girl she loves to get all dressed up for church. The main church was packed by the time we arrived, and we met up with our neighbors Josh and Lauren and their kids at the "overflow" mass in the gym. Monsignor Kelly welcomed everyone, and noted jokingly that he'll organize a basketball game later on if anyone is interested. Regardless of the location, it was a beautiful service, and everyone rejoiced in the celebration of Christ's resurrection.
The Easter Bunny brought Sophie a big basket full of goodies. Of course she got chocolate in all shapes and sizes, but since she's a 21st century nerd girl, he also brought her Webkinz and computer games. She ignored the candy and went straight for the Webkinz frog. The easter frog? Must be a new thing. She dashed on over to her pc and "adopted" him online. After church she went back upstairs to install a SpongeBob game (with a little help from Mom).
Later on we'll head on over to Aunt Pappi's for dinner. Sophie wants to
organize an Easter egg hunt in their backyard, for the adults. She spent
yesterday afternoon coloring some eggs and she asked if she could hide them
for us to find. I hope she remembers where she hides them all, or David is
going to have a nice surprise in a couple of weeks when a forgotten egg ripens!
Peridically Sophie's school sends home notes in her backpack. They're usually about some fund-raiser or a reminder to bring in supplies like an empty egg carton for a project. Yesterday it was a notice that made me go a little bonkers. They're adding 2 extra days off to the Easter break. Why? Because they allocated 3 snow days for the year and they only used one.
Did it ever occur to these folks that they should just be happy they have 2 extra days to teach the kids? Why is it necessary to give them two more days off, and screw up our work schedules in the process? The school calendar is posted in September and we planned our vacations and days off around their myriad of holidays, half-days, and breaks. When school is closed one of us has to stay home with Sophie. Two more days off means Tammy and I each have to blow another vacation day (or sick day if my boss doesn't read this blog <grin>).
Plus, they make us pay in advance for the hot lunch program, and there are "absolutely no refunds". So I'm out 8 bucks for the 2 lunches Sophie won't get to eat. (OK, I won't go broke over 8 bucks, but it's the principle of the thing.)
They made a big deal at the kindergarten orientation about not pulling our
daughter out of school for vacations because the kids need to understand that
school is important. I guess it's only important when they don't have two
extra snow days to burn off.
Sophie's school is closed this week. Tammy worked out a schedule with some of the other moms from her class to provide coverage for each day. Today was special, since just about everybody (except Tammy and me) was off from work for President's Day. Tammy was going to stay home, but then she found about a meeting she couldn't miss. So, it was Daddy Day Care time!
One other mom, an accountant who is buried in work this time of year, asked if she could drop off her daughter. Sophie was excited about Abby being here since they're good friends and they attend ballet class together. Abby's brother (3rd grade) came along too. I had to plan all indoor activities since the weather forecast called for torrential rains all day.
We had a blast. When they arrrived the kids started off playing video games and pinball, then Abby decided she was hungry. I made a big platter of bacon and eggs and toast and they proceeded to devour it. Sophie especially was ravenous (I guess she's growing again). Then we played Monopoly until it was time for lunch.
Tammy had promised Sophie and Abby that I'd make homemade chicken fingers. While they watched a movie I sliced up some chicken breasts, breaded them (adding parm cheese and lemon juice, my secret ingrediants), and fried them in batches. I put out a big plate of chicken fingers, and almost before I could turn around, they were gone. Yes, I made more.
It almost looked like the rain was going to stop, and the sun poked through for 15 minutes or so. I was going to bring the kids outside, and then another downpour struck. I set them up with arts and crafts (paper, markers, glue, scissors, and tape) and let them go to work. That took about 45 minutes, and we moved on to looking at stuff under the Bionic Eye. This is an amazing gadget that Sophie got from Santa. It magnifies stuff 200x and displays it on a TV screen. They had a lot of fun looking at each other's nose hairs! Sophie wanted to use it on her socks and that produced more fun. You can find all kinds of gross stuff at 200x magnification!
Abby's mom came by in late afternoon while we were finishing up the Monopoly game. They went home and Sophie and I played some computer games until Tammy was done with work.
Now it's bedtime, and I'm going to tuck Sophie in. I'm not sure who had more
fun today, me or her, but we're both smiling!
The other day Sophie asked me "Daddy, what's the biggest number?" We were doing her math homework, counting pictures of pennies to determine which pile was bigger.
Daddy: I don't know Sophie, what do you think the biggest number is?
Daddy: How about 101?
Daddy: Is 200 bigger than 110?
Sophie: Yes. I'll say a million million million!
Daddy: And I'll say, a million million million and one.
Sophie: Is it infinity?
Daddy: (big smile) Where did you hear about infinity?
Sophie: (shrugs shoulders, a sign she isn't quite sure about what she's saying)
Daddy: Yes Sophie, when you're counting, the biggest number is called infinity. We say that even if you add 1, you still get infinity.
Sophie: So, there is no number bigger than infinity?
Daddy: (thinking how do you explain the difference between Aleph0 and Aleph1 to a six year old) Well... Do you remember how we played with the fraction pieces? We started with ½, then 1/3, then 1/4, 1/6, 1/8 and so on?
Daddy: Is there a fraction smaller than 1/8?
Sophie: (frowns, and looks puzzled for a minute) uhhh... Yes?
Daddy: Right. There is always a smaller fraction.
Sophie: (stares blankly, deep in thought)
Daddy: It's alright Sophie, you'll learn more about stuff like this in college, but I have to warn you, when Daddy learned about it his brain hurt!
Sophie: OK, can we finish my homework now?
Footnote for my pedantic friends (and you know who you are!) -- she's
only six, and yes I'm aware that the fraction example is wrong since the
cardinality of all rational numbers is still Aleph0. I'm open to
suggestions of how to explain irrational numbers to a kindergartener. My
point was to get her thinking about counting between the integers.
Sophie had an interesting assignment this week. Her teacher asked each student to think about what they want to be when they grow up. She had to prepare a short presentation talking about what kind of job she would like to do, the tools or skills she might need for that job, and how her job will help others.
I immediately said "tell them you want to be the Mayor of Newark". Hey, why not? Then she could get jobs for all her friends and set them up with cushy pensions, lifetime benefits, and a few sweetheart land deals; that's certainly "helping others". The only tools she'll need are her winning smile, some rich friends (hi Uncle Pat) to bankroll her campaign, and the ability to lie under oath (well, ok, maybe we shouldn't encourage her to lie, let's call it bending the truth instead). With any luck she'll end up with a Rolls Royce, a yacht, and a nice mansion.
She said "no way". I think she's still a little too young for dad's sarcasm.
She decided she wants to be an artist and she talked about the paints, brushes,
clay, and other items she'll use. She said her art will help others because
looking at it will make them happy. I can't argue with that.
Sophie got her first report card today. It came home in her backpack in an official school envelope, with a stern notice attached that we must review the contents and return a signed acknowledgement slip.
So I pulled the grade sheet out and it's filled with check marks for each of the various skills she's expected to learn in Kindergarten. Sophie explained to me that check marks mean "good" and a minus sign means "bad". No minus signs! Then, there at the bottom is her list of subjects (math, reading, etc) and next to each one is the letter A.
That's my girl!
Yesterday was just another Tuesday here at DL. I'm working on some random stuff, nothing terribly exciting (some reinsurance report corrections and a rewrite of a network app from DECnet to TCP/IP). Around 3:30 though, Sophie dropped by! Tammy was on her way to get her hair done and Sophie asked if she could hang out with me.
I settled her in at a work table and helped her do homework. Then she played with some of the toys I keep in the office (her favorite is a little wind-up robot I got as a promo from CDW). She also doodled a new picture on my whiteboard. We ate some peanut butter cookies and soon it was time to go home. This was the part she was looking forward to -- not because she wanted to leave the office, but because we were going to ride the bus. Sophie loves riding the bus.
We walked down to the corner and for once the NJ Transit #29 was on time. Sophie methodically put her money into the slot and collected her ticket, which she held like a prize. It's only a short ride to Caldwell and Sophie kept chatting the whole time. She wanted to know how the bus driver knew to pick us up, even though I had already explained about waving to the bus when it comes down the Avenue and she dutifully waved for it to stop. I told her it was because we waved to the bus, and then she asked what would happen if we didn't wave? Well, I said, did you want to walk home? NO! So, that's why we waved. Then she wanted to know if she could push the button to ring the "stop requested" bell. Yes, I said, but not until we reach our stop. Next it was, why doesn't the bus have seat belts? Sigh. She always asks the same questions every time we ride the bus. But yes, it's still cute!
When it was time, Sophie pushed the yellow line and it rang the bell. The driver pulled up to our stop and we scurried off the bus. We started walking home and my cell phone rang. Mom was on her way back. So, we waited on the corner by Vila Meats for about 3 minutes, and got a ride home.
When I was tucking her into bed later on she said "thanks for taking me on
the bus today Daddy" right before she closed her eyes. Awwww.