Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ava by the tree

click image for a BIG version

Monday, November 22, 2004

More Halloween pix

I finally posted our own Halloween photos.

Smooth Talker

Yesterday I talked briefly with a woman I hadn't seen since about 1981. I was reminded of an incident that I believe happened in December 1979.

A close friend of mine, let's call him "Ernest", had a big crush on that same woman, "Ethel." Ernest and I were sophomores in high school; she was a freshman. He'd asked her out a number of times, but she declined. Ernest hadn't given up, though, and wanted to give Ethel a Christmas card. Not content to mail it, he chose a high school basketball game to give it to her in person. He waited until the game was over, as everyone was streaming out of the gym. I happened to be walking along nearby, and overheard him trying to get her attention. Did he call out her name? No. Tap her on the shoulder? No. Those would have been reasonable choices. But we're talking about awkward teenagers here.

He said "Hey Stupid!"

It got her attention.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Halloween photos

Shane the Caveman has posted some photos of our Halloween party.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Leaf blower

Years ago, when I first heard of leaf blowers, I thought they were a bit silly. Then I actually saw one in use, and thought they were noisy and silly. I thought they were for lazy old guys who didn't want to rake.


Now that I'm old myself (I've always been lazy, and have never liked to rake), it is time for my own leaf blower. The rock that now covers half of our back yard was just the last nail in the coffin -- just try to rake a few cubic yards of elm leaves off of pea rock, and you'll head for Ace Hardware just like I did.

So off I went, clutching a tattered old Consumer Reports buyer's guide. I couldn't find this year's guide, but how much can leaf blowers have changed in three years, anyway? I came back with this unit. Now, imagine me grunting like Tim Allen: 12 amp motor, quick-shift between blower & vacuum, 424 cubic feet/minute airflow.

And it's not all that noisy.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Have you been wondering what William Shatner has been up to? Now you know.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Nocturnal polysomnography 101

Tired of my snoring, Tami talked me into getting tested for sleep apnea. There must be a long queue at the local hospital, as I had to wait about two months to get in. Last night was it.

It was the worst night of sleep I've had in a long time. I suspect Tami slept well...

First I filled out a short survey ("How much sleep last night?" "How many cups of coffee?") to supplement the week-long sleep log I'd already recorded. Then the nurse took tape measure and colored pencil to my head to decide where to hook up a variety of sensors. Several were placed around my head, one on each leg, two on my chest (those were the most painful coming off this morning), one under my nose, and one on a fingertip.

The plan was to observe for the first part of the night, then if it's warranted, hook me up with a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) device and observe some more. CPAPs are a common treatment for sleep apnea. They're a machine with a mask placed over the nose, and work by increasing the air pressure in one's upper airway enough to prevent obstruction.

I had to sleep on my back, both to prevent all of those sensors from coming loose, and to encourage the instance of an observable problem. This second reason seemed bogus to me, but I went along with the program. This turned out to be a problem. As the night progressed, my hips and back, unused to that position, were progressively more uncomfortable, which kept me awake.

After what seemed like about 90 minutes (I hope the results show the actual time), I finally fell into a fitful sleep. I woke up a few times. At some point (again, I'm not sure how long), the nurse came in to put on the CPAP. I was curious to see how uncomfortable the air pressure was going to be. That turned out to be fairly tolerable. At first the device itself was pressing quite hard on the top of my nose, but I called in the nurse and she adjusted it. Later it seemed to shift back into that painful position, but then I just adjusted it myself.

After another eternity, I fell asleep again, and I was even more restless than before. After a number of sleep/wake cycles, I thought to myself "Nurse Ratched or no, I'm sleeping on my side!" (Just kidding. The nurse was quite nice, and bore no resemblance to Louise Fletcher.)

I slept better once I turned.

At 6:00 a.m., the nurse came in to wake me, and removed the sensors. I filled out another form, which included a request to describe "in detail" any dreams that I may have had. It only had a small space, so she didn't get the full story like you're going to get.

In my dream, there was some sort of musical performance scheduled for the morning after the sleep test. There were to be two numbers; the first didn't involve me, and the second was me singing "I Walk the Line." I walked into the next room with wires still sprouting from all over my body. Will Lee, the bass player for the CBS Orchestra, was across the room on a small stage. Apparently he knew what was next, because he caught my eye, winked, and tuned his E-string up about a fifth. I called out "I can't hit a low E." Obviously, he already knew.

He gave me a six-string electric, and I doodled out a few notes, but before the performance started, I woke up.

This isn't the first time I've dreamed about the Letterman band. Once I was on the show with Bruce Springsteen, and I was teaching him the old Henry Mancini "Viewer Mail Theme" on the piano.

Anyway, I don't really think sleep apnea is a big problem for me, but I'm hoping that three months from now I'll be saying things like "I just didn't know what I was missing! I have so much energy now, I get more done, I'm nicer to my kids, and my 5K time has dropped by 3 minutes!"

Get on My Yahoo!

Are you a My Yahoo! user? Get on your My Yahoo! page. Just click the "Add to My Yahoo!" link near the bottom of the right column.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Speech oddity

Johanna has developed a bad Italian accent. She'll say things like "thatsa my shoe."

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Site feed

I've added a site feed to Someday I'll probably get around to putting one of those annoying little orange "XML" buttons by the link.

I've been seeing those same buttons all over the web for a long while now, and until yesterday I had only a vague notion about what they're about. I finally decided to take a look. Five minutes later, I had the Sage feed reader extension for Firefox installed, and had build a feed for The tools out there for this kind of thing are really quite remarkable.

Starting to ask really hard questions

I was reading Thomas & Johanna the extremely condensed version of "The Lion King" from this* book. We came to the part where Mufasa was telling Simba about how the kings of old will always be with him in the stars.

"What about during the day, when Simba can't see the stars?" asked Thomas.

*By the way -- why is there a picture of Dumbo on cover of this book, when there's no Dumbo story inside? I suspect it was cut by an editor after the artwork was complete. Too bad, too -- Dumbo is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Well, that answers that question

Upon hearing these last few lines of "Over the Rainbow"
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Thomas said "Because people don't have wings."

Friday, May 21, 2004

It's a Girl!

Ava Christine Thvedt was born this afternoon at 4:02. She's 19 1/2 inches long and 8 lbs. 14 oz. Mother and baby are doing well. The rest of us are very excited about the new baby girl.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Brookings Marathon

As usual, we fielded a relay team for the newly-renamed Brookings Marathon, formerly known as the Longest Day Marathon. Race director Andy Stockholm, the Prairie Striders Running Club, and lots of volunteers made it a great event, despite the bad weather. It was a bit cool, which is great for running, but about the time my leg of the relay started, it rained. It wasn't really that bad while I ran, but once I stopped I was chilled to the bone.

Our team finished 3rd in the relay division. I think we were in first until the anchor leg (me). Two runners whizzed by me, and I'm pretty sure they were on the two top teams. I managed to pass about five marathoners.

The night before the race, Dick Beardsley spoke. Most famous for his duel with Salazar at Boston in 1982, he has led an interesting life. He had a short stay at SDSU here in Brookings. He finished fourth on Saturday.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Our crab apple tree is in full bloom, and it's crawling with bees.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Good question

Thomas and I were singing some songs the other day. He paused to ask "How does an answer blow in the wind?"

I reread the liner notes for "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" and found this bit of wisdom from the songwriter himself: "The first way to answer these questions in the song is by asking them. But lots of people have to first find the wind."

Friday, April 09, 2004


Spring is finally here, at least temporarily, so we're starting to go for more walks. Thomas likes to run ahead, usually shouting "run!" One of us goes with him while the other stays back with Johanna and the stroller. Last night we had been out for a while when Thomas decided he'd had enough running. "My legs are out of breath!"

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Computer geek milestone

A few days ago I asked Thomas if he'd like to paint on the computer. Since then he's been happily scribbling in the GIMP, which isn't exactly appropriate for a three-year-old. It's roughly the equivalent of Photoshop, so it's not really a paint program, and ease-of-use is not its strong suit. The only other choice I had was KPaint, which (at least in the 0.6.2 version I have) doesn't do much. I showed him how to pick different colors, but that's about all. At the very least, I figured it would be good hand-eye coordination practice. His favorite thing to draw is a "T."

Last night he was mousing away. I was in the next room, and he came trotting out. "I need to show you something."

"OK," I said, figuring that he'd accidentally pulled up some menu or other, "what is it?"

"It's the up-and-down thingy."

Hmm. What could that be?

He climbed up into the chair and showed me. Somehow he'd zoomed in on his latest masterpiece, so it was now too big for the window. He moused over to the scroll bar, and started scrolling the picture up and down.

"Did you figure that out all by yourself?"

"No, you did it."

"You saw me do it before, and remembered how?"


I was so proud! My little budding computer geek.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Maybe I should do some sit-ups or something

Naturally, we've been telling Johanna & Thomas about "the baby in Mommy's tummy." Last night as I held Johanna in my lap, she pulled up my shirt, patted me on the belly, and said "Baby."