Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rested! Just in time to wind up again.

Hello everyone! I hope you didn't miss me too much, and I hope that the extra day of our vacation wasn't too hard on you (yea, just pretend you noticed, it will make me feel better). We were originally planning to fly back on Sunday, but the presence of Hurricane Irene made that seem like a really terrible idea, so we stayed an extra day and came back yesterday. Probably a good idea...no idea when we would have finally landed had we tried to get here Sunday.

While I never mustered up the energy to do much of anything, the second half of the week was just as much fun as the first. I read a lot, took a lot of naps and got a ton of sun. Since school starts next week (more on that in a minute) I had some work to do so that I don't feel completely lost. Because, really, I kinda forget everything..."school mindset" is such a unique state of being, and it takes some time to get back into that. Hopefully I am not too lost.

So, let's see...weather was awesome and our hosts were lovely, as always. We did take a day trip on someone's super-nice boat (I think it was a friend of Frenchie's father, but I am not totally sure to be honest:-)). I am not really a huge boat fan...I don't get sea sick, but I get bored and feel kinda trapped. Yea, I can feel claustrophobic on the open ocean, go figure. And the idea of owning one seems like an awful lot of time, money and work...but sunning myself and enjoying a frosty beverage on the deck while floating in the Mediterranean? I can see the attraction...

Munchkin did great, too. She had a great time, got everything out of it that she could, and didn't shed a single tear when we left. They have made peace with the limits of their relationship, and when they are together they just focus on enjoying each other as much as they can...she is just so incredibly happy to be around him. I think in the past I have written a lot in the vein of "when this inevitably ends" but I am not so sure about that any more...I still think it is impossible for two people to have a serious relationship as they grow through the times when that means having to be on the same continent, but I kind of get the feeling that they will be a part of each other's lives for the long-term. I dunno...but I have stopped worrying about how she will feel when they break up.

Stupid anecdote, but I think it goes to why I like him for her so much. And this is all through the filter of them being 16 and only seeing each other a couple of weeks a year.

Soccer practice starts this week, so she was coming right back from vacation and into the season. She loves being an athlete, and she keeps herself in really good shape all year long, even when she is out of a sports season. During the summer, she runs. A LOT. She runs far and she runs fast (she also wears almost nothing when she does...we have discussed this...resolution still pending).

In an effort to not lose her conditioning during vacation, she vowed to run at least three times during the week. Since Frenchie is not really a runner, that meant finding someone to go with her. Turned out to be no problem in Paris, where two girls that are school friends of Frenchie's are pretty regular workout buddies, so she just went with them one morning. I went with her to a track one day in Nice so she could get a workout in, which was also easy enough.

On a totally separate note, when she is home, she generally runs in itty bitty running shorts and what looks to me like a sports bra...she doesn't like wearing sweaty clothes (or so she says, I think mostly she is built like a fucking underwear model and doesn't mind showing it off.) However, she was clearly aware of her "in-laws" because she suddenly decided that the appropriate attire for this trip was knee-length spandex shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt;-) Anyway...

So, back to my story...on Friday, she and Frenchie were hanging out with some of his friends and the subject must have come up, because a guy offered to run with her on Saturday morning. A slightly older Italian boy who Frenchie is apparently not the biggest fan of. So...think about how most 16 year olds would handle this. Well, he didn't make any kind of a stink, she enjoyed having someone to take her on a route along the water and through the city and that was that.

Obviously, not a major event, but this is what I like about them...they don't manufacture major events. Anywho...this is way too long, I have told you nothing of value, and I have to get back to work!!!

And yes, school starts again next week. I guess more on that tomorrow, then.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Funny, the Internet is still in English!

Figured I would blog at least once from vacation so that you all know that I am not dead. And, I should have lots to say! However, the beach is right out the door, and I find it hard to justify sitting in here and writing when I can be out there and...um...doing absolutely nothing!!!

The trip has been awesome! Easy flight to Paris, a couple of fun, semi-touristy days in the city with enormous quantities of decadent foods (enormous quantities because I ate a lot of meals, not because any of the meals were large...seriously France, work on your portion sizes!) We got in on Saturday morning and took it pretty easy most of the day, then did a whole bunch of stuff on Sunday. I didn't really think that Munchkin wanted to do that again on Monday, so she and Frenchie hung out with his friends and I kidnapped Frenchie's sister for a day to bum around with me (and translate), which was super fun.

Tuesday morning I actually had some "work" to do...although I am not sure it was all that urgent. We have a couple of investors that are Paris-based, and I was instructed to drop in and say hello. Mostly, I think that Papa Bear and Big Sis and Boss Foxy want me to have a little more exposure to that side of the business (all of my work has always been with our portfolio companies, but there is the whole part about raising money to invest that is kinda important;-)).

I had no specific agenda and nothing important to accomplish, so it was a pretty easy morning...I had some performance data to deliver, but that is just as easily emailed, and there was nothing in it to generate that many questions. So, mostly it was a social visit, which I am good at...also helps that it is fun to explain why I was in Paris:-) And since the second meeting was in a building next to Frenchie's father's office, Frenchie's sister came in and met us for lunch...I guess they do that about once a month or so, which I find incredibly adorable! It makes me look forward to the day that the girls are old enough to ride the subway:-)

Wednesday we took the train to Nice, and here we are! It remains as spectacularly beautiful as it was two years ago when I was here last, and I am looking forward to spending several days with my feet up laying in the sun. I have a date to chat with The Boy and the girls later today...I miss them all terribly! (Confession: enjoying the sleep:-)) Can't wait to see them on Sunday!

And, well, I guess that's it...I have some sunning to do!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm gonna take my ball and go home! (Lies, I am taking very little and going to France:-))

Once again, serious posts in the summer lead to a whole lot of silence...which maybe disproves my point about Michelle Bachmann. Maybe no one really does care...

Anyway, what is everyone up to this weekend? What's that, you are hopping across the Atlantic with your little sister to spend a week in France with her adorable boyfriend and his equally adorable family? Oh, no...wait...that's me!!!

No idea whether I will post of not, but I will probably check some emails and may drop a note here and there. But for the most part, you are going to have to try and survive without me;-)

Au revoir!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It seems like the Presidential campaign is starting to heat up, which we all know makes me all tingly inside. And it gets me thinking, and gets me wanting to spout some nonsense about it. And to start with, I wanna talk about Michelle Bachmann. And I have so much to say that I don't really even know how to start.

The facts, I suppose, are as follows. Michelle Bachmann is a third-term Representative from Minnesota who is running for President. She is a vocal member of the Tea Party movement and has been something of a rising voice within the Republican caucus since her election. I would classify her policy ideas as pretty consistently Christian Conservative. She sought but did not get a leadership position after the last election.

There are two things that amaze me about her - the amount of attention she gets from the media, and the level of obsession about her from the political left. I get it: she is a relatively good looking woman, and she says lots of things that make for good TV...but is that really enough to devote the level of coverage that she gets? She has more writers and cameras follow her than anyone else, despite the polling, donations and common sense that says she is a second or third tier candidate. That extends to not just the major media, but also the minor web and print sources as well.

Feeding the "good looking woman" thesis, of course, is that the only person who could divert the media's attention from her is Sarah Palin, of course. And don't even get me started on the assertion that a Palin candidacy would be the end of Bachmann's campaign. You know, because her supporters will blindly follow the highest-profile hot chick they can find...(this is a whole other issue about the media covering Republican supporters as if they are stupid. They may or may not be, but the constant overtone of the coverage is ridiculous.)

I guess I can understand the media's coverage, though. They may be doing a disservice as a "news" organization, but the ratings quest is at least understandable. More confusing to me is that the left is absolutely obsessed with her. Just check out any kind of media...be it Twitter or any other opinion-generating source, and the attention to all of her actions is mind-boggling. I feel like MSNBC has a once-every-fifteen minute update on her, and its hosts (and others like them) take every stupid thing she says as if it is an earth-shattering revelation. Check what your liberal activist or involved friends are posting or forwarding about the Republican candidates and I can promise it will be all Bachmann, all the time (except for Herman Cain's pokemon references:-))

She is, at best, the third most likely Republican Presidential candidate (although she looks a little better with Tim Pawlenty's dropping out), and an argument could be made that at least a half dozen people are more likely to get the nomination. But check in with anyone you know who considers him or herself to be an "informed" follower with a liberal bias, and I can promise you that they will have a much more intense feeling about her than about either Mitt Romney or Rick Perry (the likely front-runners) or John Hunstman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.

And let's contrast her to a couple of those people. Start with Ron Paul, whose lack of media attention baffles me. He has a much longer record than Bachmann (and I use the comparison not to knock her, but just as a benchmark for him) and is the intellectual father of the movement that she is riding. His rallies draw bigger crowds than hers, and he has a proven record of outstanding fundraising. Even with her "flavor of the month" status, he has raised more money than she has, from more donors.

Polls of actual likely voters in Republican primaries have him even or ahead of her. Quick question: which Republican candidate, other than McCain, raised the most money in the last election cycle? According to OpenSecrets.org, it was Paul (Romney's donations to his own campaign excluded.) So, why have the major media outlets designated him as "not a serious candidate" while they follow her like she is the nominee? I don't disagree with them about his chances, but what is the objective criteria that they are applying to the two of them?

And what of, say, Rick Santorum? As a bogeyman for the left, he should be better...he was the third ranking member of the Senate, was considered a very likely Presidential candidate in the mid 2000's...and he is more conservative than Bachmann is. And that doesn't even get to Newt Gingrich!

I guess these two phenomena feed on each other...the left is obsessed with her, which means the media covers her because that is what the viewers want. And that level of coverage makes her seem important, which makes the obsession seem worthwhile. But where are the people who actually step back and ask "Who exactly is she appealing to that is going to make her a Presidential nominee?" If you know any registered Republicans (in other words, the people who will ultimately determine the nominee), ask them what they think of her. My guess is that they don't really think of her much at all...

(And yes, I know she won the Ames, Iowa straw poll last week...but seriously, she could have won Miss Onion Festival 2011 at the Michigan State Fair and it would be moderately less relevant)

Anyway...not sure what this is really related to at all...just what I am thinking this week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh yea...and I forgot!

Totally forgot to mention that we scrapped the idea of taking LK to France. I still think it would have worked out, but I got talked out of it...and she has had a bit of a cold the last few days, which made it easier to decide that she is better off staying at home.

Maybe next year!

Phone etiquette

It seems like most people are in agreement on the idea of calling your spouse at work...some people do it more often that others, and some do it only for a specific reason...but everyone agrees that it should be kept private.

So why...I ask...is there someone in every office who doesn't get that? I never call The Boy during the day, and he never calls me...we do email and text occasionally, but mostly we just go about our business until we get home. I don't even have his work number, I don't think... I would say the only reason we ever talk during the day is if day care called because one of the girls is sick and one of us has to go get them. I think that happened twice...

But a lot of people do call just to check in at least once a day. Which is totally understandable and completely reasonable. But having snippy, loud conversations in the middle of an office? Who on earth thinks that is acceptable behavior? Go outside, go to a conference room, close your door...whatever...but how any adult could think it appropriate to have anything more than a completely cursory "Hello" with their spouse in a place that other people can hear is totally beyond me.

And don't even get me started on your parents calling you at work...that has all kinds of potential for weird...

And tomorrow, Michelle Bachmann!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Survey Says...

Since last Friday's seriousness went over like a concrete balloon, I am going to try and be a little more interactive this week.

The topic for discussion is calling your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend at work.

Do you do it? Does he or she call you? How often? Do others in your office do it? Are you a fan? Inappropriate?


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I get it...lay off the seriousness during summer

So, no one liked my serious Friday post, eh? Yea, I get it...summer Fridays are no time for sovereign debt discussions...(although, it was well-timed, as it turns out). So I will lay off of the Federal Budget talk for a while. Just be warned, that is the tool that the old people are using to rob you blind...indifference!!!

Anyway, some nonsense...Project Runway is back on, which makes me all giddy inside. I don't know who I like or don't like yet, so I will hold off on that for a few more episodes. I did hear that there is a Project Runway All-Stars coming on, although it has no Heidi and no Michael Kors. In other words...it is TOTAL BS!!! A hostess that uses contractions? Blasphemy! And Isaac Misrahi is fine, but he is a poor substitute for Kors...too over the top, tries too hard. No way he will be able to use "80's power bitch" in a sentence nearly as often as MK can...

I am OK with the cats, although what I would really love is to see all of the best non-winners together. Mondo and Rami are both on, which is good, but Daniel from Season 2, Emilio from a couple seasons ago and Jillian from the Christian Siriano season would all have to be there to make it a really great season. All of those people were better than some of the winners, and all just sort of ran up against better designers.

Changing gears...last week (really the last two weekends) was the annual "Mrs. Mama Bear's Family Beach Bonanza" where they all invade the beach house. As usual, it was a really good time with TONS of people (the family keeps getting bigger:-))...and Munchkin played hostess for the whole time. Because, as we all know, it is really her house.

She is away at soccer camp this week, then back to the beach for her final week of work, then off to France:-) Tough life that kid leads, eh? On the downside...at the moment it looks like no babies on the France trip, but more on that tomorrow. I think The Boy has talked me out of it, but I still sort of like the idea, so we'll see.

Anyway, until then...call your Congressman and tell him to stop borrowing money on your behalf!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Debt Ceiling...a week or two late

I wish that I had the energy to write about last week's debt ceiling debate, but I would just make myself angry and have to take a while to simmer down. Short version:

1) The fact that we have a debt ceiling is asinine
2) Republicans made a stink about raising it is preposterous
3) Tying it to future spending cuts would be the same as insisting that any hikes in import taxes be attached to decreases in prescription drug benefits - the two have NOTHING to do with each other
4) The fact that Democrats even engaged in the discussion is embarrassing
5) Their "solution" to this "crisis" is weak-willed, short sighted and pushes the problems further down the road. That's right, even when they manufacture a crisis, they can't solve it right
6) There are no more than a handful of members of Congress who will ever willingly tell someone bad news.

On the plus side, putting the Defense budget on the table as a place in need of cutting is a major step. (And let's be honest...only in Washington DC can you give something exactly as much money next year as you do this year and call it a "cut". In fact, you can give it more next year than this year and still call it a cut.) You can't have a reasonable budget discussion that doesn't address the major expenditures, and that is one of them that has often been considered off limits. So, at least that was something of a positive development...not unlike the changes to the Social Security formula a handful of years ago - not that it was a major change, but it set the precedent that at least we could maybe make some changes. Now, about Medicare...

But really, it was just one big fight over who could be more wrong. I think the Republicans won that fight, but not because the Democrats didn't put up a strong effort of their own.

Anyway, we seem to be past that speed bump (until it comes up again in...oh...six months or so) and back to focusing on the fact that the economy is in complete shambles. Wait, you mean that massive government intervention didn't fix the economy? Wow, we are definitely gonna have to re-write the Economics text books now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

On Baby Travel

So, not surprisingly, you were torn between best and worst idea ever. So, a couple things...

First, yes, I would feel a little guilty going and leaving both girls home. Mostly for missing them, but a little bit for leaving The Boy with them all by himself (and likely with his mother's help:-)) Not that he would complain...(in fact, he may be trying to talk me out of this...more on that later).

But mostly, I just think it will be really fun! And sure, she won't ever remember any of it, but I will, and Munchkin will, and that has to be worth something, right? I am sure the flight will be a pain, but for a couple of reasons I am not overly concerned about that. And once we are there, I actually think she will do really well (assuming I can get her sleeping schedule adjusted to the time change!)

She generally does very well with being busy, regardless of what it is. New places and things and people keep her very interested...she just needs to be fed, have a chance to run around a bit, and always have her stuffed bear (a bear dressed as a bee...don't ask). I wouldn't take her to the Louvre for four hours, but she will do really well with general sightseeing and riding around in her stroller (and yes, I will need to borrow a single stroller!). And then we will be at the beach for a couple of days, which will be easy, too...she loves the beach.

So, yes, it may turn out to be a bad idea, but I think it will be really fun. Frenchie's Mother and Sister were super excited to find out, too, which definitely matters (not all that cool to just show up somewhere with a baby;-)). I'd say I am 98% taking her...although The Boy may still try and talk me out of it...so we will see...


On another unrelated note...has anyone ever seen Sunshine Cleaning? Watched it last night and really liked it. But I am sort of a sucker for sister-stories...

Monday, August 01, 2011

French Adventure 2011

So, I am going to France with Munchkin later this month because...well, why not? It is Paris and the Riviera with lovely local hosts and places to stay! I would be a fool to turn it down:-)

My only real worry about going is being away from the girls for that long, and leaving The Boy all on his own with them for that long. Frankly, it is a lot of work, and I would be a little irritated if he left me for over a week to go on a vacation. Even acknowledging that he is better on his own with them than I am, it is still an awful lot.

So...how could we possibly fix this? I'll give you a hint: it involves a baby passport!

That's right, Munchkin and I are taking LK with us:-) Which could turn out to also be the worst idea ever, but I think will be really fun! She deals with strange people and places a little better than MA does, and doesn't get as unbearably cranky as her sister when she is tired...so we think she will probably travel a little better. The downside is that MA sleeps more and is easier to get to bed, so I will have that to deal with;-)

Obviously, it will be a lot to get her out of her routine for a week, but I think it will be fun...and between Munchkin and I she will have plenty of familiar faces around. And then next time, MA can come:-)

What do we think? Best or Worst Idea Ever?