Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mining claims

We live in the mountain west. In fact, our house is quite near some imposing mountains. If you need a reminder, here's a picture I took last fall looking east from our driveway.

Just to the right of that mountain is a canyon, which we shall call Stone Canyon. If I walk 15 minutes south and east from my house, I walk through residential neighborhoods and come to a large park built at the mouth of the canyon, surrounded by houses.

At about 9:45 this morning, there were hundreds of kids and their parents up at Stone Canyon Park. Spring soccer season has started, and there were three kiddie games going on at once, as well as children climbing like flies around the two large playgrounds and running up and down the hills. Parents kept half an eye on the little ones while chatting with their neighbors and enjoying a slightly warmer day after a wintery week.

If you keep walking east of the Stone Canyon Park, you will pass through a large parking lot, nearly full around 9:00 this morning, which leads to a well marked trail. The trail winds through the stones that the canyon was named for, back and forth over a nearly dry creek bed, and into the canyon. Five to ten minutes after leaving the parking lot, you find yourself surrounded by red and gold stone cliffs rising hundreds of feet, twisting into the sky. The trail continues on. I stopped, however, near this narrow point. Here the two cliffs were separated by only about 30 feet of space, including the creek bed. An abandoned mine left a hole in the rocky hill to the north like a knocked out tooth.

A group of rock climbers was packing up their gear in front of the rock face. Apparently this patch of cliff is one of the best areas for rock climbing in the state, and it's just a 30 minute walk from my house. Many avid climbers learned how to rock climb there in Stone Canyon.

But I wasn't there to climb rocks. At 9:00 in the morning, I was with a group of about 200 concerned neighbors and citizens. A man with a hat and a red coat, representing a Mr. Davis, was showing us where Mr. Davis' proposed quarry would lie.

In the 1800's, the West was set up for mining. For a few dollars, anyone could buy a mining claim. Although the land was owned by others, particularly the state or federal government, the one with the claim had a right to extract all the minerals from that property for his own benefit. These mining laws still stand today.

Sometime in the 1800's, someone made a mining claim for nearly 100 acres of land in Stone Canyon. In 1998, Mr. Davis purchased this claim. Today, Mr. Davis intends to mine this pristine canyon in this highly residential neighborhood. He has applied for a conditional use permit. He intends to bring 12-14 large dumptrucks up to the site every day, and to hammer the rock out with backhoes and jackhammers. He will build a fence and an eight foot tall wall to prevent rocks from falling on the hundreds of walkers who pass between these cliffs each day.

At 8:00 this morning, neighbors met at the Stone Canyon Park to become informed about this permit. As of right now, the permit has not been accepted. An environmental impact study must be completed, and certain issues must be addressed before the city can even consider it. But the fact that it might be considered is chilling -- more chilling than the weather at 8 am. Chilling enough that there were hundreds of neighbors gathered at the top of the park to find out about this crazy idea. Mining in a residential neighborhood? Can they honestly do that?

A representative from the neighborhood organized the meeting. A representative from the city explained the permit that had been filed. A representative from the owner explained the details. A man who owned 25% of the mining claim also showed up and vowed to fight against it.

I asked a woman I knew how serious this could be? Could someone really turn a residential park into a mine? What about the impact of the added trucks and traffic? What about safety concerns where the canyon was so narrow?

A man standing nearby said he had met the owner, and described him as an anarchist. The man certainly wasn't trying to mine for economic reasons -- the stones were common, widespread throughout the state, with no valuable mineral content. There would be no way he could sell them for decorative purposes and recoup the costs that would be involved. Especially as those costs would involve some serious litigation.

To me, it sounded like the owner just wants to thumb his nose at the neighborhood. He owns the claim. He therefore deserves the right to strip it bare.

Is there is something about mining and the Wild West that brings out the cowboy in people? Will all owners of such mines ignore all financial cost in order to have their ownership acknowledged? Acted upon?

Back in the 1950's, my great grandfather spent $1000 to purchase the rights to two mines further south in this same state. He and his wife died unexpectedly in a car accident, and my grandfather took over the claim. For many years he paid taxes on the mines, but when he spent a year in Asia in 1976 his brother forgot to pay. Immediately the county sold the mines to another buyer, and they were lost to my family. However, a small portion of one of the mines actually lay in another county. When the back taxes were paid, the rights to that small portion of the mine remained in my family, though in my deceased great grandfather's name.

A couple of years ago, after my grandfather's death, his six children became interested in the mine. They hired a lawyer and have been working to secure the rights to the mine for themselves. At my aunt's house a couple of weeks ago, she showed us some of the documents on that mine. According to her documents, the whole thing is valued at about $200.

So far, the family has spent several hours, at a cost of about $200 per hour, in attorney fees to secure the rights to the $200 property. My generation doesn't understand it. Why, again, do they want the mine? There are no roads, no sources of water. Just rock and scrub brush for miles. Clearly the family isn't trying to get the property for economic reasons. As far as I know, they have no plans to actually mine it. Sentimental reasons? The allure of the Wild West?

There really should be no comparison between my benign family and their desire to own a $200 chunk of rock far away from roads and electricity, and the Mr. Davis who wishes to destroy forever a pristine canyon in a residential neighborhood. However, I do find it interesting that both parties value ownership of their mine above any economic benefit to themselves. Additionally, this morning's meeting has changed how I look at these old mining claims. For a long time I have been silently laughing at my crazy relatives and their quest to own the mine. This morning, these ownership issues became a little more sinister.

Watch out, oh crazy relatives.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sealing grout

This is a post about sealing grout.

You read that right. Sealing grout.

Grout is that stuff between the tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. It holds all the tiles together. It is nasty stuff, which is why I recommend sealing it. Sealing the grout can save hours and hours of scrubbing later. I learned this the hard way, after purchasing a home from a very sticky family about five years ago. This family had never ever sealed their grout, and the kitchen floor was sticky. Even after they pretended they had cleaned it up and moved out, the floor was sticky. Cleaned? How clean could it have been? They didn't even clean well enough to realize there was a live cat in the master bedroom closet. Filthy, sticky people.

But this is not a post about the sticky family. This is a post about grout. Immediately after the home purchase was finalized, I got down on my hands and knees to try to discover which of the many shades of brown and gray was the real color of the grout in the kitchen. To my horror, the answer was none of the above. Hours of scrubbing later, the grout was mostly a beautiful off white color. Mostly. Some stickiness is irreparable.

And then I sealed the grout. And it never ever ever became dirty again in the three years we lived in that home. Never! Not even with a toddler. A toddler -- you know, one of those people that throw food around while they eat? Sealed grout stayed clean. And then we sold that home for nearly $50,000 more than we paid for it. Because of the grout, I'm sure. And the other tens of thousands of dollars and hours and hours of fixes we put into it. Like removing with vinegar and a scraper the tissue paper painted and glued to the walls.

But this is not a post about families who think it is in good taste to glue tissue paper to a wall and then paint the whole thing purple and wonder why your home won't sell.

This is a post about sealing grout.

The lessons I learned from owning that home are (1) do not buy a house from a sticky family if you can help it, and (2) seal your grout.

So I finally sealed the grout in the upstairs bathrooms in this new home. Not a big deal -- they're both tiny. The downstairs bathroom is completely made of tile, however. Tile on the floor, tile on the walls, tile on the ceiling. I've been ignoring all that grout grout grout, but it haunts me in the middle of the night. It sends nightmares of sticky kitchens to plague my dreams.

Tim and Jonathan are away on spring break. So I finally buckled down and prepped the shower and got around to sealing the grout. Finally. So far, I have spent at least 2 hours in that shower running penetrating grout sealer up and down and back and forth and up and down and back and forth. And wipe. And repeat.

Four coats so far. I think that's enough. Because it is so BORING to seal grout.

There, I said it. Boring boring boring!

OK. So it will be well worth having done it after we have sticky house guests. But I hate grout. I hate it!

I recommend decorating with solid surface bathroom material. No joints. No grout. No sealer.

And NO tissue paper on the walls! Ever!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Message from my father

Jonathan and I drove up to visit my parents this morning. We played on the playground in the school yard behind their house, and flew kites in the mountain breeze that blows out of the nearby canyon. I spoke a little bit with my father.

About nine years ago, my father lost his job. He had been working as an engineer in the same company since he finished his college degree. Since starting to work for this company, he had been married, started a family, and watched his oldest children grow up and move away. He had assumed that he would work for the same company until he chose to retire. However, nine years ago the company changed ownership and let him go.

At the time, my parents would have had four children living at home, while they were trying to support two others through college. The stress must have been difficult for my parents, particularly my father, who was used to supporting the family financially, and now was unsure where the money would come from.

He did find another job, working again as an engineer. He worked for a few years for other companies, and then began consulting again for his old company on a project by project basis. Finally, a few years ago, they hired him back again on a full time position.

Three weeks ago my father lost his job again. He is near retirement, but he and my mother were planning on living off his income for a few more years as they worked toward their financial goals. Instead, he has found himself dusting off his resume and practicing interview skills.

We spoke a little bit about his plans this morning.

He told me, "You know, at my age in life, I start to see different things as important."

He then told me of meeting up with an old friend. This friend had grown up with him, and then taken a job at the local steel company with a Swiss name. By the time he met up with my father, the friend was no longer working for Lausanne Steel. My father found him bitter and angry. He complained of his poor treatment by Lausanne Steel, and how he had suffered under the company.

My father was struck by the conversation. He was not enraged by Lausanne Steel, but rather surprised by the anger in his friend.

"Good grief", my father reported to me. "I started thinking, there is so much more to life than what happens in your career."

I suppose he didn't want to end up like that, bitter and angry over his job.

"Losing my job three weeks ago," he told me, "was not the devastating experience that it was nine years ago." This time, it was just a job.

This time, he and my mother are also empty nesters. They own their house outright, and have been mortgage free for years. They are still supporting one son on a church mission in India, and another is working his way through college, but the one in college is mainly using his own funds. My parents were hoping to spend their retirement traveling and serving, and they don't feel they have saved up enough to make that goal a reality immediately. But I don't think they are facing a financial crisis. Not immediately.

I wonder.

My siblings and I have volunteered to take over some of the costs of the brother in India. With some planning, we could probably pay for the service missions as well. But my parents are not asking for our help yet. They need to work out their own timing. My father wants to continue to look for jobs, even though he has little hope of finding one in this economy. My mother has been considering dusting off her credentials and trying to find a position herself after 33 years of working full time at home.

I don't know what they'll decide to do. But this morning, my father seemed more concerned with my future than with his own. Or at least with sharing advice and a message and a story about a man who worked for Lausanne Steel. "There is much more to life than a career," he said to me while I spoke of church schools and school culture and teaching evaluations.

I want to be successful in my career. But perhaps success is measured in little things, like avoiding bitterness after the unexpected termination of a job. Or in some financial stability even as larger retirement goals disappear. With these measurements, my father has been more successful in his career than he gives himself credit for.

How successful will I be?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gloating into the emptiness of the internet

I used to follow college basketball long long ago. I was a true fan and attended games and knew my favorite teams and all their players and stats. Well, maybe I didn't know their stats. But I did know their colors. And I wore the appropriate colors on the appropriate days. That was way way back, back when I knew. Back when I used to be cool. And when my team used to win.


Sometime since leaving grad school and settling the West, I stopped finding time to watch basketball. This year I have not watched a single college basketball game.


What -- you are going to keep reading? Even after that confession?

Ok then. We continue.

Yet when my ginormous family sent out the email invitation to enter the family college basketball pool this week, I signed up. I used my highly scientific methods, my ability to analyze and consider and reason, and above all my highly developed intuition. And I picked my teams. I picked my teams.

Tonight, I am sitting in the emptiness of my living room. My child is in bed. My husband is away, finally taking his Christmas vacation days that were stripped away from him in December (stupid deadlines ... stupid high tech company ... and above all stupid employer who doesn't give me a spring break). My dishes are in the dishwasher. My laundry is in the washing machine. My homework assignments are graded. Even my blogs and news sites have been read. That only leaves my writing project. What can I do to avoid the writing project?

Oh! I'll see how my bracket is doing!

So I log in, click on my bracket, notice the games I've picked wrong, and click to compare with my siblings and their spouses... and ...

(*Dramatic pause*) ...

I am at the TOP of the TOP! AND I have more possible points remaining than ANYONE else in the pool. Wow. That is a 3 exclamation mark sentence, but it only came out with a period. I'd better rewrite it.

AND I have more possible points remaining than ANYONE else in the pool!!!

This, my faithful readers, is why families are so important. Here in March, my family offers me something that no one else can offer. The chance to GLOAT! IN YOUR FACE! HA HA HA HA!

Only ... there's no one here to gloat to.


And no one I can call.

(*Silent tear runs down her pale cheek*)

Bryan and Kristen are in Peru. Deborah lives in the eastern time zone, where it is nearly midnight. And though I am tempted to call anyway, I suppose I probably shouldn't wake her little ones. Probably.

And my husband, whom I married for better or worse, thick or thin, sickness and health and all that, including mainly the chance to gloat over important things like brackets, is away. Partying. Out late into the night (well, at least past 8:30 pm now in his time zone). Oblivious.

Eventually he will return to his nice fancy hotel and crawl into bed without even reading this important post. Because he is too cheap to pay for internet access. (Stupid hotel ... no free wireless.)

So, alone, in the silence of the night, I cry out to you! Oh internet. I am at the top, internet. The top! The top of my pool.


Postscript. Holy cow, Cleveland State? Wisconsin? So much for the top.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Acoustical engineer

My child sings in the bathroom. Maybe it's the bathroom, not the child. Maybe it's the tile and solid surface and the way the noise bounces. Maybe he is a budding acoustical engineer. Maybe he's just weird. If so, it's Tim's fault, not mine. No weird genes in my body. Not. One.

Other people brush their teeth. Jonathan takes the toothbrush in hand, gazes into the mirror, and starts dancing. Toothbrush goes in the mouth, right hand makes brushing motions, left hand points to the sky, hips sway, and we have Disco tooth brushing! Lips sing around the toothbrush, feet shuffle back and forth. It's full body tooth brush time! After a couple of seconds, right hand forgets it's supposed to be brushing, teeth clench the tooth brush, head bobs up and down, mouth SINGS! Dad yells "Have you finished the top?" "HAVE YOU FINISHED THE TOP?" Jonathan pauses, rubs the top teeth with the toothbrush for a few seconds, catches that gleam in his eye in the mirror, smiles a toothbrushy smile, points left finger to the sky, and it's Disco tooth brushing again!

And bath time. Every other night (er, or so) we go through the routine. "No, Mom! It's not a bath night! I don't want to take a bath!" All the way to the tub, where he sits and hums and sings and sponges all the walls and redistributes the bath water into his 15 water containers in assorted sizes. "No, Mom! I'm not ready to stop! Just five more minutes!"

And finally, the dreaded pooper time. He goes in. Fan goes on. SINGING! For about 15 minutes minimum. SINGING! Mostly nonsense songs and humming and other noises (the acoustical engineer coming through). SINGING! For 15 minutes or more. No problem when it happens in the evening, with time to spare. Problem when it happens just as we're on our way out the door. HUGE ALL CAPS PROBLEM when it happens while we're out in public, and a responsible parent gets to spend some quality time on the opposite side of a swinging door of a public restroom.

Ok that's all. Except I am totally going to save this post and share it with his first date.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


A few weeks ago, Jonathan and I were standing on the doorstep of his school in the morning, waiting to go in. Before knocking, he looked up, surprised, turned to me and asked, "What's that good smell?"

I breathed in deeply and said, "Isn't it wonderful? That is the smell of spring!"

Technically, I think it was the smell of mud. Mud smells wonderful after a winter.


Saturday, I took Jonathan and a friend up to a local park to fly kites. There wasn't much wind, but enough to keep the kite up if you ran with it into the light breeze. Since our park had a very large running field, the boys could keep their kites up for a good five minutes or so as they jogged from one end to the other.

To get them started, I would hold up the kite and tell them to start running, and cheer as it lifted into the sky. At the end of the field, where they could no longer hear me, the kite would sink, the boy would sit and rest for a minute, and then slowly drag it back.

When they reached me again after their long walk, I would ask, "Do you want to stop? Are you ready for a break?"

"No!" said Jonathan each time. "This is too much fun!"

His friend looked a little more weary.

"Do you want to stop?"

"No... I'm just going to sit down for a minute."

They kept it up for two hours! Running the length of the field, collapsing, dragging the kite back, and starting over.

Who says kids don't get enough exercise?

Monday, March 16, 2009

25 things

25 things you didn't know about me, a la Facebook.
  1. My blood type is O-negative. This makes me a highly desirable blood donor.
  2. Alas, my veins are also tiny and hard to poke. This means I have no further desires to donate blood.
  3. I wear a retainer at night. I still wear a retainer at night. Even though my braces were removed when I was 12 years old. I don't want to repeat the braces.
  4. My favorite color is bright orange.
  5. My favorite pen is green. I have two orange pens, but one isn't dark enough to read well and the other is dull.
  6. Speaking of orange and green, I used to tell people that my wedding colors would be construction cone orange and fern green. The centerpieces on the tables at my reception would be ferns poking out of construction cones. I totally had it planned.
  7. But my wedding colors ended up being yellow and blue. Ten years out, all my towels are still yellow and blue, except for the one orange set I bought for Jonathan.
  8. Sometimes I get really tired of yellow towels.
  9. I am right handed and right footed. Right footed means it's easier for me to do a pirouette to the right than to the left.
  10. I know this because I took ballet through high school. I used to dance on my toes.
  11. It hurt.
  12. My big toe is a half a centimeter longer than the next longest toe. People like me with long big toes do not make good ballet dancers. The best ballet dancers have toes nearly all the same length.
  13. In eighth grade, I was assigned a project to research the three careers I thought would be most interesting. I picked author, illustrator, and ballet dancer.
  14. I didn't grow up to have any of those careers.
  15. Yet.
  16. I was born on a Wednesday.
  17. At one time, I figured out how to tell which day of the week any given date landed on. I tried it out at an event in college, asking people for their birth dates and coming back with a day of the week. I might have impressed a few people, except it took me about 15 minutes to come up with the right answer. If I had practiced a little harder, I might have perfected the skill, like Rainman. But I couldn't convince myself it was worth the bother. Because it wasn't.
  18. When I was 12 and 13, I was taller than my older brother.
  19. I never ever won the physical fitness award in elementary school, junior high school, or high school, even though I was the master at the flexed arm hang. I failed the shuttle run every single time.
  20. My closet is full of pinks, light browns, and a couple of pastels. What can I say? I have really pale skin so I can't wear darks.
  21. I only wear two pairs of shoes. I own about five pairs total. I am a poor example of femininity.
  22. I also hate shopping. Clothing stores do not stock items that fit me, and I'm too cheap to hire a personal tailor. Can you even hire a personal tailor in 2009? How much does that cost? Might be worth it.
  23. I have used the same alarm clock since I was about 12 years old.
  24. Of the five senses, I have always enjoyed the sense of smell.
  25. I shrink a full inch during the day. That is, in the morning I am an inch taller than I am in the evening. Tim helped me measure. He only shrinks half an inch.
There you go. 25 weird things you wish you had never bothered to read about me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday the 13th news and reviews

1. There is an ad on the side of my news website with the picture of a smiling guy looking relaxed and happy in a suit and tie. Under the photo you read "Surprising stay-home salaries. Working from home is more popular than ever..." My comment: There is no way that guy is wearing a suit while working from home. No way.

2. On March 3, a news story broke that Utah was #1 in online porn consumption. On March 11, a news story indicated that Utah was the #1 happiest state in the nation. Utah being #1 twice within two weeks led naturally to the question: are they related?

Actually no. Mississippi is #3 in porn consumption, but #48 in happiness. I guess Utahns get their happiness elsewhere.

3. Daylight savings time change hit me over the head on Sunday. I can't get up in the dark dark. I have always wanted to move to Arizona, and every time the clock changes I wish I were there -- where they don't spring forward or fall back an hour each year. How sane is that? Wouldn't that be great? Do you think there's any chance that my state ... No. No not a chance.

4. This has been a painful week. I will celebrate its end by grading exams deep into the night. What do you do for fun on a Friday?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Doom II

Below this post, there used to be a post about me feeling panic.

I felt panic on Tuesday.

Nothing has really changed since Tuesday, but today I am pretending the panic isn't there. Because if I pretend it isn't there, then it won't be.

It's true. I learned this trick in a yoga class. If you are feeling bad, you are supposed to smile. Pretending panic is not there is the same idea. And by the way, I'm smiling. (*HUGE GRIN*)

Also, I have been reading the book 1984 recently. In that book, the main character works at a job changing history every day. He simply goes back to the newspapers that reported the history and does a little rewriting.

I like that idea.

Today, I am rewriting yesterday's post. Panic? Me? Why would I feel panic?

No. I am calm. Serene. Peaceful. Content.

And while I'm at it, I am also thoughtful and kind and highly attractive. My house is clean, my marriage is perfect, my child is a genius, and I never fail to fold my laundry as soon as it leaves the dryer.

You read it here. It's got to be true.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This used to be a post about me feeling panic, but today the post has changed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

So good to be home

My week away was good. It was fun, for one thing, to work on my research and just my research. I remembered how much I like my work, and why I decided to go into my field in the first place. Because it's fun.

But it's better to be back. Much better to be back. There are better things at home than anywhere else.

At home, for example, I get a lot of hugs. After church this afternoon, we walked up to the park under the shadow of the mountain and played tag on the playground. When I tagged Jonathan on the back, he laughed and ran away and said it didn't count unless I got both arms around him. So even tag ended in hugs.

At home, there is home made ice cream. Technically, there isn't always home made ice cream. There is only home made ice cream today because my cousin Heidi made some for us while we sat in her kitchen and chatted with the family. You get that at home. (Thanks, Heidi!)

There is more noise at home. Good noise. Like Jonathan, singing nonsense songs in the bathtub. Somehow I can't appreciate hearing others sing nonsense songs in the bathtub when I'm staying by myself in a hotel.

At home, there is my cozy armchair, my down comforter, and my snuggly robe. And dryer sheets to take away the static.

It's good to be home.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Michigan highlights

I've been in Michigan all week.

On Monday, it was so cold that huge chunks of ice were floating down the river. I knew that if I fell in, I would freeze to all that ice and die a horrible painful death. I cannot think of any reason why I might have possibly fallen into the river. But looking at all that ice gave me vertigo.

On Tuesday, my hair was so full of static electricity that I thought I would stick to the ceilings. Lucky for me, the ceilings I encountered were all eight feet high. Had my head really brushed any ceilings, I'm sure I would have stayed there suspended, like a balloon.

On Wednesday, I ate salmon for dinner. Yummy.

On Thursday, I drove to Ann Arbor. I've never driven in Michigan before, in spite of having lived here for nearly a year. It was a year without a car. Anyway, the drive was very boring. I suspect it must be lovely in the fall with all those trees.

When I arrived in Ann Arbor, my host instructed me to meet him at a restaurant nearby. I had no idea where this restaurant was located. He told me to walk to Church Street and South University. I turned the wrong way onto Church street. He spotted me, called my cell phone, and told me to turn around. "You lived in Ann Arbor for a year, and you don't know these things?" he asked. Well... it was 10 years ago.

On Friday (tonight), I called home to talk to Jonathan. I asked how his day had been. He started laughing, and told me that Sponge Bob closed the window when Patrick said they weren't best friends anymore. And then proceeded to give me the highlights of the day's Sponge Bob episode. And he said that he laughed until dinner, it was so funny. A totally inspirational conversation. Like this post.

On Saturday (that's tomorrow), I will fly home. I hope I don't have to spend five hours in Chicago, like I did on the way out. However, since I haven't actually prepared any of my classes for next week, maybe some extra time in the airport wouldn't be all bad.

Home tomorrow. Life back to normal. Or whatever.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Something about these climates with four seasons: the seasons change. Sooner than I had expected, too. The temperature has broken into the 50's every day this week. High 50's even. And the snow is melting. There's only one patch left on the lawn in the back yard.

We've been out in the back yard today. Tim trimmed some raspberry bushes. Jonathan colored bricks with sidewalk chalk. And I used the back door again and stood on the back porch again and watched them both and felt a little bit of awe, remembering that we have a back yard. And it's a nice back yard. Haven't been out there for a few months.

I guess Spring may come.

I mean, it's still February as I write, so I'm expecting at least a couple more snowstorms. But the darkness isn't as deep and early, and the temperature is pushing bearable. (Though not yet bare-able. Ha ha.)

And remember when you were little, and adults used to complain about how quickly time passed, and how quickly things changed, and how quickly children grew up? And you rolled your eyes, wishing so badly that you were 8, or 12, or 16, or 18, or 21? Or that it would be summer, or your birthday, or Christmas? And so much time was spent waiting for the seasons to change?

I guess one nice thing about living in a land with four seasons as an adult is that winter passes much more quickly than it did as a child.

I wonder if in a few months, other frustrations will have melted like the snow.

I'm flying to Michigan this week for work. If you are one of my Michigan stalkers, and you would like to meet for lunch sometime, leave an anonymous comment with directions to the restaurant. I'll come dressed in pink. You can't miss me -- I'm nearly six feet tall.

The temperature in Michigan is 20's and low 30's. So much for spring.