Monday, December 26, 2005

A Very Pukey Christmas

I feel incredibly powerful this Christmas... I brought the plague upon two households within a less than 24 hour period of time. Friday afternoon I came home from work to start packing us up for our holiday trip. In the middle of packing, I started feeling ick. By the time we were ready to leave, I'd puked everything left in my stomach that hadn't already left another way. (Pleasant, I know!)

But, we only go out to Wyoming for Christmas once every few years, and I wasn't willing to disappoint all the Boal relatives by not bringing Ellie out for the holiday. So, Sarahlynn drove the whole way up to Valparaiso, despite the fact that the two of us combined had only accumulated one night's sleep over the course of the week. We arrived there around midnight, immediately went to bed, and were roused again at 2:45 so that we could get ready and drive to Midway airport for our 6am flight to Casper.

A still felt somewhat ick, but the vomiting (worse than I've done in YEARS) had helped clear things up.

Flights out to Wyoming were amazingly on time; Christmas Eve service was great (if a bit too late to have kept Ellie awake); and gift opening was outstanding! (Soon to come are pictures taken with our new digital camera!)

Fast forward two days...

Sarahlynn's father, in Valparaiso is puking sick. This from a man who NEVER gets sick.
Sarahlynn's been sick and is just now recovering.
My sister Anny is on the up-swing, too.
Brother-in-law Rob, though, is now hooked up to IVs in the hospital. (He has kidney disease, so when puking (etc) screws with your electrolytes, it's a good idea to have an IV to help out with that.)

Turns out that my Iowa relatives have also had the same thing. I haven't seen them since July, though, so I'll not take credit for that.

Beware of me, Plague Carrier!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Third Amendment

Recently, the press has published stories about GW authorizing the NSA to spy on the communications of people inside the United States without explicitly going through the secret court that usually authorizes such things. We're talking specifically about communications between someone inside the US and someone outside the US. Not that this makes a difference to me. Our law enforcement system tends to be based on the principle that you can't violates someone privacy unless you have reasonable cause. (I should know. I watch all three (four for a while) Law and Order shows!)

I remember hearing various conversations on NPR about where the "constitutional" right to privacy comes from. Sure, there are things about not being forced to testify against yourself, not being tried twice for the same crime, the right to know the charges against, to be defended by an attorney, etc. But I guess there's some confusion about whether an explicit right to privacy is laid out in the Constitution.

Which brings me to the obscure little Third Amendment in the Bill of Rights:
"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

OK. Super. I don't want the military taking over my house. Great. Why does this even matter. Well, there's some history here, if you're interested.

I like to believe that this Amendment did, indeed, have something to say about whether or not the government (military, intelligence, Congress, anybody) has the right to just come and hang out in my home -- regardless of whether the "hanging out" is done physically or virtually by way of monitoring my communications. Maybe "without the consent of the owner" would also cover a situation in which a spy was deployed to infiltrate someone's personal life and surupticiously get information from that person.

Just a thought...

Christmas Letter Woes

Sarahlynn did a wonderful job writing and preparing our Christmas letter for this year. It's got nice things to say about all of our individual adventures this year, a top ten list, a family Christmas picture, happy wishes for everyone, all to be printed on nicely bordered paper. Well, the printing didn't get off the ground as quickly as we'd hoped because of frustrating printer problems.

Well, those printer problems have finally be rectified via the purchase of an early Christmas present... a new printer. This one (Epson CX7800) is a nice step up from the previous model (Epson CX5400). It can scan negatives and slides. It has slots for all varieties of camera memory. A USB port to connect cameras directly. Great automatic photo adjustment settings. All kinds of super features! Merry (early) Christmas to me.

Now I can print a nice print out of this to put up at work. (And boy does it make nice prints!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Potty Training

Ellie's moved up to the 2 year-olds' classroom at school. Along with that promotion comes pottty training. We've already been working on that at home for a few months now -- in fact, Ellie really got into the idea for a while. We're in a bit of a relapse right now, because Ellie thinks it's funny, I suppose, to watch Mama or Dada race with her to the potty chair whenever she starts to grunt. Or perhaps she enjoys watching us rush to ask: "Who do you want to take you to the potty? Mama or Dada." (That would be Mom's rendition of the question. You can imagine what mine sounds like.) So, potty training is going.

It's amazing to watch some of the older kids in her class, though. Some of them wear underpants fulltime and have to button and zip their own pants after going! Impressive, in my book. It'll be nice to have Ellie out of diapers some day. I'm guessing 6-9 months out.