Tuesday, July 27, 2004


What a weekend. We watched parts of the last several stages of Le Tour de France, starting about Tuesday of last week. Lance is just amazing. He was clearly just lying in wait through about the first 14 stages. Then he goes from 6+ minutes back to 22 seconds back in a single stage. A time trial up L'Alpe d'Huez, one of the hardest rides in the race? He catches up with Basso who started 2 minutes ahead of him. Simeoni tried to join the leaders in another stage (I didn't see this one), so Lance goes with him... doesn't make an overt move to attack or anything, just goes with him. The rest of the leaders told Simeoni to get lost. And then Ullrich blocked Lance's teammate from taking the win in another stage, so when Ullrich's teammate went for it, Lance waited... then came from behind when the guy had about 50m to go (and Lance was probably at least another 25m or so back) and won by a fraction of a wheel. I wanted to see him come from the Peloton and take the final stage as well, even though that would have been really obnoxious. Loved the hats various people were wearing, including Robin Williams: 6, yellow on a black hat. 'Nuf said!

I mentioned the other day that we were juggling furniture on Friday. The Salvation Army didn't show up until after 4 and then they wouldn't take the old sofa. They're being really choosy, apparently because when they have things they can't sell it costs them a lot to get rid of them. The SA guys were nice enough to help me (actually, they did it entirely themselves except when one of them tripped and I caught him & the sofa) move it to the curb where I put a free sign on it. It was gone in less than half an hour. Hallelujah. The new furniture came early, actually, because they happened to be close and called to see if they could come by early. It's really nice. Rachel loves them. The king chair is the perfect size for Rachel and me to sit and read, and she really enjoyed that the other day.

Wound up seeing the Bourne Supremacy with Dan on Friday night. It was a decent movie, either by itself or in combination with the first one, but it really didn't bear much relationship to the book anymore. There were elements... minor ones, but for instance, Bourne is suddenly my age rather than a Vietnam Vet and they killed Marie pretty early. Dan pointed out that might have been because she tested poorly with audiences. He's much more invested in the books than I, having read them several times each to my once. I think they kept to the general concept of the character and if they continue to do that with future movies, for which they'll mostly need to write new stories, then they may have something. It would be nice if they didn't have to dumb it all down for today's audiences, though.

Saturday was a big one; Cathy came by for a while and actually brought Jessica by as well, which was nice. Rachel and I went to music class, then to my office to get my bike, which I'd left there in order to get home in time for the Salvation Army guys who then didn't show up until really late, and then to a park for a while. Then after Rachel's nap, Karolyn came over for dinner, and John eventually joined us as well. We watched Shrek, which neither Dawn or I had ever seen before. It was very funny; I particularly liked all the fairy tale cameos. It was hard to match John Lithgow's voice to his character, but he did provide the right menacing tone, I suppose.

Sunday turned out to be pretty busy too. After the end of Le Tour and much reading and a little brunch with my brother, my parents came over with my neice and nephew. Corwin actually left fairly early to go see a movie with a friend, but Tycho, who is 7, stayed with us and played quite a bit with Rachel. We went to the park near our house, which by itself would have been pretty boring for Tycho, who's a little monkey, but he seemed to enjoy playing with Rachel. She had a ball, including some time on the tire swing, which she's normally a little leary of. She'll swing on it from time to time, but without someone else she doesn't want to go very fast or to spin. When we came home they played with legos and blocks and had a grand old time until nap.

During nap, Dawn and I actually went to the Wooden Duck. They make great furniture from farmed and recycled wood and were having their summer BBQ bash, which includes 50% discounts on all outdoor furniture. We almost went a little wild, but drew the line on a bench, a table, and 6 chairs; we'll get more dining chairs for inside later. And eventually, I think we're going to want to get a dining table. Jeff just pointed out to me that Smith & Hawken has furniture that's almost identical to what we bought, but for substantially more money, making me feel even better about the purchase.

When she got up from nap, I told Rachel that we'd been busy and had gotten a bench that we needed to paint (actually stain, but I didn't go into that) and new plants that Dawn was going to plant, and that she could help. She immediately announced that she wanted to help me paint the bench. OK. Well. That went OK for a while. I didn't want her getting any of the stain on her, or breathing too much of it. We were doing it all outside, but still. When it started to get more covered and she was putting her arm down on it we called a halt to that help. It was mostly a lot of fun to have her helping; she was trying so hard and obviously really liked doing it. Once we convinced her to help Dawn with the plants, Aaron helped instead, which was much more helpful.

Monday was a vacation-from-employment day; I spent the day working on things around the house. I had the cables rewired around the demarque and a new jack put in our downstairs bedroom. The alarm company put in two new keypads; the one upstairs is just a luxury, and we might actually come to regret putting it in since it beeps in the bedroom, but the one by the downstairs door has become very important for us since we leave the house a lot more through the back to go riding. Besides that, I replaced our shower head and arm so that it is much hgher, put in a dimmer switch for our new living room light (ask, Dawn, and ye shall receive), and fixed a couple of other things. No where near as much as I was hoping to get done, but, of course, the list I had chosen was really planned for having a whole week off, not just one day. This was supposed to be the week when, among other things, I was going to convert the shed on the back of the garage into a playhouse for Rachel. Yeah. Not just yet. Probably not in time for her birthday party, realistically, though it would be nice to get it far enough to be played in by then.

Last night we barbequeued again. We've been doing that a lot lately, which is really nice. This time we actually had Lou-Lou over (and her parents), so she and Rachel sat at a little table in the back yard while the grown-ups sat at the a larger table. We've now added asparagus to Duane's broccoli idea - marinate it for a little while in vinaigrette and then grill it. Deeeeelicious. Between that and 2.5 lbs of chicken and a large salad Niclaus made, we should have had a TON of food, but we finished it all off. The girls ate a TON of chicken, including the teriyaki, which I wasn't expecting them to like.

And now it's back to work... oh joy. M has significantly changed the requirements and scope of the first delivery they want and I think we're going to have to push the delivery date back. Well, you can pick two legs of the triangle - features, schedule or cost. The other one depends on the other two. J wants to talk to me about the stuff I delivered last week, so we'll see how that goes. I can't imagine they'll have any problems... it's all very straight-forward.

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