Monday, August 23, 2004

Close Call

H., M. and I went down to M's mom's to go swimming yesterday afternoon. It was warm in the sun, even if the water was a bit chilly, and H. had been talking about "the pool" all weekend, so we didn't want to disappoint her. About five minutes before we left, H. injured herself on the dining room table. It was scary for a little while because Mark's mom has a rectangular, glass-topped dining room table that is right at H's eye level. And of course, she hit the table right in the corner of her left eye. She has a teeny, tiny cut in the very corner of her eye, but we're extremely lucky she didn't injure her eye. (It makes me cringe just thinking about it.) She fell asleep on the way home and stayed asleep for awhile once we got there, but when she woke up, she said, "Uh-oh, boo-boo," and pointed to her eye. It was a little bruised and puffy, but her eye was white and clear, which was a big relief. I was ready to take her to the emergency room just to be on the safe side, but she didn't seem to have any trouble with her vision and she wasn't upset or cranky or anything, so M. talked me out of it. She seemed fine this morning and was happy to show her boo-boo to the babysitter when I dropped her off. Whew, a close call!

Thursday, August 19, 2004


I turned the TV off last night after Paul Hamm fell on his vault attempt and was in 12th place. How surprised was I this morning to learn that he had won the gold? Very! It's a shame NBC feels it's necessary to show the completion of a premier event like this after 11:00pm. This was a true Olympic moment and I wonder how many Americans actually saw it live (or NBC's definition of "live"). I almost gave up before 11pm, when they switched over to swimming and the promo in the corner said 'More Men's Gymnastics in 16 minutes.' I didn't know if I would make it the 16 minutes, but the women's relay was exciting enough to keep me awake. But I can't keep staying up until 11:30pm every night. It's starting to catch up with me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I stayed up until 11:30pm last night to watch the Men's Gymnastics team finals, which was a little bit of a nailbiter. I think the US team should be proud to take home the silver medal. I fell asleep right away, but then H. woke up at 2:30am and would not go back to sleep. After several attempts to get her to settle down, I finally brought her into bed with us and turned on the TV for a little while. Lo and behold, NBC was re-airing the Men's Gymnastics final. I didn't need to stay up at all earlier! I could have gone to bed at 9pm and watched the finals with H. in the middle of the night. If only there was some way to predict when she is going to have these bad nights!

I never did figure out why she was up and she didn't go back to sleep until 4am. She wasn't warm and wasn't particularly fussy, just wide awake. She might (still) be teething or maybe she just has Olympic fever. I should have nice dark circles under my eyes by the time the Olympics are over.

PS - If you like Sarah Weinman's style, check out her Olympics blog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Country Music Chat

I just discovered that the Nashville correspondent for USA Today, Brian Mansfield, is conducting online chats on country music. I don't know if this was the first one or not (I find USA Today's chat archives hard to navigate), but I'll definitely be checking in for more.

On Lonestar's CD I'm Already There:
"The album and the single did extremely well. The industry might have perceived it to be a little too similar in nature to 'Amazed' (which won a ton of awards) to give the awards to the band again. I've liked some of those ballads, too, but they pretty much turned into country's REO Speedwagon after they got rid of John Rich (now of Big & Rich)."

Other topics touched on during the chat that are always swirling around in my head: lack of variety on today's country music stations, female country artists earning airplay and raves for one of my faves, Joe Nichols.

(Okay, I just found an archived chat from June 15 that I'll have to go back and read. Maybe it's only once a month for country.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

Andrea's Etiquette

Rule #1

Children's birthday parties should not last longer than three hours. If guests wish to stay longer than three hours, wonderful, but the main events of food, cake and presents should be accomplished within the three-hour timeframe.

We attended a family birthday party on Saturday for a five-year-old. The invitation said the party started at 4pm, so we arrived at 4pm. Chips and pretzels (no dip), pita bread with hummus and a (one) hot hor d'oerve were served. Coke, Diet Coke, water, wine and beer were available (no caffeine-free sodas except for diet). And that was all that was served until dinner was finally served at 7:30pm. 7:30pm!! We were all ready to chew off an arm at this point. And sadly, it became a case of eat and run. As soon as we finished eating, I changed H. into her pajamas and we left. We had driven almost two hours to get to this party (and most of the other guests had driven about an hour), so we had a long drive home. We didn't stay for cake and we didn't get to see the birthday boy open his presents.

There are many things wrong with this scenario. (1) I had to entertain H. for three and a half hours at someone else's house. And H. was not the only toddler or child at the party. There were six or seven others there as well, with no organized games or activities. (2) The party was for a five-year-old, not an adult. What time does he go to bed? It wasn't going to be any time soon, after chowing down on chocolate cake at 9pm. (3) People who bring a gift to a party deserve to see it opened by the receiver. There's no rule that says presents have to be opened after cake. He could have opened his presents while we were waiting for four whole chickens to slow cook on the grill.

This party will now officially be known as The Worst Birthday Party Ever.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Good Luck, Continued...

One of my DVD wishes from my wish list has come true - American Dreams will be out on DVD on September 7. And although it wasn't on my original list (and it should have been) - the first season of 21 Jump St. will be released on October 26. Yeah!
Natalie's Good Luck Must Be Rubbing Off...

Because I actually won something in a contest. Yesterday when I got home from work, there was a package from Time-Life books. I haven't ordered anything in awhile, so I wasn't expecting a package. I opened it and there was a paperback copy of Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook, along with a letter from I had won one of their monthly drawings for a free book! Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket tonight.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Streak

"I hate The Streak.
There. I said it.

I know it's blasphemy. I know I'm going to hell just for thinking it.
But I hate The Streak."

-Eric Neel

I think the very fact that published an article (albeit a negative one) about Cal Ripken's streak almost 10 years after he broke Lou Gehrig's record and almost three years after he has retired speaks volumes about why fans think it was an important accomplishment. And here are a few other things Eric Neel failed to address in his column:
  • Cal Ripken was taking the field and "doing his job" everyday in an era where professional athletes from all sports were being paid millions of dollars to simply warm the bench. Sports fans were disillusioned with cry-baby athletes who whined about every ache and pain, and increasingly distanced themselves (or much worse) from the fans, while the fans themselves were paying higher ticket prices to see mediocre talent. Cal Ripken was a true role model, especially for the younger fans. As I'm typing this, I'm having trouble thinking of a current, active professional athlete who I would want my daughter to admire.
  • Fans also knew that once Ripken broke The Streak, it would be the end of an era. Never again will we see a consective-game streak from any of today's athletes. Never again will we see an athlete play for one team for his entire career, (especially not his hometown team).
  • Ripken's desire to play did not, as Neel believes to be the truth, "cost him, the Orioles and the fans." We have Peter Angelos to thank for that, not Cal Ripken.
  • Speaking from very personal experience, I honestly believe that Cal Ripken single-handedly saved baseball in 1995 by pursuing The Streak. How many fans would have tuned in at all following the strike-shortened 1994 season?
  • Neel fails to address any of the same criticism or venom toward Lou Gehrig. Does he feel the same way about Gehrig, even though the same thoughts usually come to mind when his name is mentioned?

Baltimore sports columnist Peter Schmuck has his thoughts here (The Baltimore Sun now requires free registration - sorry).

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

One Moment in Time

This article made me feel really old. Twenty years ago? Mary Lou Retton, Mitch Gaylord, Tim Daggett, Bart Conner, Matt Biondi, Rowdy Gaines, Steve Lundquist, Greg Louganis, Flo Jo, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mary Decker Slaney. Did all that really happen twenty years ago?

Like Adam over at Throwing Things, I'm also a big fan of the Olympics. I was in my glory with back-to-back Winter Olympics in '92 and '94, and the free time of a college student to watch maximum hours of coverage. This year, all eyes in our household will be on hometown hero Michael Phelps. It will be interesting to see how the media handles either side of the story - if he wins more than seven medals or if he doesn't. Baltimore Sun columnist Laura Vescey already has her take on it. Ten more days to go!