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The Lent Project: Day 1

Well, here we go. I got a range of reactions from my friends and followers on social media when I officially signed off for the next month or so. Somewhere between the two extremes of "don't go!" and "good for you!" It feels a little odd, so far. Without my daily dose of, yes, cat pictures. But also what all my friends are up to--good, bad, and stupid. It's a little disconnected to not see who is complaining about the weather, happy their kid got good grades, or who is spending their day stuck in an airport.

As I told one friend, perhaps what I'm doing is proving the opposite of "social media is a modern frivolity" that I can easily do without. Kelly will protest. There can be no redeeming vision for this waste of time. But I disagree. Perhaps there is something monk-like about taking yourself out of the modern cycle of information feeds. Good for the soul, perhaps, but not good for interpersonal relationships? I maintain that social media is an important component of staying connected in a global society. Not just with people but with the world. Streams of information are meaningless unless put in context. That's how cable news stays in business, right? We can get the news just fine. What we want is to hear and see people talk about it. Analyze it, give their opinion. Right or wrong. We're constantly figuring out where we stand in relation to others.

Anyway, over the next few days this blog will take the place of my usual post-its. Rather than tidbits on Twitter or Facebook, they'll go here. So check back...or maybe read at the end of the day? Whatever pleases you. It's going to be a complete grab bag of stories, articles, comments, whatever. I'll try to keep independent thoughts separated.

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Cole was awake at 4am. I went in to tell him to quiet down and he asked me to change his diaper. But, unfortunately, it was another 3x opening his door and telling him to lay down, put his head on his pillow, be quiet, or go to sleep. At 6am he was still awake, opened his door, and wanted to get up. Kelly obliged and so far he's doing ok up to normal naptime. If it were me, I'd have told him he couldn't get up until he had gone back to sleep. I sure did!

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Remember our shiny new nameplate for our mailbox? The one that replaced the years-old paper note? Well, we're putting the note back up.

For about the 3rd time recently, our mail carrier has decided that because Kelly's old, married name is not on the mailbox that he will refuse to deliver any mail here to that name. He writes "no name on mailbox" on the letter (very important pieces of mail like mortgage paperwork) and leaves it in the junk mail basket in the lobby.

Thanks, jackass. You know who lives here.

So Kelly called to complain last night and got a very insincere Post Office on the phone. They're going under, let's be honest that they aren't putting customer complaints high on the priority list. So then I e-mailed our property manager to ask if we can just get another nameplate with the former name in brackets. The labels only take 2 names though.

Thus, the taped note is back. Dumb. First world problems, right?

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I was actually more intrigued by the State of the Union last night than the President's much-praised, much-hated "bringing Liberal back" Inaugural speech that made being liberal hip and "in." It's always a laundry list of programs a President would like to see. But this one was interesting for the tone and vision. Unspoken, largely.

Rather than a big, bold "here's what government should do" it had a more lowkey "here's what government can do" attitude that continues to put Republicans on the defensive. After losing 5 of the last 6 elections, it's getting harder and harder for Americans to not get frustrated with the inaction on the GOP side. I loved that Early Childhood Education got attention, too!

Senator Rubio's speech which is being openly mocked this morning for the infamous water sip and strange references, was more interesting to me as a political geek for other reasons. He's considered a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination...some say the best/only hope for the GOP. Which is funny considering what a train wreck his speech was. But, even more, it lacked a lot of the things that are needed to help move the party forward. It fell back on outdated images of Big Government Democrats which Obama himself already countered by saying we need smarter government, not bigger government.

Mr. Rubio had several amusing lines that brought one hispanic voter I know to say, "we're hispanic, not stupid." lol There was the "let's not use green energy, let's drill in the national forests" line. Then there was the end rant about moral decay and the problems of our nation being family-related and for religion, not government. Um, why are you a politician then if politicians don't have the answers?!

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I was trying to explain to someone yesterday the difference between a Cardinal and a Bishop. Then I realized the whole thing was ridiculous and that's why I'm Protestant! (And a rather suspicious-of-organized-religion one, at that.) The election of a new Pope is both fascinating and silly. It's neither democratic, nor modern, nor any of my business as a Protestant. And yet...the Catholic Church has a lot in common with the Boy Scouts, really. If either organization wants to keep to old models and traditions, who cares? None of my business since I belong to neither and they are private organizations. But, on the other hand, the Catholic Church is different. It holds a lot more political sway. It tries to explicitly influence lives outside the Church by the social and cultural stances it takes. See: the birth control availability nonsense. Which was always the problem with the last Pope is that he came off as not entirely welcoming to those of other faiths. Those of no faith. He wasn't a "let's be friends" Pope.

Of course, I say all this as part of a non-Catholic family who is happily giving monthly money to the shiny Catholic gym at the Catholic hospital we hated. Life is funny sometimes.

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The Cubs want more night games at Wrigley. They also want the landmark status eased. The Alderman for that ward seems not to be inclined to give it to them. My complaint, for what it's worth, is that the Cubs first two priorities seem to be mixed up with that other priority--making money. When, really, putting a winning team on the field and protecting the fan experience should be #1 and #2. The Cubs desire my dollars as a fan...but why should I give it to them when they've done little for me lately. If anything, they're driving me away.

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Very excited to be heading downtown to see Zero Dark Thirty tonight. I've been wanting to see it since it came out and now it's especially current-events given the stories about how the guy who actually shot OBL is having trouble getting health insurance. (Hey! Something in common!) It will be a welcome Dad Night with a little time to myself.

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Spent some of the afternoon (since no FB or Twitter) looking at the results for the triathlon I'm doing. Trying to judge where I stack up against, say, last year's results. There's the time I think I could do and then there's the more realistic time I should do given that this is my first tri. Now that I'm more comfortable with a pool swim, I'm starting to think about Open Water Swimming and was happy to see a thread on some beginner message boards I like talk about resting during the swim portion--switching to a different stroke, stopping to float or grab onto the kayaks, etc.. I tend to switch to side stroke which seems to be the preference for help in sighting and not drifting off course. A lot of people get very nervous about the crazy way that the swim is chaotic...swimming over top of people, lots of bumping, drafting, etc.. I'm not so worried about that, actually. I used to run cross country and wrestle, I can handle rough racing. I can see where other people would have anxiety, but it's not like I'm planning on doing an ocean saltwater swim either. A lake swim is different but not so bad. I won't be able to stand up or see the bottom for Ironman, but staring down into mud isn't any more nerve-wracking for me than getting in the water to begin with. At least there aren't jellyfish. Or sharks.

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