The Letter’s in the Mail?

January 31, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, Sen. Jim Webb (D. Va) asked Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice if it was the administration’s position that President Bush had the power to take military action against Iran without permission from Congress. She demurred, promising a written answer once she was able to gain “a rather more clear understanding of what we are actually talking about.”

Apparently getting tired of checking his mailbox for her promised response, Sen. Webb has written a letter to Secretary Rice to nudge her along.

I do like that man’s backbone.

Thanks to Waldo Jaquith for bringing this to light.


Rivanna Trail Run

January 16, 2007

Another good run tonight. I was off work for MLK day (and actually took the day off and only checked my work email once – well, twice) so I was able to drop my daughter off at her piano lesson and run on a section of the nearby Rivanna Trail, a 20+ mile loop of trails circling Charlottesville. Probably not too bright running on a hilly and rock-and root-strewn trail when my knee was acting up, but it was worth it. I’d love to take a couple of Saturdays and run the whole thing as two 10 milers. My main obstacle (other than not being in prime shape right now for a trail 10-miler) is my sometimes questionable navigational skills. The last time I did a long run on the Rivanna Trail I got myself lost. Dave, if you’re reading this, let me know if you ever want to resume our trail running outings – you were always an able navigator….

In the meantime, I’ll work on knocking it out in shorter segments. At only 20 miles, it’s 2,155 miles shorter than my other section-hiking goal!

Running Again

January 15, 2007

I got back on the running wagon this afternoon, and got a good 5 miles in. Lungs and legs were fine, but one of my knees is worrisome. Both knees have always been problematic for me, and I managed to aggravate my left one during my UPS adventure last month. Fairly sharp pain and instability for the first mile or so, but it gradually subsided to a dull throbbing. I’m hoping, perhaps unrealistically, that it will resolve on its own. Hey, it’s happened before!

There are so many things that I enjoy about running. One of them is the cobweb-clearing effect. After I get a few miles in and settle into a routine, my focus sharpens and my mind’s creative juices start flowing. I have internal conversations with myself, analyze nagging problems and identify solutions, even work out blog posts. Unfortunately, after the run is finished and the high wears off, the effect is similar to waking up after a vivid dream – the details start to fade. So it was with the blog post that I was crafting during today’s run. Maybe it’ll come back to me tomorrow….

I’m Sad That I’m Not Surprised

January 13, 2007

In a radio address this week, a Bush administration official called it “shocking” that some leading American law firms were representing inmates of the Guantánamo internment camp, and suggested that American corporations should blacklist them on that basis.

Haven’t we seen this before?

Real Concerns

January 9, 2007

My last post looks a lot whinier than I had intended. It was not a good morning, no question, but well, everyone has bad mornings now and then. And, in the grand scheme of things, was it really such a bad morning?

The same morning that I was fretting about paying the vet bill and crumpling some woman’s bumper, there were people in the world dealing with real concerns. War. Genocide. Famine.

Or how about closer to home? Today’s newspaper noted that for the last 16 years at a local high school, someone from every graduating class has died from an alcohol-related auto accident. That’s 16 families that will never be the same.

Or closer still…. There’s the woman who works across the hall from me whose every waking moment outside of work is spent caring for her husband with end-stage emphysema. There’s the colleague who had to move his family 60 miles away in order to find a school that can adequately address his autistic daughter’s needs. There’s the woman down the hall who will be told this week that our division’s restructuring is eliminating her job.

And I’m fretting about a vet bill and a crumpled bumper. Shame on me.

One of Those Days

January 3, 2007

After I arrived at the office, I did a quick run-through of my email to make sure that no major fires were in progress, and then picked up the phone to call the vet. Our family’s main Christmas present this year had been a beagle, with which we were all smitten, and she had developed a worrisome sore on her belly. The vet’s assistant said that they could fit her in if I could drop her off in the next hour.

So, I gulped down the remainder of my coffee and hurried back out to my car. Fortunately I had no meetings scheduled before 11, and I figured I’d be back in the office by then. The lengthy to-do list that I’d planned on hitting that morning would have to wait a while longer. I pulled out of the garage and noticed that the new rattling noise from under the hood was getting louder. Sigh. Taking my car to the shop was not in the budget for the month. Then again, neither was taking the dog to the vet.

I made it home, grabbed the beagle and her kennel, and deposited both in the back seat. I headed back out onto the interstate with my head a whirlwind of one concern after another. What if the dog is really ill? The kids would be crushed, especially after losing Wilson this summer. I wonder how much the vet bill is going to be? There’s that worrisome sound under the hood again. It would be just my luck to have the car die on me here on the highway. Am I going to be able to make it back to the office in time for my 11 o’clock? I really can’t afford to be blowing off two hours of work this morning.

I veered off onto the offramp toward town.

I bet that new author is going to leave me a really annoyed voicemail, wondering where his revised contract is. I know I should take my car into the shop, but I can’t swing both a mechanic’s bill and a vet’s bill. So much for our new austerity budget. I wonder how much the vet bill’s going to be? Man I hope she’s going to be OK.


I had just rear-ended the car in front of me. Unbelievable. The woman driver got out, strode around to the rear of her car, surveyed her crumpled bumper, and then swung around to face me. She appeared to be somewhere in between bursting into tears and flying into a homicidal rage. “My new car!” was all she could muster. I raised my hands up in a defensive gesture and half-shrugged. “I’m sorry” was all I could muster.

We traded insurance information, the state trooper came, and he gave me a summons for following too closely. Twist the knife a little harder, why don’t you….

To be continued….