Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That Dream Again

So had that dream again. You know the one. It's where I suddenly realize that I have a math final and I haven't been to class in about six weeks. To add to the drama, I really need a passing grade or I won't graduate. I have the dream once or twice a year.

I think everyone has this dream in one form or another, but for me it's always a math test. I guess that shouldn't be surprising since calculus and I didn't get along very well in college. The first time I took Calculus I got a D, which was a shock to my ego. I suppose it would have been less embarrassing if I had skipped the last six weeks of the semester, but I didn't. I mostly went to class and sort of did the homework. I just wasn't as good at math as I thought I was and needed to work MUCH harder. Getting a D didn't sit well with me. I took that bad boy again, got a B+, declared victory over mathematics, and never set foot in a math classroom again.

I thought I had defeated math, but math is still out there lurking. Haunting my dreams. Waiting to get revenge.

The dream is always the same. It starts with the realization that I have this final coming up, but I never actually get to the final exam. I'm perpetually stuck in the anxiety-filled, oh-my-God-what-am-I-going-to-do phase. I always wake up before the final. Heck, I always wake up before really doing much of anything besides panicking and wondering how I managed to go six weeks without making it to class. (Maybe I'm a meth addict in my dreams? It would explain a lot.) Anyway, after waking up I remind myself that I'm not actually taking a math class (this can be surprisingly difficult) and that I've already graduated from college almost 20 years ago.

If I'm going to continue to have this dream, I'd like it to end better. Instead of me being all anxious and whiny, I'd like to go into a Rocky-like training montage, complete with a kick ass soundtrack. The dream would cut to scenes of me studying, me working problems, me doing flash cards, and culminate with me running up some long steps where I smash a calculator to smithereens when I reach the top. Then I'd take the final, win the approval of my math professor, and be carried out of the classroom in triumph on the shoulders of my fellow students. All while Eye of the Tiger plays in the background.

Now THAT would be a dream.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Stupid Dad Tricks

This year Nick really really really wanted a Nintendo DS for Christmas. For the uninitiated, the Nintendo DS is a handheld video game system.

For weeks, he's been telling me how much he wants one. Every time he started this conversation, I transitioned into Stupid Dad.

Nick: "I really want a Nintendo DS for Christmas."
Me: "A Nintendo what?"
Nick: "A Nintendo DS?"
Me: "DX?"
Nick: "No. DS."
Me: "A Sony DQ?"
Nick: " A NIN-TEN-DO D-S!"
Me: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Nick: "It's a handheld video game system."
Me: "They have those?"
Nick: "Sure. They have them at Target by the video games. They're in the second row near the bottom of the rack."
Me: "Did you say they have them at Rainbow?"
Nick: "No. TAR-GET."
Me: "And it's a Sony DX."
Nick: "Argh..."

This went on 2-5 times per day for at least three weeks. I kid you not.

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Grandma Johnson asked Nick what he wanted for Christmas. He explained about the Nintendo DS, but he explained that he was pretty sure he wouldn't get one because Allison and I didn't understand what they were and we didn't know how to get one for him.

When it came time to open presents, the third present Nick opened was, low and behold, a Nintendo DS. He was just floored. I thought the Stupid Dad act was completely transparent, but I guess he bought it hook, line, and sinker. (That probably doesn't say good things about me, but I'll choose to believe that I'm just a great actor.)

Nick loves the DS and he was very grateful. It feels nice to hit one out of the park once in a while.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Grandpa and Me

Taking a short break from Grandpa Ames's photo album, here's a picture of me with my Grandpa Jacobsen. Both of my grandfathers died in 1974, so I don't really remember either of them. This picture is one of my favorites, though. Don't you love my hair? This picture was taken in November 1971. I assume this was at the house in Dexter, but I don't know for sure.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Trip to Hastings (1947)

On Sunday, August 10th, 1947, Grandpa Ames took a trip up to Hastings, MN. I'm not sure who all went on the trip with him; the photo album offers no clues. Here are some photos from that trip.

August 10th, 1947 looks like it was a beautiful summer day...

This is a picture of the Spiral Bridge in Hastings. The bridge was built in 1895 with a spiral design to either slow down horse-drawn traffic from the other side of the river as it entered downtown or to gain the necessary elevation so the bridge could terminate in downtown instead of outside of town. I tend to think the idea that it was to slow down horse-drawn traffic seems a little far-fetched. In any case, by 1951 the bridge was rusted and in a poor state of repair. Due to weight restrictions, school buses had to stop on the far side of the river and kids had to walk over. That doesn't sound like much fun to me. The Spiral Bridge was torn down and replaced with a modern bridge in 1951, 4 years after this photo was taken.

The next two pictures where taken from the Spiral Bridge.

I really love old pictures of landmarks and everyday life. Grandpa's albums are full of this sort of stuff and I intend to scan these pictures along with pictures of relatives.

Old Family Photos

I hooked up Allison's scanner to my laptop and starting scanning some old family photos. My grandfather, Lawrence Ames, was an avid photographer and I have two albums full of old pictures that I'm going to work my way through. Here are the first of many.

This is a picture of my mom, Vonda Ames, in 1946. She would have been around 13 years old.

Here's a photo of my Grandpa Ames from 1945:

I think this is going to be a fun little project.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Poem By Nick

Football's the best,
not like the rest.
The Saints are good.
The Lions are bad.
The Vikings are awesome,
the Cardinals are cool.
The Bucs are weird and
the Giants are tall.
Football's the best!

(Nick really likes football. And he's not afraid to write a poem that doesn't rhyme.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Is just me or have people in Minnesota completely forgotten proper sled hill etiquette? I've taken the kids sledding twice so far this year and I've been confronted by:

1. Kids lollygagging at the bottom of the hill after finishing their run, leading to inevitable collisions and near-misses.
2. Small herds of self-absorbed parents holding impromptu conferences directly in the middle of the hill, paying no attention to the the kids at the top of the hill waiting to go.
3. Kids walking up the center of the hill instead of walking up the sides, while their parents look on.

I completely blame the parents for this sad state of affairs. Someone needs to teach this generation of kids the proper way to sled on a hill.

Two simple rules:

1. Kids: Unless your shoulder needs to be popped back into its socket, get up when your run is finished and promptly walk to one of the sides of the hill while watching for incoming sledders.
2. Parents: Unless you are performing a medevac, stay out of the way and chat with the other parents somewhere that isn't exactly in the middle of where kids are trying to sled. When you see your child breaking rule #1 above, tear yourself away from your iPhone and educate them so they know the proper way to do it in the future.

It's all so simple.