Monday, August 27, 2007

Thank heaven it's Monday

You ever have those weekends where you're actually relieved to have Monday roll around? That was my weekend. I had an absolute blast with my friends, but all that fun, food and fresh air really wiped me out. I was really looking forward to sitting in my cubicle for eight hours today.

Friday night I had some of the girls over to Megan and Paul's house to grill hamburgers. That night ran kind of long, mainly due to us stumbling across Ryan Reynolds in "Blade Trinity". He is hard not to enjoy in that movie. Funny as all get out and abs that you could do a charcoal rubbing on. Nice. . .

Where was I again? Oh yeah - movie ran late. On Saturday I did some running around. Literally -- I went for a run for the first time in quite awhile. It was so nice and cool out on Saturday morning that I was actually itching to go. I hate (abhor, despise, loathe) running when it's hot out. And by "hot" I mean over 80 degrees. (I'm from MN - 80 is hot.) I'd much rather run when it's 45 than when it's 80. I don't like getting all sweaty and gross. So now that summer is winding down and it's getting nicer outside, I'll probably start running again. (Instead of "running" I should probably say "jogging awkwardly".)

After I ran, I did some laundry and such and then met Autumn and Sara to walk around Lake Calhoun. Maybe not the right choice after running for the first time in four months. The extra 2.8 miles around the lake made me mighty sore on Sunday.

The kind of sore where you swing your legs over the side of the bed when you wake up and attempt to stand up, except that you can't because your legs have totally rejected the idea of helping you rise from the bed. The kind of sore where when you walk down stairs your legs quiver and you are totally petrified that they are going to give out any moment and you're going to do a face plant.

And then I proceeded to spend eight more hours on Sunday walking! Autumn and I went to the MN State Fair on Sunday for Day 1 of our Two-Day-Great Minnesota-Get-Together-Extravaganza. Day 2 is on Friday. Lucky for me, I had total justification for eating whatever high calorie food I desired - I had muscle tissue to repair in my poor, poor, suffering legs. The Fair was awesome, as usual. Perfect weather. And now I have done effective reconnaissance so I know exactly what I want to buy on Friday. (For the record, I didn't know how to spell reconnaissance. I had to spell check it.) I think I may go a little crazy at the U of M booth buying Gopher stuff this year. I feel like if I'm going to be living out of the state in my future I need to have at least 85% of my wardrobe mention my home state.

All I know is, I've got at least 12 more hours at the Fair and I plan on enjoying each and every moment of it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Note to self - never own three dogs at once

Before anything else: A quick shout out to Brian and Chelsea - Congrats on the nuptials this coming weekend! I want to hear all about the wedding upon your return to MN. We'll go to Grandma's in Canal Park and toast your marital bliss!

Megan and Paul are en route to the UP of MI for the weekend for Brian and Chelsea's wedding. I'm house/dog-sitting for them. It's only fair as they have watched my dog countless times on my excursions to Oklahoma. So last night I got to the house and let all three dogs into the backyard. They ran around like lunatics and I retired to the living room to eat supper without having them hovering over me, watching each bite of food go into my mouth. When I decided to check on them, I saw that Toivo had dug a hole - no, more like a trench - in the yard. I was livid, not so much that there was a hole, but that the ground was soft because of all the rain lately so he wasn't as much a dirty dog as he was muddy. Obviously I decided to let Toivo stay outside, but I thought Charlie and Lucy might need some attention so I let them in.

Let me explain something about Lucy. She's a big dumb animal folks. She's a sweetheart and she loves people, but it is like having an offensive lineman with a brain the size of a walnut. She has no concept of her body which she throws around with reckless abandon. If you aren't paying attention to her, she will take you out. There have been a couple of times I think she should have been penalized for a block to the knees. She spins around with no regard for the physical limitations of three-dimensional space and will crash into anything and everyone.


You know what's not "super fun"? An 80 lb dog jumping on your clothes with muddy paws. Not so much.

Today when I got home from work, I let the dogs out, they ran around, I ate supper and I let them back in. This time I checked Lucy's paws to look for mud. They looked clean. I turned around and she jumped on me. I looked down. Perfectly placed paws prints streaking down my shirt and pants. I CHECKED HER! Grrrrrrrrr. So that was the only pair of work pants I brought with me to their house so now I either have to wash them tonight or I have to raid Megan's closest. I think I'll just be nosy and browse Megan's pants collection.

So now the three turd-brains are sitting out on the back steps playing some screwed up version of king-of-the-mountain. Except that it's not who can get to the top of the stairs, it's more like keep the other dogs from getting off the stairs. They're sitting there and every time one of them makes a move like they're going to walk down the stairs to go into the yard, the other two block the way. Lucy and Charlie are comfortable enough with each other that they actually grab each other's collars and tug on them to keep the other one from leaving. Bizarre.

Obviously it's a slow night for tv watching, eh?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A fond adieu to my 20s

It's my birthday! I turned 30 years old today. I'm officially out of my 20s. Good riddance, I say. I'm glad to be moving into a new decade. My 20s were okay -- I'm not saying they were horrible -- I'm just glad their done. It feels liberating saying, "I'm 30." It's like being on the first page of a new chapter.

Talk about a roller-coaster ride of emotions this last week, especially the last 24 hours. To recap, Zac made chief and was sent from El Salvador to Florida for "initiation". Typically he would have stayed there until around the end of September. But not everything is always typical when it comes to the military. Turns out he was told that he'd be sent back to El Sal at the end of the week due to some sort issue with his orders. This meant the whole week was, "Will he or won't he go back?" Every day seemed like there was a different possibility of how this all would turn out. By mid-week it looked like that while he might not be able to stay in FL, he might be able to continue his initiation in OK, which was a happy possibility.

So of course Friday comes and goes and there's no definitive decision. Zac TMs me last night to tell me that he's going back to OKC and Tinker for his initiation. I was thrilled! It meant he was going to stay in the states, and that I'd probably be able to see him at least once, maybe even twice before he got sent back to El Sal at the end of September. I spent last night checking the prices on flights, getting a rough idea of how much it would cost to fly down to see him in OK. Smartly, I didn't book anything, because if there's one thing I've learned about the Navy it's this:

Don't count on anything until it has actually happened.

Sure enough, Zac was supposed to be on a plane to OKC this morning, but got a call at the last moment saying, "You're not going to OKC. You're heading back to El Sal tomorrow morning." So Zac will be heading back to central America tomorrow morning where he'll continue with his initiation. There is still an outside chance that he could come back to the states for the frocking ceremony at the end of September, but I direct your attention to the italicized comment above.

So needless to say, I'm terribly disappointed. I think if I had only heard about him going back to El Sal, without the intervening OKC news, I wouldn't be as upset. I just spent a lot of time last night thinking about how great it was going to be to see him. I was even hoping that maybe I could fly down to OKC next weekend for a visit. But that seems silly now. I really should have known better.

But it is still my birthday, and I still plan on celebration and happiness. I just wish the day would have started out a little differently.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quick mid-day thought

Arg! How does this happen? I think to myself, "I just posted something yesterday, right?" and then I check and I last posted five days ago. A lot of it has to do with being back at work during the day. By the time I get home, make supper for me and Grandpa, do the dishes, run a few errands, and talk to Zac on the phone, I forget to sit down for 10 minutes and type. Shame on me.

After a bit of a rocky start to the work week, I've settled into a groove and feel good about the job again. There was a bit of a learning curve to what we're doing and I was beginning to question my competency as an attorney, reader and writer. I seriously thought my brain was turning to mush. Nothing was making sense. I was reading through pages and pages of court rules and I couldn't make heads nor tails of them.

But I came into work yesterday and it was like someone had turned the light on. Maybe a decent night's sleep was all I needed to get everything to settle into place. Suddenly all those poorly worded rules that I'm pouring over made sense.

Seriously folks - if you ever want to compose something in the most convoluted, bass ackward way possible, hire some of these local Federal Rules drafters. They're pros at taking a comcept that is perfectly easy to describe and turning it into something unintelligible.

Let's look at an example, shall we?

Here's one:

Parties shall furnish to the Clerk forthwith, upon demand, all necessary copies of any pleading, judgment or order, or other matter of record in a cause, so as to permit the Clerk to comply with the provisions of any statute or rule.

It could instead read:

Give a copy of your papers to the Clerk, if the Clerk asks for one.


All filed motions shall have annexed thereto a proposed order.


You must file a proposed order along with your motion.

I swear, they make this 100 times more difficult than it needs to be.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weekend round up

Zac is on his way to Florida as I type tonight. There's something rather comforting knowing that he's back in the states, even though he's still about 1,489 miles away. (I Google-mapped it.) He'll be there for the next five weeks going through what I like to call, "chief school," and what he likes to call "initiation." "Initiation" sounds ominous, doesn't it? It doesn't exactly have a positive connotation. "Initiation" sounds like it involves the basement of a frat house, hooded figures and a wooden paddle. Or maybe hooded figures, drinking doctored Kool Aid while waiting for aliens to show up.

[Hmph. What's with the hooded figures? Is that standard "initiation" attire? Are there guidelines to this? Does Emily Post have an etiquette rule about what one wears to an initiation?]

Anyhow, at the very least "initiation" involves some sort of humiliation. When I was in high school and made the hockey cheerleading squad I got to go through "initiation." It wasn't too painful, but there was a certain amount of embarrassment. Since I don't like the word, I think I'll stick with "Chief School" which makes what Zac is going through sound much happier. They could have called it "orientation" instead - I would have been okay with that choice too.

As for me, I've been working out at Thomson as a contractor for a whole whopping three days. So far, so good. I like the people I work with, and I get to see my friends each day either at lunch or when we take a coffee break. It's nice to be back in the building. I'm working in the depths of the basement with a bunch of other contractors. My supervisor affectionately refers to it as "Temp Land." It's a bunch of contract workers with their itty bitty cubes, all working on something different. My cube is about the size of a large card table. (Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's pretty close.) But for the work I'm doing, I don't really need any space. Just a computer and a desk.

This weekend was full of excitement. On Friday night I went to the Vikings' first pre-season game. Then on Saturday morning I went up to the Dome. I got home a little after lunchtimes today. After I got home I took a nap and then walked around Lake Calhoun with Sara. It was good to get up to the Dome- I haven't been up there since I've been back in MN. We (i.e. Dad) spent all that time, energy and money rebuilding it so I need to start using it.

My family affectionately refers to our cabin as "The Dome." We don't say, "We're going to the cabin this weekend." We say, "we're going to the Dome this weekend." It's not because we have some sort of great affinity for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, home of the Twins and Vikings - it's because it's a geodesic dome. If you're unfamiliar with what a geodesic domes looks like, picture a half-sphere made out of triangles. (I'd put a link in here to point to an example on the Internet, but I haven't mastered that blogging skill yet. Time to call Heidi, obviously, as she is my Sherpa up the blogging mountain.) Typical Ayers family - we're a little odd. What? A standard shaped building? Pshaw! No generic rectangular cabins for us!

The Dome is located about an hour and a half North of Minneapolis. It makes it a nice, easy drive to get to. You can easily go there for a day or a weekend without killing yourself with the drive. Yesterday it was blazing hot up there. Even though I was exhausted at bedtime, I couldn't sleep too well. This morning was lovely, but I had to come back home and prep for the upcoming work week. There were ducks that needed to be put in a row . I'm hoping to make it up to the Dome many more times, especially this fall. I LOVE it up there in the fall - all the leaves change, the weather is beautiful, it's quiet -- it's perfect. And since it's Minnesota, and the State Fair is in two weeks, fall is just around the corner . . . .

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just a quick note

Just had to mention a few quick things since I don't have much time to blog tonight:

  1. I started my new temp gig at Thomson today. So far, so good. I think it might be exactly what I want at the moment.
  2. Zac made chief! I'm so proud of him, I could burst. Best part, he gets shipped back to the States for five weeks, so I may get to see him sooner rather than later.

I'm all smiles tonight. But I don't have the time to write about it. I've got to hit the hay because my Day 2 of employment starts in about eight hours.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Trial run

I don't think I've mentioned yet that I finally found employment. Thanks to Kelly Law Registry, the agency that got me into Thomson two years ago, I have a new temp assignment at Thomson starting tomorrow. I'm not even sure what I'll be doing but, frankly, I don't particularly care at the moment as I need the income. I'm excited to be back in the building though, where I may even be able to occasionally meet up with Sara and Layni to have a cup of coffee or lunch. It's also nice not needing to learn the layout of a new building or commuting route or parking issues. It's back to the same old routine.

I did a test-run of going out to Thomson this morning because I was told that there's construction on the road leading to the building. I thought I should check things out to see how much more time I would need to get there tomorrow morning. See? I have moments where I actually have some sense. The moments are few and fleeting, but I do have them.

Before I headed down to Thomson, I thought I would stop by Dunn Bros. for a cup of coffee as a tribute to my last day of unemployment. Back when I was working at Thomson, before my move to OK, I'd stop in there usually once a week to get a cup of coffee on the way into work. Sometimes twice. When I left Thomson I was working 6:30-3:00 which meant that I could hit the Dunn Bros. right when it opened at 6:00 and still make it into work on time. I needed the jolt of caffeine that early in the morning and Dunn Bros. is by far my favorite coffee in the neighborhood.

Every morning I went for my coffee, the same guy was working. He's a nice kid - a student at the U of M, waiting to start student teaching this fall, if I remember right. He'd see me come in and have my order already poured for me by the time I got to the register. (Medium city roast.) We'd chit chat about unimportant stuff and I actually felt obligated to tell him I wasn't going to be around anymore when I moved to Oklahoma. He wished me the best and off I went to OK.

So today I stop in to get a cup of joe and the same kid is working. I figure, it's been more than four months since I've been in here and there's no way this kid will remember me. But the kid sees me and smiles. I ask him, "Can I have a medium city roast?" He laughs and says, "Of course you can - your usual. Where have you been? Have you been avoiding us?" I was flattered that he remembered me, and my drink of choice, and reminded him that I had gone to OK for awhile. He jokes, "Oh yeah, that's right. You told me you were leaving. Well, I missed you. I shed tears." I laughed and told him that I was back in town for awhile and that I'd probably be stopping in every once and awhile again. He said it was good to have me back.

It's so strange how you can leave home for awhile and then sometimes just drop back into the same routine. I'm back living in the same place, working at the same place and the coffee guy still remembers my coffee order. It's rather comforting.

Monday, August 6, 2007

How old am I?

Seriously, you'd think I was turning 13 not 30 in a couple of weeks. Do you ever have those moments when you think to yourself, "There's no way I'm qualified to be an adult, I don't know what the hell I'm doing" and you're afraid someone is going to point out what a complete fraud you are and revoke your adulthood? No, no. Me neither. I was just checking.

When my sister and I were growing up, there were times that we would get home from school before my parents got home from work. I had a house key, so we'd just let ourselves in when we got home. Our neighbors around us also had keys to my parent's house, just in case something came up where they needed to get into the house. This mainly came into play when I got into high school and would get home earlier than Megan. I'd look through my backpack and think, "Oh crud, I did it again." I'd walk sheepishly two doors down and ask Mrs. Heineman* for my parent's house key. It only happened a couple of times each school year, but often enough that whenever Mrs. Heineman saw me on her front steps she knew exactly why I was there.

I graduated from high school and went to college in St. Paul. And sure enough, I still found myself on Mrs. Heineman's front step every once and awhile needing that key. And in the years since college, there have still been a few times that I forgot my key and end up at the neighbors'. ( As the years have gone by, Mrs. Heineman has become increasingly strange and erratic to the point where some of the neighbors and her don't get along at all. My parents and I are not involved in the battle, so she usually is pretty happy to see me, although I kind of wait for the day that she becomes totally exasperated with my ineptitude.)

So here we are today, August 6, 2007. I'm almost 30. I pull up in front of my parent's house and realize, "Oh $hit. I forgot my parents' house keys." Two things to note:

1.) I cursed instead of saying "crud" like I did when I was younger.
2.) I didn't have my house keys because I took them off my key chain when I moved to Oklahoma. I haven't thought to put them back on since I've been back.

So I sat down in the backyard and did what any self-respecting, independent woman of a certain age does: I called my mom. She said, "Just go down to Mrs. Heineman's and get the key." I knew that was going to be the answer, BUT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD I'M 30 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE TO GO ASK THE NEIGHBOR LADY FOR THE KEY BECAUSE I'M A MORON AND FORGOT MY KEYS!!!

I walked two doors down, rang the doorbell, and the door opens and there's Mrs. Heineman with some sort of strange turban-looking thing on her head, obviously at the beginning stages of her daily beauty routine. She looks at me for a second and then starts laughing. "I'll go get it," she said. I step inside her porch and am subsequently peppered with questions from her eight year old grandson. "Who are you? Why are you here? Do you still live in that house? Do you have a key? Why did you forget it? Can you stay here and play with Grandma and me?" Okay, kiddo. Take it down a notch.

I took the key, walked back to my parent's, unlocked the door, returned the key and thanked Mrs. Heineman. I told her, "You know, I'm going to be 50 years old and still coming over here for this key." She told me, "As long as I'm here, you just keep on coming over. I'll have it for you."

It official, I'm a fraudulent adult. Who do I turn my card into? I'm assuming I should give it back . . .

*Name changed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Heidi, Sara and I got together to celebrate Heidi's birthday on Saturday night. She's turning 29 (again). We decided to keep it relatively low-key because none of us have any money. Seriously, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have good friends who were going through the same educational/debt/employment issues that I am. I'm sorry that they have to endure the same tribulations that I do, but at least we can sit around and commiserate about it. And we also understand when we all declare that we can't really afford a night out on the town to celebrate a birthday. Solution? Spa Night at Chez Heidi!

It was a lot of fun. We drank mimosas and ate chocolate cheesecake from Byerly's. Two things about the food and drink selections:

1.)Yes, we drank mimosas at night. We know that they're typically reserved for Saturday brunches, but Heidi has a historical hankering for them in the p.m. I fondly remember the waitress's face when Heidi ordered one when we were out in Uptown one night. The waitress looked utterly confused, like the mimosa part of her brain turned off after 1:00 in the afternoon. Sara nearly collapsed from laughing so hard, and Heidi, in true Heidi Form, declared that she would not be bound by typical mimosa protocol. Who cares if the sun was down? Bring her a mimosa!

2.)I had to go to Byerly's to buy the cheesecake. (Actually I was looking for another kind of cake they make but it proved to be unavailable.) I don't shop at Byerly's. I shop at the Rainbow and Cub on Lake Street, where I am surrounded by normal, salt of the earth people. As for Byerly's? The people that shop there are, generally speaking, pretentious, self-absorbed yuppies who live in a world off limits to us other 98% of the population. I saw 45-50 year old women in $300 velour jogging suits with $150 white New Balance shoes that have never been exercised it, save walking into and out of the salon. The men? Rugby or polo shirts tucked into their khaki shorts, twirling their Saab/Audi/Lexus car keys on the their finger, milling about waiting for their wives to pick out two or three different cheeses from the Southern regions of France. Seriously - these are NOT my people. But Heidi likes Byerly's chocolate cake, so I went. That's friendship. LOL.

So we got to Heidi's and after consuming the cheesecake and a few mimosas we watched some episodes of the first season of Bridezilla. I had never seen the show. It was alarming. As someone who is engaged and planning a wedding, I was for a moment thrilled to be poor! Mo' money, mo' problems yo'. Seriously, the more crap you've got to buy and plan, the more stuff there is to stress about. I'd be pleased if I can have my wedding and have it cost less than $5K. (I'm actually aiming for $2, which still seems like more than it should cost.) I'd rather have a down payment for a house than a big wedding. Yes, the dress, the dinner, the photographs, it's all nice, but I couldn't fathom being saddled with paying for that for years to come. I don't want to be paying for my wedding at my one year anniversary!

The worse part about Bridezilla was the weirdo dreams I had last night as a result. I kept dreaming of things that were going wrong at my wedding. In one particular vivid point, my dress was delivered to me 10 minutes before the ceremony. I opened the box and it was pink with bows and frilly things all over it. I started freaking out saying, "This isn't mine! This isn't what I ordered!" The lady delivering the dress said, "Yes it is. This is the one you picked out." I kept saying, "No, no, NO. I wouldn't pick this!" The lady showed me the order form and said, "See this is the one you ordered." I kept saying to everyone running by, "I wouldn't pick this dress. This is NOT me! It's pink! It's got BOWS!!" but no one would listen and then they pushed me into the church as I stood there holding onto something that looked like a rejected dress from "Pretty in Pink".

Loved the party, Heidi. But no more Bridezilla after supper for me.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Back to normal

I've finally gotten back to some sort of normalcy after the bridge collapse, although I'm still not feeling up to being funny or witty. I'll be interested to follow the story to see what details emerge about the condition of the bridge and what might have caused it's collapse in the coming weeks and months. Until I have some answer though, I'm moving away from dwelling on it.

On a lighter note, I got to talk to Zac via Skype last night. I think that was just the tonic I needed to bring me back. If you aren't familiar with Skype, it's a computer program that lets you talk to people over the internet. If you have Skype installed on your computer, and they have Skype on their computer, you can talk for free. Yes. Talk. With your voice. (You have to have the hardware of a microphone and speakers, too.) It's like talking on the phone, except that there are no outrageous charges or signals cutting in and out. If I could meet the folks that came up with this, I'd hug them. Technology is amazing. I was sitting at my computer in Mpls and Zac was sitting at his laptop in El Salvador and we talked for an hour and half for free. Unreal.

It's one thing to exchange e-mails. It's quite another to be able to actually hear some one's voice. It was really comforting talking to him. I'm just glad that he's safe and sound and liking it down there. Now we'll just wait and see if he makes chief, when we're getting married and where we're going to live next. Just minor details, you know, not like anything major and life-altering. [sarcasm people, sarcasm]

Also adding to my good mood was my ability to hang out with my friends this week. On Sunday I went with three of my friends to the bridal shop in Crystal where I bought my wedding dress. (Yes, I don't know when I'm getting married - it might be this fall, maybe next year. But by God I'm going to have my dress prepared so I'm ready to go whenever the occasion arises.) I was glad to be able to share that with them. Then on Monday I got to go have lunch with a friend of mine from high school. I'm really glad that we're reconnecting after a number of years where we didn't talk. Then tonight I got together with a few friends from the Barn (Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Har Mar Mall) to watch the Twins lose to Cleveland. And tomorrow night I'm getting together with some of my girls to celebrate one of their birthdays. All in all it's been a good week for getting together with friends.

I'm frequently inclined to be a homebody. I'm perfectly fine at being alone, watching TV or a DVD, reading a book or crocheting or doing cross stitch. I really have to motivate myself to get up off my butt and get out of the house. So it's been good this week being able to spend time with friends. You just feel good when you're around them. You can relax and laugh a lot . You get those endorphins (or whatever they are) flowing and you can't help but feel good. Friends are the family that you get to pick. It's kind of neat that way. I'm glad that I'm back in Mpls so that I can spend some time with them before I'm off gallivanting around the country and the globe playing "Navy wife" and can't sit around watching baseball with them anymore.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Questions with no answers

So which is it?

Are our lives totally predestined from our first breath? Is every movement and decision we make beyond our control?

Or are we completely at the mercy of luck and timing? Is life just a crap shoot? Is it something in between?

Because, frankly, I can't figure out which it is.

Those people that were injured and died tonight on the 35W bridge collapse - why were they there? We're they supposed to be there? Did God or Fate decide that tonight was the night they were supposed to die?

Or was it random and unplanned? Where one person makes the green light and gets on to 35W five minutes before the person who got stuck on the red. First person makes it across, the other person perishes. Is it just horrible, horrible luck?

Neither one is particularly comforting, and I'm not sure there's a middle ground that makes sense. I just don't understand . . .

I have driven on that bridge thousands of times. I drove on it as recently as last week. I would have probably driven on it more recently, but the construction was a pain and I decided to avoid it. My Uncle drove on it this morning. This morning. I drive on bridges around here all the time - you kind of have to. Minneapolis is surrounded by the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. To get to certain places you have to cross the river on high bridges. When I worked in Eagan, I had to cross the Mendota Bridge to get to and from work. It's longer and higher than the 35W bridge. And I can tell you never once have I ever thought about the structural integrity of the bridge until tonight.

When you drive as much as we Americans do, it's not totally unexpected when someone is killed in an automobile crash. It's horrible. It's tragic. But it's not so bizarre sounding. You control as much as you can when you drive - you buckle your seat belt, you check your mirrors, you use your turn signals, you keep an eye out for potholes and reckless drivers. But what happened tonight - there's nothing you can do for that. It makes me feel so vulnerable and I hate that. I feel exposed. And I feel even more vulnerable and exposed because maybe my life has been predestined for me, or maybe I'm just at Luck's mercy. Either way, I don't feel like I have a whole helluva lot of say.

Maybe our choices are our own, and life just flows from them with a subtle nudge from Fate every now and again. But still, making the choice to drive home from work, or into downtown to watch the Twins play, doesn't seem like it should have the consequences we saw tonight.

Who are we? Why are we here? What happen next? It's those big questions that unsettle me because I know that I won't ever have a definitive answer. I just thank God that I have cable, because I can't watch any more of the local coverage tonight. I'm not going to sleep well.

Tell your loved ones you love them - life is precious and fleeting, and not to be taken for granted.