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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

After yesterdayís ridiculous attempt to squeeze more hours into a day than the earthís rotation ordinarily allows, I had a couple of revelations today. First, every 28-hour day must be followed by a 20-hour one, and that was why I didnít even wake up until almost 10:00 this morning. (Not by design, however; I just didnít wake up, and I was lucky enough that the phone didnít ring.)

The other revelation is that I donít have to watch every minute of every event that the Olympics coverage offers. Not only that: I canít watch it all, not even all of the curling. Iíve certainly tried, but there are nine games for each team in the preliminary round, and as much as I might like to, I canít put the rest of my life on hold. NBC is kind enough to broadcast entire games for the first time ever on U.S. television, and Iíll thank them by watching as much as I can, but not to the detriment of my job, my family and my life.

And thatís how, at 2:00 pm today, just as coverage of the U.S.-Japan game was starting, I was heading out to the school to pick D.J. up from first grade. He was of course laden down with goodies and sweatshirts and a backpack and a lunchbox, all of which he handed to me so he could walk on top of the raised curb. He informed me that he didnít need a snack, because he had candy. That didnít last even until we got all the way home.

We got there just as the bus was delivering Dakota from school, and the house was already crowded with Valentineís Day well-wishers. I stuck around long enough for Aiden to offer me a soggy animal cracker and everyone to show me their Valentine presents. The curling was on their TV as well, but I had to get back to work so I bowed out after hugs from the little boys and a half-smile from the baby girl (thatís as good as it gets for me these days).




15 February 2006

Tracking clouds out west.



So I will not be staying up until 3:00 am for the third night in a row. The network made it easier by not scheduling any midnight curling coverage tonight (probably because neither of the U.S. teams had a game scheduled at that time). I wouldnít stay up until 3:00 am for anything else, not even biathlon or yet another analysis of Bode Millerís meltdown. But Iím glad Iíve made peace with not seeing it all. Maybe when the winter games come to Vancouver in 2010 I can do better, since that future Olympic city is in the same time zone as I am.




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Stuff

The Japanese curlers had what the U.S. women havenít shown any sign of so far in the Games, the kind of touch that puts the rock where they want it. They also had something else that the U.S. teams lack, the judgment to go for the shot that gives them a chance to win. Trying impossible shots makes for nice theater, but consistently failing to make them kind of dampens the exuberance. The U.S. men squeaked by New Zealand today for their second win, but the women have now lost three games and are in last place. Itís going to be tough for them to advance to the next round. The U.S. men get Italy next, but the host team has already beaten Germany, so it wonít be easy.

I shouldnít mention Bode Miller without noting that a U.S. skier did win the menís combined downhill. It just wasnít Miller, who despite the high expectations missed a gate on his first slalom run. It was 21-year-old Ted Ligety, who had never won anything major on the international ski racing scene until he put together two great slalom runs to back up a decent downhill. That consistency gave him a gold medal, something that happens so rarely among U.S. men Alpine skiers that in all history you can count them on one hand. Miller and Ligety, as well as their teammate Daron Rahlves, will have more chances to win medals, but this is the one that gives them all the boost to do so.

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One year ago: Decelerating
"Chopping potatoes or doing one-handed push-ups are examples of the kinds of things I try to avoid when my arthritis kicks up like this."

Two years ago: Initiated
"Fingers, hands and arms (sometimes other body parts as well) fly all over the place."

Three years ago: About Love
"I'm grateful for the thousands of graces and sacrifices I've witnessed over the years that prove to me that love exists."

Four years ago: Lucky to Be Lazy
"If something is always in the last place I look, why don't I just look there first?"

Five years ago: Up in Arms
"If anything is going to drive me to the psych ward (or the cardiac unit) (or the cemetery), it's dealing with this stuff."

Six years ago: Hearts and Flounders
"'Be mine.' Oh, yeah! I already am!"


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