Archive for December, 2005

Grade Report

Posted by Nate in School.
Tuesday, December 20th, 2005 at 12:16 pm

Hee hee… Congratulations!!!

I’M DONE!!!!

Posted by Karen in School.
Tuesday, December 20th, 2005 at 11:34 am

I JUST FINISHED MY LAST FINAL!!! THE WORST SEMESTER EVER IN ALL OF HISTORY IS OFFICIALLY OVER!!! Except for that pesky research project, but I’m not going to think about that right now because I’M DONE WITH CLASSES!!! YIPPEEEEEEE!!!!

Graduate school… these are the times that try boyfriends’ souls.

Posted by Karen in School.
Monday, December 19th, 2005 at 11:58 am

So this morning, when Nate and I left the house, I remembered that I had a near flat rear tire. I had meant to go fill it this weekend, but instead worked on papers and projects and played broomball and forgot. So of course I remembered as soon as we got to the garage. Nate took a look at it and informed me that I was not going to make it far, it was now that flat, at which point I expressed my fear of filling tires. (I once filled my tire, was sure I did it right, but apparently misread the gauge and overfilled it because I got a flat tire approximately 5 minutes later. Hence, fear.) So Nate crabbily (and rightfully so, how annoying and wimpy girly am I?) said he would go with me.

We went to the gas station on the corner, but of course their air thingy was missing a piece and wouldn’t work. So he then followed me to another gas station, where he helped me fill my tire (read: did it for me). As he was about to walk back to his car he noticed that the guy who had been using the air when we got there had now decided he needed to put on his spare tire instead and was having trouble getting it out of his trunk. So of course, Nate, nicest guy in the world, asked if he needed a hand, and proceeded to basically change the guy’s tire for him. Mind you, it was a lively 8 below zero with a windchill of 19 below. I stood there looking dumb because I didn’t want to be a big jerk and leave, but if I couldn’t even handle putting air in my own tire I sure as hell wasn’t going to be much help changing a tire (but for the record, I could do it, it would just take me a little while). Nate waved for me to go, and so I gratefully headed to school to finish my project with a mere 2 hours left.

And now, project and accompanying 3 papers having been handed in, it is time to give some props. So I declare here and now, I have the best boyfriend in the world. He makes me breakfast, he makes me lunch, he helps me with my Hydrology homework, he gets no sleep because I stay up late studying, he (begrudgingly) puts up with me paying too much money for a haircut, he paints and repaints our kitchen. I am aware that I don’t deserve him.

Dear Nate, I promise to try real hard to one day repay you for putting you through the hell that is being boyfriend to a graduate student, but due to the fact that I am going into the not-so-lucrative field of natural resources, that payback may have to come in the form of lots of dog-walking. And beer. You’re the best. Love, Karen PS – I still have one more final to get through.

Winter Wonderland

Posted by Karen in Day to Day.
Thursday, December 15th, 2005 at 2:24 pm

The last couple of days have turned Minneapolis into a winter wonderland! While most people are cursing the snow, I’ve been cheering! I love seeing it, walking in it, even driving in it. More snow, more, more, more.

When I lived in Colorado, I could drive up into the mountains and count on there being enough snow to snowshoe any time I wanted. But here, you’ve gotta take advantage of it when it snows right away, because if it doesn’t melt, it will most likely turn heavy and sloppy or crusty and weird or just generally less cool. So I decided that, in spite of looming finals, because I finished my GIS project a whole day and a half early (that’s right folks, I said EARLY – it’s the new, improved, Karen 2005, look out!), I had earned some snowshoeing. Besides, the dog had to get walked anyway, right? So this morning bright and early Nate and I took Bruno up to this country club a couple of miles away that has a big ole golf course where I’ve gone sledding and where our friends snowshoe with their dog.

Ohh, what a way to start a day! The snow was so fresh and deep and perfect! It was our first outdoor adventure with Bruno, and the husky in him (he is TOO a husky Nate!) really showed as he romped around in the snow. It was so fun!

YAY WINTER!!! And to add to my winter joy, the ice is primed and we have our first broomball practice on Sunday. This is the Grim Sweeper’s year, I feel it.

Graffiti, kitchen before and after

Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Family, Home Improvements.
Tuesday, December 13th, 2005 at 9:58 pm

So maybe that’s the point of this blog right now, to be the ballast in an otherwise confusing, hard, and painful world. Because, despite all the bitching we do about finals, work, and house projects, our life is a delicious slice of cake, devoured at our leisure, with all the good and such a tiny sprinkle of the bad it’s like it doesn’t exist. Where do I get off moaning about having to repaint our kitchen??? Still, that’s where things are right now. Maybe it’s our little struggles that help balance out the big ones, and in case it turns into the opposite I’m not going to sit here and wait for it. Luck, fate, or karma, I think the lesson from all those links above is to pay attention and BE in the moment you are in, with the people you love. That’s worth shooting for.

SO! On with the petty(ish) posts! Last night, in the limited time after I’d gotten home from work and Karen got home from her work, we were hit with some gang graffiti on our garage door. On the left is a shot I barely remembered to take halfway through covering it up. That paint, by the way, came with the house, marked as "garage trim". No, it’s not.

Anyway, it’s our first graffiti hit, surely not the last, although after a fair bit of research today I feel confident that the Sur 13 gang is most likely the only one to ever hit us, and they stick to blue. So, if we copy the wise advice of our neighbor Don, we will paint our door a dark color with some high sheen and be good to go. Worth a try, and anyway it needs something that matches. (incidentally, check out The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal. Start here, and check out the video. There’s a piece up the alley that’s been covered in the exact shape as the original – what’s the point then?)

So that was frustrating for a minute, but really just a belated "Welcome to Ward 9!" present. Now we’re really residents.

Finally, on seeing the red paint in the kitchen, a fellow blogger was heard to remark – "Isn’t that the same color it was?" To which I say, "no." A thousand times, "no." It was sickly orange. Ok, the orange worked originally, but not with our stuff. Check it out: before (left) and after (right). So. Cool.

You all be good and take care of yourselves and each other. I mean it!!!

Theme Song

Posted by Karen in School.
Tuesday, December 13th, 2005 at 7:08 pm

There are times in my life when a theme song becomes necessary. Now is just such a time. Finals are upon me. And not just any finals, but finals of the worst semester ever, in all of history. How is it that every project takes 5 times longer than I expect it to? Where does the time go? And how is it that after all this time and all my efforts, Hydrology and GIS still send my brain into complete lockdown? Even when I get a good grade on something, I’m pretty sure it took me twice the time and twice the pain it should have.

And so here I am. In desperate need of a good theme song to push down the panic attack and see me through it all. Lucky for me there seems to always be a perfect song for everything.

My theme song for this semester:

Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child, things’ll get brighter
Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child, things’ll be brighter

Some day, yeah
We’ll put it together and we’ll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day When the world is much brighter

(If I was Nate I would know how to make a cool link so you could actually hear it instead of reading it. I would also be at Herkimer having a drink with the Caveman, instead of at home writing in our blog to avoid doing my GIS project.)

Blog news!

Posted by Nate in Family, The Blog.
Saturday, December 10th, 2005 at 12:46 pm

I realized the majority of the Schroeder family was now blogging (if you count travelpod, which I do), and realized there was a neat trick we’re using at work that would mike life easier for us all. If you’re using an aggregator (FeedReader, RSS Owl, or web-based Bloglines, even Google), you can now subscribe to one single combined Schroeder feed! Everything’s in there, new posts will automatically appear, and it’s all in chronological order! Even the travelpod entries!

It’s available at:

Check it out. It’s really cool. It’s like a combined Schroeder life journal, only better.

Second verse, same as the first

Posted by Nate in Home Improvements.
Saturday, December 10th, 2005 at 11:55 am

I think one of the qualities that makes me good at my job (if I do say so myself) is my attention to detail. Often, in programming, there are two ways to solve a problem: 1) a solid, quick, and obvious way that will work well, and 2) an equally solid way that is not nearly as quick but has been thoroughly thought through and (hopefully) addresses all options and variables. Usually both methods will yield favorable results – at least at first. Over time, code written using method 2 will start to outshine method 1 code. As applications evolve and users start pushing them in directions you never intended, the more deliberate code will generally hold up to more abuse, require less maintenance, and perform better.

It’s sometimes the case that there’s clearly a right way solve a problem, but I can’t find it, so I keep going down the method 1 path, until suddenly I see the right way. And even though I’m almost done – the code works as it is – I can’t finish it like that. I have to go back and make it right. That may sound weird to non-programmers, but you know what I mean? A lot of people don’t realize there’s a huge creative side to programming, beyond the problem solving and grunt work of simple code. It’s a great feeling, but it can generate lots of extra work.

Which leads me to today. I started off with a small brush and some red to touch up the edges that were bugging me, and as I got close to the paint I noticed what looked like a white dust on it. I’d noticed it before but was sure I could just wipe it off, and never paid it much mind. This time, despite good rubbing with a damp washcloth, failed to remove most of the "dust". Looking closer, some of it was reflective, possibly insulation or plaster?? I really don’t know. I didn’t put the recessed light in until at least a week after painting, so I really doubt that was it, but…? Maybe the fan that I had on to help it dry was stirring up some old dust from the first light and skylight?? No idea. But there it was, and now I noticed it I couldn’t stop obsessing over it. A test patch with some fresh paint showed it covered the dust and looked (to me) noticeably better.

I read up a bit on Ralph Lauren paints, the reds in particular, and while nobody mentioned flecks of dust, a few people recommended sanding between coats to help it stick properly. (something in the red pigment, I guess) I also took a closer look at a few gouges in the wall I hadn’t noticed until the light was so much better, and a few lumps and bumps that snuck by the first time. And… I decided to do it right.

I have a long weekend ahead of me…

Doggy school graduation

Posted by Karen in Bruno.
Friday, December 9th, 2005 at 10:46 am

Last night our little boy Bruno graduated from doggy school level 1 at Twin Cities Obedience Training Club. We couldn’t be prouder. It’s actually kind of amazing to think about what he’s all learned in the last 9 weeks. When we first brought Bruno home a mere 2 1/2 months ago, he sort of knew "sit", and he was pretty decent on walks. Now he sits, lays down, stays, stands, shakes, rolls over, heels, and more. Granted, not perfectly every time, but pretty darn close.

Last night’s big tests were weaving through cones by leading him with my hand, and heeling down to one side of the ring, doing a u-turn, sitting him, staying him, and then leaving him there, walking down to the other end of the ring, releasing him from the stay and calling him to come to me, and having him sit when he got there. Ohh, he made his parents proud.

He will miss his friends Boomer, Brandy, and especially Amelie the pug, but there will be more dog friends in his future. Level 2 will have to wait until after broomball season, but I think Bruno is already well on his way to being the best trained dog in the world that Nate dreams he will be. And speaking of Nate, I’d like to give a little shout-out to him for picking up the at-home training while I’ve been under the weather. Shaking, rolling over, and standing? All Nate. Well, and Bruno I guess.

The first picture is the certificate Bruno got for completing Level 1 (it only has Nate’s name on it because he’s the one who registered him for class). The next one was during one of our training classes a few weeks ago. And the last one is Bruno with the best trainer in the world, Dani, the Dog Whisperer.

End of day goodness…

Posted by Nate in Uncategorized.
Thursday, December 8th, 2005 at 4:34 pm

A little treat for everyone at the end of a long work day (mine was, anyway)…

Goats in Trees. Karen doesn’t seem to think this is as amazing as I do, but it is.