Sunday, December 25, 2005

Oh, those monkeys

One of my daughter's favourite rhymes is the one about the monkeys jumping on the bed. This morning in the tub, we were chanting that, "...no more monkeys jumping on the bed!" Then we started playing with the consonants: "No more bunkies yumping on the red!" ...etc...

It had to stop when my daughter came out with, "No more junkies fucking on the bed!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This is NOT funny

My new baby is going to be a Capricorn (OK, better had, anyway). Today's horoscope in the SF Chron:
Don't put up the "for sale sign before you're ready. You get one chance, so don't cave in to impatience. Continue to whet appetites.

Then mine begins: "Looking to someone else to make a decision keeps you hanging."

It's just not FAIR!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Today's Horoscope

This is really my horoscope in the SF Chronicle today:

"A family matter weighs heavily on you. But there's nothing that can be done."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

!POR FIN!

Don't go look HERE if your name starts with M or R, and you have a beautiful daughter whose name starts with L and I owe her a spirit-bag. Please. But it's finished!

Still no baby, but...

Today's strip is one of the reasons why I love Doonesbury.

I woke up at 4am and I was AWAKE. This pregnancy thing has GOT to go.

Friday, December 16, 2005

No baby yet, but...

...We're getting the SF Chronicle again in the mornings, which gives me more time to peruse the day's stories over tea and breakfast. So we get laughter, frustration, and tears first thing in the morning. Take, for example, this article which appeared yesterday. A quote:

In an interview with Fox News, Bush said he hopes DeLay, a fellow Texas Republican, will be cleared of charges that he illegally steered corporate money into campaigns for the Texas Legislature and will reclaim his powerful leadership position in Congress.
"I hope that he will, 'cause I like him, and plus, when he's over there, we get our votes through the House," Bush told Fox News' Brit Hume."


Wow, Mr. President! Really powerful words, there!

Today, Jon Carroll took on the whole "Happy Holidays" v. "Merry Christmas" nonsense. An excerpt which would have made me snort my milk up my nose had I been drinking milk at the time:

"...if you'd told me a decade ago that I'd live in a world where "happy holidays" would become a flash point of controversy, I would have asked for a damp washcloth and nine Valiums."


Exactly.

Finally, here's an editorial by Dick Rogers about mathematics/arithmetic and the media.

I'm really planning on having the baby very, very soon. However, The House Bean and I have figured out the problem: My mother-in-law is not flying in until Wednesday morning. We know now that she is in cahoots with the baby and has made a deal with it not to be born until she is here. We know we are right because she probably talked to God about it also, and being Mormon she has a direct line. My own mother used this tactic (except not the Mormon part) when Number One Daughter was going to be born. NOD conveniently did not arrive until my mother had arrived on the scene. Number Two Something apparently knows which side its bread is buttered on, also.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Yer outa here, babe

I have officially served Grub with its two-week notice. Grub has been ordered to vacate the premises and to take all its stuff with it. In addition, it must leave the premises in much the same condition as the previous tenant did. Larger quarters will be provided by the management.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

What to do when you find your belly being painted by a bunch of beautiful women


Lie there and enjoy the heck out of it.













I have such a warm glow around me from the baby shower yesterday, and I'm still trying to sort out the memories. Mostly it's a blur - Being surrounded by the wonderful people I love and wanting to tell them all how much I appreciate them being in my life. I do remember sharing pregnancy and birthing stories along with the other mothers there. I remember being so happy that I could actually eat the cake since it was wheatless. I remember eating a lot of sushi. And then, the US Navy sent a couple of F/A-18 Hornets to do touch-and-go practice at Moffett Air Field, and they flew right over the house about four times, close enough to smell the pilot's aftershave.

Later, I was surrounded by beautiful women and painted.

What a perfect day! Thank you!

Why I'm doing all this.

My early-morning dozing was disturbed this morning by my toddler's insistent voice. "Mommy, mommy!" she was yelling, right in my ear. I opened my eyes and found her face inches away from mine. "I love you, mommy," she said.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Somebody call CPS, quick!

We gave our daughter ice cream for dinner and then she fell asleep without brushing her teeth. This makes us either really good or really bad parents, depending on your point of view.

Friday, November 11, 2005

How to tell stories to a toddler

- Mommy, tell me a story about horses.

- OK. Once upon a time, there was a horse...

- No, no, mommy! Tell me a story about a pony!

- OK. Once upon a time, there was a pony...

- No, no, mommy! Tell me a story about a pony horse.

- OK. Once upon a time, there was a pony horse. This pony horse lived in a big field. It was very lonely and so one day it decided to travel. It walked out of its field because somebody left the gate open. It started walking down the road and it met a duck, who peed on it.

[Toddler collapses in giggles. The End.]

Not there yet, but...

...we will be some day:

The Teen Book (Or wishing it existed!)

Monday, November 07, 2005

This morning it was:

"...now I know my A-B-C's, next time won't you fart on me!"

I don't know where she gets it.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

More things that kids say

Number-One Daughter [pointing at my belly]: That baby! That baby is going to come out and play with me?

Me: Yes, but it won't be able to play with you at first, but then it will get bigger and will be able to play with you!

Number-One Daughter: Oh! That sucks!

Friday, November 04, 2005

wrong knowledge

I just found out that a two-word anagram for my first and last names is "shallow pain." Not sure what to do with this knowledge, except blog it.

Actually, it gets even better when you add my middle name and make a three word limit. You get "Egalitarian Whore Lumps." Also:

  • GUATEMALAN WORRIES PHIL
  • GUATEMALAN WELSH PRIORI
  • GUATEMALAN LIER WORSHIP
  • ANAEMIA SPILLER WROUGHT
  • ARAPAHO LEMURES WILTING
  • SALAAM PUERILE INGROWTH
  • PENETRALIA GLAMOUR WISH
  • MANSLAUGHTER IOWA PERIL
  • GENITALIA ARMOURS WHELP
  • MARRIAGE UNHALLOW SPITE
  • MARRIAGES NUPTIAL WHOLE
  • PREMARITAL HULA WIGEONS
Amongst many, many others. Better hope I have this baby, soon. I'm not on bed rest all day but I'm on bed rest for when I'm not at work. I'll only get more bored.

Watch your language!

Husband: OK, Ruthie, it's time to go play with kids!

Number-One Daughter: Dod-dammit! I need my boots!

Husband [turning to me helplessly]: I did not swear today, I mean it!

Why we had a helicopter hovering over our neighborhood for two hours yesterday

The apartment building where this happened - There was a unit in that building for rent when we were first looking for a place to live in Oakland. I drove by the address and kept on driving.

Woman reports her own break-in
OAKLAND — Carolyn Hunt, a medical worker in San Francisco, returned home to an uninvited guest in her High Street apartment Thursday before police ushered the intruder out. Police said a mentally disturbed woman broke into Hunt's first-floor unit on the 2600 block of High Street and called 9-1-1 just after 2:30 p.m. to report what she had done. She told emergency dispatchers she was armed and afraid "people were out to hurt her," Oakland police Officer Danielle Bowman said.

Police believe the woman had tried to break into other houses earlier in the day in the neighborhood just east of Interstate 580. One caller reported a woman had broken into her house and stolen her cell phone. Bowman said police believe the female intruder might have called police from the stolen phone. Police negotiated with the woman for nearly two hours before SWAT team officers fired bean bag bullets at her as she crawled from an apartment window just after 5 p.m.

Bowman said the intruder, described as being in her early 20s, was not injured and was taken into custody without incident. She was transported to John George Psychiatric Pavilion for evaluation and could face burglary charges. Bowman said police recovered at least one of the suspect's guns from Hunt's apartment. When Hunt tried to pull into the apartment complex's driveway at about 4:40 p.m., police told her to keep going, she said as she waited outside police tape Thursday for police to apprehend the suspect. "I'm hoping that everything I have has not been destroyed," Hunt said. Bowman said she had not been in the apartment since the woman was taken into custody, but she believes the apartment had been "trashed a little bit." Hunt said she did not know the suspect.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I am the goddess of all that is good

This morning I took a bath with Number One Daughter (which is getting increasingly difficult to do, as there is less and less room available for said daughter, let alone any water). We usually sing in the tub. Today the song that occured to me to sing was apparently a new one for her. I regaled her with all 6 verses of "BINGO" as in "There was a farmer had a dog and...," you know the rest. She lay there in the water and gazed at me in open-mouthed reverence. Completely agape, such adoration radiating from her face as if to say, "You Goddess-Mommy, you have such knowledge of all that is magical and wonderful, I am in awe of your wisdom. Please sing that gorgeous song for me again."

I'm taking advantage of every one of those moments, because I know that I will not always be so amazingly powerful.

Iron

[Background - I'm taking pretty heavy-duty iron supplements during this pregnancy to combat anemia. Iron has a certain - ugh - effect on one's digestive system]

- Honey, {in obvious discomfort} please go pick up some prunes today.

- Hey, why don't you have some coffee, we have some, that would help you.

- Oh, that's a great suggestion, give that much caffeine...

- ...to a baby...!

- Yeah, right, sweetie. That's just what I want to do. Give caffeine to my little prisoner. Give caffeine to the one person who has nothing to do but KICK THE CRAP OUT OF MY INTERNAL ORGANS.

- I'll get prunes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Finally, the rain!

This is one I probably won't be crowing about once we move up north. But, here in California, it is finally raining! OK, Schpritzing. But it's wet, and the roads are slick and people are crashing into each other all over the place! And the greening can begin.

Even looking at that cute picture of Number One Daughter is not enough to lighten my mood these days. Even having the real deal looking me in the face can't do it. I'm 31 weeks pregnant and ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, no excuses, just 100% UNCOMFORTABLE ALL THE TIME. I'm afraid that my relationship with this new child isn't getting off to a great start, as I spend quite a lot of time yelling at it things like GET YOUR FOOT OUT OF MY RIBS DAMMIT or WHATEVER THE HELL YOU ARE DOING CUT IT OUT! I am really hoping that once it is born, all those endorphins and hormones kick in so that I can actually love it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Jesus loves me

Ever since I started listening to KPIG again, I've been reminded of how many songs by the Austin Lounge Lizards I associate with Santa Cruz in my head. Songs like "Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs," "Momma Don't Allow," "Industrial Strength Tranquilizer," "Life is Hard, But Life is Hardest When You're Dumb," and "Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand You." I just don't know how I managed to get this far in my life without owning everything they've recorded.

They've also done a "Proposed UC Santa Cruz Fight Song" called, "Banana Slugs! Racing Down The Field" for my alma mater.

While we're on the subject, check out the video "The Tower," at HearUSNow.org, featuring a song by the Lounge Lizards.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pregnancy sucks, but...

...Every time I start really wishing I wasn't doing this, all I have to do is look at this person:
And I think, yeah, this will all work out ok.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Some things that make life more bearable

KPIG is now broadcasting in the Bay Area, at 1510 AM. This brings a refreshing breath of S'Cruzin up here to the Metropolis. I can arrive at work with a smile on my face, now, because outside of the car it's MacArthur Boulevard, but inside of the car it's Highway 1.

My application for an Oregon Teaching License is in the mail.

The borage is coming back up. I think it is wonderful that borage comes up in the early spring, before you have even the faintest hope of cucumbers in the garden, is over-blowsy and going to seed when the cucumbers are in their full swing, and then starts coming back up just after you have to rip out the cucumber vines in the fall. The flavour of cucumbers has been sustaining me through this pregnancy.

Number-one daughter is becoming more fluent. What amazes me is that she has these words in her vocabulary that didn't even exist when I was her same age, like "DVD" ("I want to watch a Deeveedeevee!") and "IPOD." I'm quite sure I didn't know the word "computer" until much later in my life. She knows that if she wants to look at pictures that is where she should go. But she also knows where the tomatoes and cucumbers come from, and that food comes from plants and animals. Oh, but she is urban; the other day she said to me, "Cars go bvvvvvv, bvvvvv, bvvvvvv, bvvvvvv" (That's the closest I could come to spelling it, the sound she made was that of the overly-loud bass beat vibrating the car that is so common, here).

The Grub "Number-two something" is running out of room and becoming more squirmy and insistent on space. The good news is, I'm on iron supplements now and have more energy. The other good news is no news, I haven't had a phone call from my midwife about the three-hour glucose tolerance test I had a week ago, so I'm taking that as meaning that I don't have gestational diabetes. But I am definitely sick of being pregnant, we're in the last two months of Oh-Jeez-Get-This-Thing-Out-Of-Me-ness. Just the perfect time to have a party to perk things up a bit and remind me that, yeah, this is a good thing I'm doing. Oh, and Her Wendyness Appearing All the Way From Michigan will be attending that party, which is the best news I've had all month.

And October is my favourite month. And it rained last night.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Appropriate Penances for Bush Voters

My sincerest apologies to Ted Rall for putting this comic here without his permission. Hey, Mr. Rall, I'm doing this to promote your site! Think of it as free advertising. So here's the comic:

Friday, October 07, 2005

All in the title

Today was bubbling-in-the-grades day, because grades for the first marking period are due on Monday morning. Thanks to the help of my WONDERFUL classroom volunteer, I was able to get everything bubbled and in by 3:30pm today.

The grade sheets include a report card "teacher comments" section, where we can bubble in up to three selections of pre-written commentary that will be printed out on the report card. We get a list of what letter on the bubble sheet corresponds to what comments. In the course of bubbling, today, I learned that what I was using most often were the three letters, "G-O-P."

G = Improve/Do Homework
O = Decrease tardies
P = Please contact teacher at once

My volunteer and I agreed that, yeah, that was about right.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

FORMS

One of my tasks, lately, is getting the paperwork filled out to apply for my teaching credential in Oregon. This has involved a number of Forms.
  1. Ordering transcripts for all post-secondary education.
  2. C-2, Program Completion Report - filled out at teacher education institution (for me, Mills College).
  3. Professional Experience Report (PEER) - filled out by Human Resources "Superintendent" at the school district where I am currently employed.
  4. Fingerprints (on a card, w/verification form from the print-roller).
  5. Actual application - to be filled out by me.
All of these except (5) need to be Filled Out, Signed, and Sealed In Their Own Official Envelopes with a Signature across the Seal, to be included in my now-quite-bulky application packet.

I have control over almost all of these items - The transcripts are no problem (and I always order 2 or 3 at a time, I know I'm going to need more in the future). I paid $20 last Saturday to have my fingerprints rolled by the same gentleman who rolled them last year when I was getting my name changed on my credential (and for that one I had to have the California-required Live Scan, which costs a lot more). I knew that the PEER one wasn't going to be too much trouble, because the people at Mills take care of business and are friendly and competent.

However.

The Form for the district HR to complete. That one scared me.

Our district has a reputation for inefficiency, insolvency, and bloat. Amongst the school personnel in our district, the District Administration (referred to as "The District" or "Downtown") has a reputation for inefficiency, bloat, confusion, incompetence, neanderthalism, stupidity and cover-your-assedness as well as Pass the Buck, What Buck, We Don't Got No Buck, We Don't Got To Show You No Steeenkin Buck.

Oh, and since Dr. Randolph "I Don't Give A Damn About My Reputation" Ward took over as State Fuhrer, whoops, Administrator, they've been shuffling organization and departments and staffing downtownl like a poker deck, and every office is full of packing boxes, and I was really unsure about who the Head of HR du jour was going to be. Turns out that person is on vacation anyway.

So I was really worried about getting this Form back in time to mail it in with the rest of my packet. This is the District where one of the first things I learned was to photocopy ahead of time any Form you had to take Downtown, and to have whoever took your form time-stamp your copy as "received." So at least, when (not if) your Form was lost, you had copies of it, and you had Evidence for whoever it was that the Form was for that you had, in fact, dropped it off, and that it disappearing had nothing to do with you.

So I had my photocopies ready, as well as a cover letter to drop off with the Form with instructions to contact me when the Form was completed. And not a whole lot of hope that I would ever get my Form back. I left our staff meeting today early in order to get Downtown before closing (they close at 4pm and most schools don't get out until 3:15, what's the sense in that anyway? We have minimum days on Wednesdays, so it's actually possible to get there then). I found the right room (HR has moved, surprise, surprise) and by the sheerest STROKE OF GOOD LUCK, there was a friendly and somewhat weary man behind the front desk who apparently HAD THE AUTHORITY TO FILL OUT MY FORM ON THE SPOT!

But I'm jumping ahead, and I just gave away the end of the story. Damn that enthusiasm.

I signed in and got to listen to the concerns of the person who was in front of me in the queue. This was a young Former Teacher at the District who had not, apparently, learned the all-important lesson about the photocopies and the time stamps. He sounded quite irate that his Form had disappeared several times before and so now he was trying to get his Form in on a tight deadline. He commented several times about how Hard He Had Worked and how Badly He Had Been Treated and, incidentally, that's why he is teaching in Vallejo, now. And if he didn't get his Form in to them by October 1, they were going to put him lower on the pay scale than his experience warranted. The weary man took his Form and said he would do what he could. What was really good was that every time the Young Former Teacher said that Weary Man's office had LOST HIS FORM, Weary Man said a vague sort of, "Oh?" Eventually their business was completed, and YFT left the office (without his form).

My turn next. I've got this habit that I think I must have picked up from my mother where when I really want to get my way, I get all sweet and chatty. I was sweet and chatty with Weary Man, and I said, well I have this Form to be filled out, it's for my Oregon Credential, and I think it's a fairly simple Form - (At this point he looks up my data on the computer and finds my seniority date) - And I've been at the same school the entire time teaching the same subjects - (He starts filling out my Form) - And Oh! I would be ever so happy to be able to take it with me today, you see, it has to be sent in with the rest of my packet to be official.

Since I already gave it away, you know that I did, in fact, leave with my Form, Sealed in an Envelope and with a Signature Across the Seal. I LEFT WITH MY FORM. I HAVE IT. THE ONE THAT WAS GOING TO BE THE HEADACHE/ULCER CAUSING ONE, THAT I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER GET BACK.

I'm a little excited about that. And smiling still, and my packet is almost complete.

Picallili

I spent yesterday afternoon/evening making about 6 pints of picallili, because it seemed like a good idea since it has become cold enough now that the tomatoes left on the vines in the backyard are not really ripening anymore. About halfway through this process I realized (duh!) that picallili is a sweet relish. I don't like sweet relishes, never have. Fortunately, the rest of the family does, but it looks like I'm set for holiday presents. Picallili, anyone?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Almost there, almost

I've officially packed the first two boxes for the move to Eugene in June/July. They are of baby clothes, one box of stuff that Ruthie has grown out of and Grub will grow into in about a year, and one box of stuff that Kyle has grown out of, and some donations from friends, that Ruthie will grow into in about a year. Progress!

What's better than one kid in a box?


Two kids in a box, of course!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Don't mess with this woman

Thank you, Jenijen, for pointing towards this blog entry by Jenn, the Java Diva in Texas.

Potty Training

Number One Daughter is undergoing potty training. That is, she is being potty trained when her flaky parents remember to take her to the potty. This is all so difficult. The parenting books make it seem easier - Just get them to know that the potty is where that stuff goes, and you're set! Yeah, but there's the remembering to get there, too. She does OK when she doesn't have any diaper or pants on at all - Bare bottomed, she remembers most of the time to run to the potty. But as soon as we introduce the "big girl pants," she forgets - There's something covering her and so she just goes.

So when we're at home and remembering, we put her in the big girl pants and set the timer. Every 20 minutes, the bell rings and that's the signal to sit on the potty. Such a complicated process! Lift the lid, stand on the footstool, pull up the dress or shirt, pull down the big girl pants, sit down, pee, get toilet paper (no, not a yard!), wipe, stand up, pull up the big girl pants, get off the footstool, put the lid down, flush. Yes, she ought to be washing her hands, too, but if we did that every time, the 20 minutes would be over before we were done.

I am, however, worried about the Pavlovian implications of teaching my daughter to pee when a bell rings. What will she do in school?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

How to do it

Yesterday I went to a gathering of local urban gardeners, the Metro Garden Club, to meet some of what I hoped would be kindred spirits (sense the foreshadowing...). I've been on their e-mailing list for a while, and it doesn't get a lot of traffic. So I wasn't sure what to expect. I was so unprepared that I didn't have any plants, seeds, starts, or even food to bring to share. I ended up not bringing any plants, seeds, or starts home, either, partially because my ethics won't let me take when I haven't brought, but also because I didn't find anything that would fit my garden. Somebody had brought a bucket of apples, though, and I'm sorry that I didn't make off with some of them.

I was disappointed. First of all, I'm not great in social gatherings of more than, say, five people. I'm even worse when everybody else already seems to know one another. I attempted some conversations, but they didn't last. Everybody I talked to was an ornamental gardener, perhaps a casual vegetable gardener. I got into a conversation about tomatoes with one woman (these were all women, all older than I) but when I mentioned that I was canning mine she almost ran away from me. "I'm too lazy to can," she said.

As is totally obvious from what I've been blogging lately, I've really gotten into the canning thing this season, more than ever before. It is hard, but it's not that difficult once you get into the rhythm of it - As with any undertaking or hobby, no? And it is reading that inspires me. I've been asked several times in the past year, "How did you get to know so much about [gardening/canning/...]?" My reply is always the same - I read. I read about gardening for years before I had a decent sunny plot. I keep those books that I really love right by my spot at the breakfast table, and that is what I browse while I eat, wait for water to boil, drink my tea. They are reference books, about herbs, gardening, canning.

The more I read (and keep in mind that this is very casual reading) the more I get inspired. I had to look up the recipe for spiced vinegar in one book that called for it for the pickles I am making, and there on the same page was directions on making garlic rosemary vinegar - Hey, I can throw that together, too! I thumb through the pages and there's some recipes on dilly beans, so when The Husband asked me this morning what I needed at Trader Joe's, I tell him to pick up some dried beans and I'm going to try pickling them. Why not?

My favourite gardening book, by the way, is The Kitchen Garden by Sylvia Thompson. My copy is getting old and ratty and the toddler tore the cover yesterday. I love the way she writes and I aspire to being such a creative gardener.

See what I mean? I ran in and took this picture of the kitchen table, and this is exactly how it was.

(Oh, and if you ever want to make your house smell really divine, try boiling a couple of sprigs of rosemary in some white wine vinegar for a few minutes. Yum.)

Comforting moments

On Friday afternoon a group of former students who are now in high school came roving through campus after school. One of them stayed and chatted with me. He was really polite and asked about how my classes were and was eager to tell me about how much he was enjoying geometry this year. This is a student who really struggled in my class - He took algebra for the first time as a 7th grader and it just wasn't making sense to him. We would work in tutoring sessions and he would "get it" and be doing fine, but then the next day it would be gone again. I remember setting a test down in front of him and seeing him burst into tears because he felt overwhelmed (a low point for a teacher when you know how much that child has been trying). It was really great to have him stop by and share with me that he is doing much better now, and that he really does have fond memories of my class and that I didn't totally destroy his ability at mathematics!

And on the domestic side of life, Number One Daughter now has VERY SHORT hair, and I've got six pints of very colorful canned tomatoes that are a mixture of red, yellow, orange, and green varieties.

Friday, September 09, 2005

God Outdoes Terrorists Yet Again

Katrina

Officials Uncertain Whether To Save Or Shoot Victims

Nation's Politicians Applaud Great Job They're Doing

Area Man Drives Food There His Goddamned Self

Bush: 'It Has Been Brought To My Attention That There Was Recently A Bad Storm'

Complete Coverage

An excerpt:

White Foragers Report Threat Of Black Looters

NEW ORLEANS—Throughout the Gulf Coast, Caucasian suburbanites attempting to gather food and drink in the shattered wreckage of shopping districts have reported seeing African­Americans "looting snacks and beer from damaged businesses." "I was in the abandoned Wal-Mart gathering an air mattress so I could float out the potato chips, beef jerky, and Budweiser I'd managed to find," said white survivor Lars Wrightson, who had carefully selected foodstuffs whose salt and alcohol content provide protection against contamination. "Then I look up, and I see a whole family of [African-Americans] going straight for the booze. Hell, you could see they had already looted a fortune in diapers." Radio stations still in operation are advising store owners and white people in the affected areas to locate firearms in sporting-goods stores in order to protect themselves against marauding blacks looting gun shops.
[© Copyright 2005, Onion, Inc. All rights reserved.]


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Spiced Peaches


Today I received my ten pound box of peaches from Full Belly Farm. Truly a beauty to behold. I picked them up after work and when I got home my wonderful husband was just finishing cooking dinner so that I would have a clean kitchen to work in. He stashed dinner in the oven and took the kids to the swimming pool while I started working. The first thing to do was to sterilize jars and make the syrup for the peaches.





Then I had to skin the peaches. The recipe I had said to dunk the peaches in boiling water and immediately transfer them into cold water, then the skins would slough off. Not even close. After the first batch resulted in a lot of peeling with a knife (which leaves a peach that doesn't look so great) I learned that I needed to dunk them in boiling water, and then wait for the water to come back to a boil before transfering them to the cold water. I got much better results - beautiful blushy smooth skinless peaches.




Cut the peaches in half and poke some cloves in them and then boil them in the syrup...Here's the first batch in the syrup while I wait for the water for the second batch to come back to a boil to do the skin thing.













At this point the husband came back home with two hungry kids. I was too involved in what I was doing to eat, so they ate while I started peeling the second batch. When the first batch was ready to come out of the syrup it went into a jar...












Two more batches like these and the final result is beautiful to my eyes. Ten pounds of peaches yielded four quarts of spiced peaches and another quart of the syrup which was left over. Number One Son is really looking forward to this winter, when we can open these and savor them with ice cream while remembering (and looking forward to) summer.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Orey - gone

The best part about the drive up to Oregon last week was that the kids discovered a great game which consisted of putting blankets over their heads and being REALLY QUIET.

These were the two kids who were crammed into the back seat of the 1994 Honda Civic Hatchback along with a cooler, a diaper bag, three bottles of water and two bags of their assorted toys and books. We took the hatchback because 455 miles at almost $3 a gallon adds up, and the Civic, bless its little metallic Japanese heart, gets 42 miles to the gallon. One tank of gas gets us *almost* to the Oregon border, actually we could probably make it to Brookings but I start getting nervous when the needle is in the red.

We got a measly 41 miles to the gallon on the way back, because we ran the air conditioning.

But on the way back, after a week of running around on the farm and visiting Grammy, those same two children couldn't seem to play that same game again, and nobody would sleep, either. So the best part about the drive back to Oakland was the thought that after we move next year we won't have to do that drive as often. Oh, and we fantasized about minivans.

Oakland had a rousing welcome for us. First, somebody was shooting something off up the street from us at around 9pm, then the police helicopter started circling over our house at about 1am, and then at some point after that some ding-a-ling lingered at the stop sign opposite our house with the music turned up so loud that it was making the car vibrate and rattle. That has got to be bad for the engine somehow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

At least one of Bush's neighbors is human

Mother's vigil moving to bigger spot
Ranch neighbor offers land after car runs over anti-war memorial


I'm glad that somebody local down there is understanding.

And how about that wacko from Waco? I guess it's ok in Texas to not only desecrate the flag, but to mangle crosses placed in memorial to soldiers who have died in the service of their country. I actually heard somebody on the radio yesterday call him an "American hero." Right. I thought they liked to burn their crosses, first.

OK, OK, I guess I just like the headline phrase, "Anti-American Asshat."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A photojournalistic account of today's accomplishment: Canning 20 pounds of tomatoes!

Today the husband and kids went off to visit friends in Catheys Valley, there to build forts with legos, enjoy the heat, and celebrate our dear friend Tiffany's birthday. There will be birthday cake made and consumed. I will miss this part, because I stayed home to CAN 20 POUNDS OF TOMATOES.

I ordered the tomatoes last week after getting a notice in our CSA box that it being the right time of year, they are selling these boxes of tomatoes in order to prevent them being used in tomato wars between their workers (think water balloon fight, only more acidic and messy).

Today I picked up the box of tomatoes at just after 1pm, brought it home and began my task:


Here's my dish drainer full of the jars I would use. There's 18 of them, which was my estimate of how many I would use today. I washed these before I left to get the tomatoes.







Here's my "Bouquet Garni" for making tomato sauce. It's sprigs of rosemary, parsley, and oregano bound between a leek sliced lengthwise and a stalk of celery. Beautiful, no? I'd never made proper tomato sauce before today, so here goes...







Here's what 20 pounds of tomatoes looks like. There were 78 tomatoes there, not including the four over on the side, there, that were the ones in our regular CSA box. Thanks, Full Belly Farm!





Now time to get down to the serious business of making tomato sauce. I used the recipe for "Rich Tomato Sauce" found in Perfect Preserves: Provisions from the Kitchen Garden by Nora Carey. The recipe called for 6 pounds of tomatoes - lacking an actual scale I had to estimate this by dividing the number of tomatoes in my box by 20 pounds - I wonder how accurate the weighing was at Full Belly...Anyway, I wound up being short by one expected pint.






The first soon-to-be-boiling water bath: Three pints of tomato sauce and four pints of regular canned tomatoes. After this boiled I set the timer for 40 minutes and prepared the next batch of canned tomatoes...




There's the boiling water bath going on the left. On the other back burner I'm heating up four more pint jars which will be used for the tomatoes you see on the front burner. They're being heated up for a hot pack.

When I got to the end of these four jars in that pressure cooker (and one more that was left over from the first batch), I still had some tomatoes in my pot...but not really enough for another pint. Quickly I ran out to my garden and picked a bunch of my own tomatoes that were red. I got enough to round out two more pints. So I actually canned something OVER 20 pounds of tomatoes today. But, lacking a kitchen scale, I could not tell you exactly how much. If this information becomes vital to society it shall be researched.




Finally! The finished product. There's three pints of tomato sauce on the left, four pints of tomato juice on the right, and 11 pints of canned tomatos in the middle. Whew!

I had been thinking about ordering another box of tomatoes, but I may have my hands full canning what will be coming out of my own garden in these next weeks. However, in two weeks I am expecting a box of peaches, so stay tuned!

How to tell you've made a bad career choice

SF Chronicle:
Molesting driving instructor gets two years
San Jose man claimed he feared being in a car

Vinagre


Yesterday's accomplishment...pickled jalapenos with carrots, onions, and garlic. Yum!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

My union's union is suing the Gubernator. It's probably going to cost a lot of money. And I wonder if they have a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Satisfaction...

...comes with accomplishment. Preserved lemons, today:












And #1 Daughter is still enthusiastic about Mr. Potato Head:

Shiva Rea STILL annoys me

"Doing yoga is like giving birth and being a mother..." Yeah, right. I don't recall ever having to yell at my yoga mat to go clean its room. What is your trip, lady?

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mr. Potato Head

What to do with your daughter on a Sunday afternoon when your husband has taken both sets of keys so you can't leave the house...




It's the Long Dark Potato Head of the Soul.





Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Preemptive strike

"Well, yer honor, I knew that my next-door neighbor didn't like me, and that he was turning his children's minds against me. I suspected him of growing pot in his basement and I'm pretty sure he was going to send his dog over to pee on my lawn. So that's why I shot him, yer honor."

Please release me, let me go

Number One Son is nine years old. He lands on his right knee when he jumps off of whatever it is he jumps off of, playground equipment, trees, roofs, airplanes. Usually I take his trousers to my mother's house for her to repair, because not only is she talented and has lots of extra denim but also has a way bitchin' sewing machine that has the take-out bit on the bottom that permits you to sew on sleeves and pant legs. But we missed some pairs that last time, even though I asked him to go through all his clothes and bring me ALL the pants with holes in them, and when we all got back home from our various travels there he was walking around in a pair of pants with a big rip in, you guessed it, the right knee. So I had him change and bring them to me. So he put on another pair of pants with a big old rip in...yep, that same place. So now I have two pairs of pants. I happily cut up some denim and made patches of the appropriate sizes (LARGE as in WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO THE RIGHT LEG OF THESE JEANS???). Then I realized that I did not have a way bitchin' sewing machine that has the take-out bit on the bottom that permits you to sew on sleeves and pant legs. AND THAT I HAD TO SEW ON THE FLIPPING PATCHES BY HAND. Not easy to do when you have a toddler and a husband and all kinds of craziness breaking out all over the house. So now the item I want most in the world, ranking right up there with the chest freezer and the really big bathtub, is a way bitchin' sewing machine that has the take-out bit on the bottom that permits you to sew on sleeves and pant legs.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Beyond her years

For the past two years, Number One Daughter has grown used to seeing her books on the bottom of a particular shelf in our living room. Recently, the expanding collection of children's books got too large for that shelf - and being kid's books, they were all different shapes and sizes and would never stack or shelve neatly anyway. So, we moved them all to one of her toy storage shelves (located in our fireplace, no really) and moved the toys to her recently acquired toybox (thanks, grammy!).

Well, Ruthie has not caught on the the change in location. We've showed her several times where her books are stored now. But when she goes to select something she wants read to her she invariably goes to the old shelf, which now holds *our* books. Which is why I ended up reading 100 Hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area to her the other evening (well, only the first page or two), and why my sister-in-law was surprised to be requested to read Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass to her the other evening. Last night I had to tell her that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a little old for her and perhaps Goodnight Moon would be a little more age appropriate. Maybe it isn't too early to start on the Khalil Gibran?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Our shamanistic music teacher came to me in a dream

When the Husband and I went camping the other night to celebrate our wedding anniversary WITHOUT THE CHILDREN ALONG (thanks to the Mother-in-Law who came out from Salt Lake just for the occasion and spent the time plying her professional-grandmother skills) I had one of those weird, Technicolor and Surround-Sound hormonally induced dreams that occur during pregnancy. Really, pregnancy dreams have enormous production budgets, elaborate sets and casts of thousands. In this one our music teacher Spoke to me. I was trying to deal with this particular student who I had last year for general math.

[This next part is all real, necessary background for the dream] Her skills were that of a second grader because that was when her mother, who was strung out on heroin, stopped taking her to school. She was socially promoted all the way up to the 7th grade, not being able to read or multiply. Mom wound up in jail and she was living with her aunt. Then mom got out of jail and started hanging around again, and this girl started acting out, making it very difficult for me to teach the five or so students in my class who really were interested in learning. Finally, in about February, we got her out on independent study and I didn't hear from her again since she never turned in any work.

So, in my dream I kept trying to deal with this girl, and kept getting frustrated. Then the music teacher Spoke to me. He asked me what my goal in life was, and I replied that I wanted to be happy. He asked me what that would look like. I said that when I was old I wanted to be rocking on my porch, watching my grandchildren run around my big yard and garden. Then he asked me if this girl had anything to do with what I wanted, and I said no, she wasn't part of what would make me happy. Then the Shamanistic music teacher kind of said, "OH!" And the message was, so don't let these ones stress you out and make you unhappy because they have NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR HAPPINESS.

What is it with Montclair?

Yesterday we decided to take the kids to a park that would have some sort of water to splash in since it was pretty hot. Before we left I told the husband that we would have to stop to buy swim diapers; after he drove right by Walgreen's and then Safeway I realized I had to remind him of this.

So he pulled off the freeway in Montclair, that yuppie ghetto in the hills of Oakland. This is where every other car is a Lexus SUV. Where everybody is "done." I think of it as the Los Angeles of Oakland, except that L.A. has better streets and parking.

First we pulled into the Montclair Safeway parking lot. Husband ran in, then came out a couple of minutes later with the information that the only diapers they had were infant ones. So we drove on to the next store which was an Albertson's a couple of blocks away. First, Husband parked the car JUST DOWNWIND OF THE PARKING LOT BARBEQUE and this was just before lunch, so #1 Son and I got to sit there and salivate while we were waiting. Husband came back minutes later saying that they didn't have any diapers, either, and ran over to the drugstore down the block. So we sat there and inhaled bbq for another ten minutes. Fortunately, this time Husband returned with the goods.

So what should have been a "let's stop and pick up some diapers" five minute errand turned into a half-hour or more torturous ordeal in MONTCLAIR, of all places.

What is it with Montclair, anyway? Do their children poop pineapple? Or maybe brie? They catch it in little white cloth napkins and serve it with crackers.

We did eventually wind up at the park, which was all the way out in Danville, land o'blonde women. I got into a great conversation with a mom from Martinez about how crazy it is trying to parent normally out here. "Normally" means that you expect your kid to be a kid, and you don't schedule them to the hilt with all kinds of cockamamie classes like soccer and pottery and Chinese and Judo and jewelry making and...Unfortunately, you are left with your child having nobody to play with, since all the other children are so scheduled. So you have to make "playdates." And whoever invented that word should be killed.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I just don't have the stamina

I'd like to take a moment to admire a colleague of mine who teaches at the same school I do. Every school has a teacher like this, and he's ours. He's been with the district for something like 15 years (which is, like, 75 Oakland-teacher-years). He's the music teacher, and he devotes a great deal of time and energy into keeping music in our school (in a district where most of the schools have lost their elective programs). He has an annual fundraiser at, I think, Yoshi's jazz club. He spends extra time before and after school rehearsing. He sponsors several student concerts throughout the year.

But above and beyond that, he is the backbone of our school. He spends part of his conference period cleaning up garbage, since our school is down to one evening custodian. He will repair anything and everything that needs it (he climbed up onto the roof of my portable classroom a couple of months ago to clean out the drainpipe so the big pool of water up there could drain outside instead of into my classroom, a trick the district repair folks have not been able to duplicate or fix). He chases down students who are wandering around out of class, writes referals, and will even call their parents - These are kids who are not his students, mind you.

In other words, he makes the rest of us look bad. But he has the energy and commitment to do all of this, even after being flogged by the district for all those years. (Working for this district is kind of like being beaten by a large rubber fish whilst simultaneously being rubbed down with sandpaper)

I admire him and wish that I could muster and sustain that kind of drive. But I've found that I just don't care that much. I've only been rubber-fish-flogged and sandpaper-rubbed for four years and I'm all out of caring. As a fresh-faced student teacher I would have been horrified at my current attitude. I would have shouted, "Goest thou far from teaching!"

What I need, I explained to my colleague today, is a district/school where there is a heck of a lot more parent and student buy-in. Where I'm not just an extremely cheap daycare. Where the rubber fish aren't quite so large and the sandpaper is maybe a little finer?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Why Oakland isn't so bad

1. Good ethnic restaurants.

2. Ethnic diversity.

3. There's a lot of stay-at-home dads in the area who can hang out with my husband.

4. I'm really trying, here!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Shiva Rea annoys me

We decided this evening that what my pre-natal yoga video is really missing is the toddler crawling all over Shiva Rea, Britta, and Poppy.

Said toddler will follow through about half the warm up before she gets bored.

So, like, hello Shiva Rea! Who is likely to be doing pre-natal yoga? Mothers! Many of whom already have kids! You're missing the "Downward dog while toddler is tugging on your hair" pose and the "Table with toddler on your back" pose. Not to mention "Baby pose with toddler underneath" and "Triangle while toddler tries to steal your yoga block."

Right now I am "typing while toddler tries to lick the screen" so I guess it's time to go read books.

Why Oakland is Bootsie-town

1. Serious lack of public parks. Unless you want to buy drugs or have your children play amongst the needles. Or you don't mind garbage. Or you never have to go to the restroom.

2. Dr. Randolph "I make Satan look like a choir boy" Ward, state-appointed destroyer of public education.

3. Too many (*&%$^%^! freeways.

4. Too many self-centered, cell-phone chatting ignoramuses (ignoramii?) clogging up those freeways in their Lexus SUV's.

5. Miserable excuse for a lake, AKA "Dam that estuary anyhow!"

6. People completely ignoring that there is a vehicle code. You think the person in front of you is waiting too long to take that unprotected left-hand turn? Go around him on the left! No, you don't need headlights in your car! Don't want to wear a motorcycle helmet? Don't bother! Ride your non-street-legal dirtbike on the sidewalk (after all, it's not street legal!)! Don't want to make a u-turn? Drive in reverse!

7. Did I mention garbage everywhere yet?

8. You don't need to go to the dump. Just take those five bags of garbage and dump them under an overpass. Public works will do your work for you!

9. Kids who are completely off the hook. Lots of them. And the parents (or grandparents) who defend them. "No, my granddaughter didn't steal that sweater out of your house. I bought it for her."

10. Clogged up freeways in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday.

And to those who say, "If you don't like it, then leave," I am. I have one more year, though, before I can.

Coming up next: Reasons why Oakland isn't so bad. I promise.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot

There's actually a character in Revenge who is named Commander Cody. I kid you not.

Revenge of the Pith

I just got back from taking the Number One Son to see the latest and LAST (thank heavens) Star Wars-ish movie. I managed to make it through the full two and one-half hours (Good God, Lucas!) with only one minor potty break. I timed said potty break at the beginning of some scene where Annakin was moaning over something or other, and came back in the middle of some other scene where Annakin was moaning over something or other. That's where this movie really bogs down - with Annakin. This pimply-faced non-actor couldn't emote his way out of a paper bag (to use a well-worn cliche), yet we're supposed to believe he's becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith or something big and powerful like that. I didn't believe it until he had the cool (but now somewhat dated) black suit with the helmet and James Earl Jones's voice.

Remember how the Death Star trench flying scene, the climax of Star Wars, had us clinging to our seats? It just goes to show how much we and movies have changed in the last thirty years. This movie starts out with some badass CG space-battle flying that is waaaaay more adrenalin rushed than that trench scene. The savvy nine-year old didn't even flinch.

Here's another observation: Dude, that Obi-Wan has some busy tailor. In every other scene, he throws off his nifty brown Jedi cloak and jumps into some battle. Fight, fight, fight, through space ships or temples or jungles or weird lava planets, and then in the next scene, boom, he has his brown cloak back. How does he do it?

Nice job making the Uncle Owen/Aunt Beru actors to look vaguely like younger versions of the original Star Wars actors. There's even a Governor Tarkin look-alike on Darth Vader's command ship, though he looked a lot more like Odo on close-up. Hmmmm, that could mean a crossover and a whole new franchise! We'll call it Trek Wars.

And I have to echo the scathing New Yorker reviewer here: How is it that Padme (Om Madme Padme Om) can zip across the galaxy in hours but yet never has any pre-natal care? Nobody knows she has twins until right before they pop out, and then she has these instant names for them (while giving birth and dying simultaneously). Kyle asked me how she knew their names so quickly, and my reply was that she must have seen Empire Strikes Back.

I kept waiting for there to be some major cataclism that would explain how in the next 20 (saga) years technology takes a major dive. Yoda will go from being a CG light-sabre weilding toughie to being a foam-rubber Muppet who sounds like Grover. There won't be droids running all over the place with guns (oh, wait, I guess they put those in the re-write-re-release "Episode IV" CG-Masturbatory session they did a few years back).

I'm glad we went to the 9:30 am show, because when we came out there was a crowd for the afternoon shows and all these dorks hanging around wearing stormtrooper outfits and stuff. I think the theatre pays these people.

So I guess the upshot is, skip the whole thing except for the last half hour or so of the movie. Oh, except that R2-D2 gets to actually kick some bad-guy butt in the first 20 minutes or so.

My dream still is that in, say, 2027, they will re-release the original Star Wars again, in its original cut, without all the crap they added later. With the original trench scene filmed in someone's garage. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nope, no catchy title

You know it's a bad week when the catchphrase which you share with your colleagues is, "Just don't flip off any kids." Everybody is tired and on edge, staff and students alike. It's the time of year when you start getting phone calls from parents you never knew existed asking how their child can pass and be moved on. "Where were you in September?!?" I want to scream at them. Or the whole year, when Junior was bringing home straight F's on the report card? The ones whose parents are in my classroom after the very first report card goes out, those are the ones who I know will have no problems. But when the first contact from a parent comes in May...So sorry.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Two years old and going strong

This here toddler what lives in our house is all elbows. And knees. And sheer cuteness. About every day she does something really, really cute about which I think, "Need to blog that." I get it all composed in my head, it's funny and entertaining, and then I fall asleep.

If I could just send it straight from my brain to the interweb I'd have a very good blog. In the meantime, I have to refer everybody to dooce.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

New Projects

Mom introduced me to decoupage this weekend. Actually, she didn't do the introducing, she just knew the stuff to get when we went to the crafts store. I had been saving the little tins that mints come in - my husband has a thing about always having mints in the car, kind of like one of those things his mother did that he now needs to carry on with. This evening I decoupaged decorations onto one of the tins. I saw somebody do this several years ago and turn it into an emergency travel sewing kit. It looks nice.

As I was typing the previous sentence I heard The Toddler's voice from the other room where she's been sleeping for the past hour. I went in and she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I'm asleep, I'm asleep." I said, "You are," and popped the binky back into her mouth, whereupon she closed her eyes and was out again (still?). Cute.

She was pretty cranky all day. We took a walk this afternoon and found a basket in a pile of stuff that a neighbor had left out for "free" on the curb. She insisted on carrying the basket for the rest of our walk, and picked up garbage along the way and put it in her basket. The walk didn't last long, however, because she started insisting on going another way than I was going. I carried her home and a minor tantrum ensued (from her, not me), "Mommy, more walk, more walk." Then we came in and she was asleep within five minutes. Mommy told you that you were too tired to walk more.

Friday, April 08, 2005

All in a day's work

I am a public school teacher. I teach at a fairly large middle school in Oakland, California. My classroom is a double-wide portable building, so that makes me trailer trash.

Every time it has rained this year (and that has been quite a bit), I get water pouring in at one side of my classroom where the seam is between the two trailers. See, the seam runs the length of the room, but on one end there gets to be a pool of water where it doesn't drain properly when it rains, and so we get to experience the rain forest.

And now I've got a skunk family living under my classroom, too.

So I stepped out a few minutes ago to scamper across the courtyard to relieve my teacherbladder. Right outside my classroom door (but fortunately off to the side and not right on my porch) was Flower, sniffing and gnawing on something on the ground. So I closed my door quietly and scampered off. When I came back there was an entire classroom of kids coming back from the library walking by, and they all had to react to the skunk's presence in an age-appropriate manner, which is to say either scream or try to approach it. All this while I was waiting for them to go back to class so I could follow my PLAN.

My PLAN was to make a lot of noise and scare it off before it got startled by my presence. It worked! I even got to educate a kid who was trying to get past the skunk to get into the art classroom in the Sopisticated Way of Dealing With Urban Wildlife (ie; make a lot of noise and yell).

All in a day's work for -- PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

We're thinking seriously about Eugene

Now that the chances of my getting a job in Cottage Grove have gone tdown to slightly above nil, we're thinking more seriously about relocating to Eugene, instead. Besides having more town conveniences for us and the kids, it will probably mean a shorter commute for both of us. So when I saw RiverPlay as something that Eugene's Parks and Rec is going to build, I got really excited. This is just the sort of thing I want to be able to take my daughter to in the summertime.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Even If You Grab A Piece of Time -- Ruth Forman

[minstrels] Even If You Grab A Piece of Time -- Ruth Forman: "Even If You Grab A Piece of Time

Conjure something glowing
Take this day
You were born with hands for spinning
Talent for dreams and making them real

Roll the hours like yarn
Spin something that makes you feel full
And big and open to talk

Make this day your own square
In your own life quilt
So shining it brighten the whole of your years
This far
Make this day like one of God's seven.

-- Ruth Forman"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

LA Zoo gets a rare pangolin

LA Zoo gets a rare pangolin.

So, it turns out that the couple who brought this animal into the country had actually saved it from almost certain death. Poor little guy.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Stuck in O-town again (still)

I didn't get the job.

They didn't even grace me with a phone call. Just a letter saying something about how there were so many highly qualified applicants etc. etc.

So now I'm here for another year, which isn't so bad because I really do like this school and my colleagues and my principal.

However, no matter how much I tried not to get my hopes up that I would get the job and we would be moving to (quieter, slower, less thumpy-thumpy) Oregon this summer, I had, and now I'm feeling rather let down.

My mother put it very well, that obviously the Universe has something Much Better in store for me. So instead of being Eeyore I should be a little more Pollyanna.

Yet, HARUMPH, I say! HARUMPH!!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

FACE

Anonymous Midwest Girl now has a face to go with her namelessness. I'm tripping, well, because nameless and faceless seems a bit easier to deal with than only nameless but with a face. Whatever.

In other news, I got officially fingerprinted again yesterday and my prints have been electronically transmitted to both the FBI and the DOJ. This costs over $70, and why? Just because I want to change my name on my flipping teacher credential, which I could do for less cost when I renew - BUT, I've applyed for a job in Oregon and am applying for an Oregon teacher's license, so I want everything to be in the free and clear and no mistakes about who the heck I am. SHEESH!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Body in Oakland, Mind in Oregon

When I get a chance to sit down at my computer for 30 seconds these days, I'm going to The ODOT Cottage Grove Cam. Basically, it just shows a view of I-5 about 2 miles south of Cottage Grove, OR. Where we want to move to.

Out of the mouths of babes

This morning, my husband started singing that old Mr. Rogers theme: "It's such a good feeling/to know you're alive/It's such a happy feeling/you're growing inside/and when you wake up happy to say/I'm going to make a snappy new day..." I joined in, we had a big musical number finish, and then the almost-9-year-old son pipes in:

"Is that the Beatles?"

Well, I'm comforted that he knows who the Beatles were, anyway. But it shows a serious lack of good parenting on our parts that he doesn't know who Mr. Rogers was.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Now I'll believe anything

KIROTV.com - Weird Headlines - Oregon McDonald's Calling Drive Thru Orders To North Dakota

So, you drive up to the order speaker thing - and you're talking to a minimum-wage worker half the country away, which undercuts your own state's minimum wage laws and saves the company $2 an hour. As if McDonald's hadn't already sunk low enough.

Thanks to this blogger who called it to my attention.

Sen. Clinton's frank talk on abortion

Joan Ryan's column from the SF Chron: Sen. Clinton's frank talk on abortion.

Go, Hillary, Go!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Come See Our Brutal Democracy / Freedom rings in Iraq! Bush was right all along! American wins! Or, you know, not

Come See Our Brutal Democracy / Freedom rings in Iraq! Bush was right all along! American wins! Or, you know, not

Cost of War

The brutal accounting: Cost of War

Random: No Citizen Left Behind

Check out this suggestion of government reform following the "No Child Left Behind" model.

Advertising?

So, whilst schlepping around the interweb this morning, I came across a link from Google, promising revenue if you allow advertisers or searching from your site.

Way ethical issue for me.

On the one hand, I'm a middle school teacher. My income was cut by 4% last year. I'm supporting a family of four, and the only reason that we can squeak through is that my husband takes in a colleague's baby for daycare while he is staying at home with our daughter, and I do tutoring on the side.

So, the thought of any extra income at all is very tempting.

But then I started thinking about how dishonest it would be to be trying to get my friends to visit my blog (or how even more dishonest it would be to put up the links on my teacher website) and be not-so-secretly hoping that they would click on the ads so that I would get a check every month (The rules of the advertising agreement stipulate that you may not a)click on your own ads and b)put anything on your site that would encourage others to just click on the ads to generate revenue).

I got the application half filled out anyway.

Then I started thinking about how my friends would probably not click on any advertising anyway - See, my friends are way too sophisticated for that. So it occured to me that I would be opening up my blog to being monitored by some schmuck at Google, and it wouldn't really get me any extra money anyway.

So I closed the application window.

I'm still thinking about it, though. What about starting a new blog, and inviting hits by lots of "d00d, herez where the gurlz are" type of posts?

Just a thought.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Anonymous Midwest Girl

Part of this whole blogging "thing" is that I am constantly browsing other folks' blogs. This one looks pretty cool: Anonymous Midwest Girl. Somebody with a sense of humour! She obviously doesn't have kids, since she has so much time to write.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A response to another blog about baby "gear"

I recently read a blog posting from another user about going to Babys 'r' Us and seeing all the nuevo "gear" (crib entertainers, baby monitors, baby wipe warmers, etc.) that so many consumers are convinced they need in order to raise a baby.
Here's my response:

The best part about all of that "gear" is that, as you have observed, most of it is totally unnecessary. I was a new mother on a severe budget almost two years ago. We found that the only essentials were: the car seat (otherwise you're stuck at home), the sling to carry baby in ($30 and we're still using it with the same almost-two-year-old), and the diaper service or just the diapers and diaper covers.

Everything we started with was donated to us by other parents except for the sling. By "everything" I mean a changing table, clothes and a few toys.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Pangolins

This is for all of you who ask me what a pangolin is.

Definitely one of the world's weirder creatures.

Set Daily Puzzle

Set Daily Puzzle

This site has become one of my newest obsessions. My friend Wendy sent me the card game, Set, for Christmas. Ever since then I have to do the daily puzzle - It's a fun brain-stimulator first thing in the morning. Like mental yoga.

Friday, January 21, 2005

They need to go dormant

Testing...testing...I'm the last person in the world to think I would ever have a blog. But here goes. My inspiration is Marnie, woman of words.