Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Number One Daughter

I wish I could dress myself with the same flair and élan as my daughter:

This picture was taken last Sunday, when it was so sunny and bright and COLD, and we rode the Fern Ridge bike path out to the west end. We could see the snow on the Cascades over the foothills.

On another note, whoever it was who gave us the book If You Give a Pig a Party: Thank you! It is now number two on my favorite books to read list (just under One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish). I don't remember the book showing up in our house, I'm so sorry, but we've been reading it every night. It's wonderful.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The only time I really regret moving all the way up here is when I start thinking about how far away we've moved from some of the best friends I've ever had.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ice, baby

We're having a cold and dry fall up here. The cold has brought out the bright colors in the trees, and every day I can see from my classroom window and on my ride to and from work bright yellows and reds contrasting with the dark green evergreens. Why is the sky so much bluer in the fall? Is it the angle of the sun? Or is it that, combined with how bright the fall colors are against the sky? Whatever it is, it is beautiful, though everybody up here is telling me that it is so unusual to be having this dry a fall.

The temperatures outside at night have gone down to the 20's the past couple of nights. This morning was the first time that my face actually *hurt* from the cold. There was ice on the bike path and in the creek, and frost covering everything and making the world white and sparkly. The sun was out, too, due partially to the time change and partially to the fact that there was no ground fog this morning. We get these ground-hugging tule fogs here, which are neat because of the way they absorb sound. Everything is muffled visually and audially on those mornings.

The rear brake on my bike froze on the way to work this morning. I know it was working when I set out from home, but there's a long stretch where I'm on the bike path and don't need brakes usually. When I got to the first surface level street I tried to stop for a car and found out I only had a front brake. Almost fell off the bike.

I haven't heard from some of my friends down south in a while, so LINDA, where are you? And VOLTAIRE has disappeared into the Phillipines and has not blogged in a while. HELLO??? Is there anyone out there???

Monday, October 23, 2006

Loose Ladies

Here is the Puzzle Pirates portrait of Marmy, Wimby, and Toothi (me).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Youth and resiliency

I was sitting at my desk, reading the SF Chronicle online and feeling depressed about this article, and this one, and this one...My office is right next to the second story to the gym, and suddenly I heard Michael Jackson's Thriller coming from there, very loudly. I went in and stood on the 2nd story track, and watch a group of about 20 students, some of them mine, dancing a choreographed and barely learned cute dance together, to that song.

They were adorable. It was wonderful.

Monday, September 25, 2006

AND FINALLY... update.

I am in heaven.

My job is Fantastic. While my classes are crowded (I have something like 170 students, total), I'm having a blast. It's a little bit of an adjustment, working to the high-school crowd, but I'm working with it. The staff is awesome, and get this...

From our new house I have a 3-mile commute to work. I've been riding my bike, since we're on the Fern Ridge Bike Path. The bike path runs along Amazon Creek.

It's wonderful.

There's a pair of Great Blue Herons who I see almost every day, standing in the creek, fishing. And there's always ducks. OH, and nutria (blech, but there's got to be some downer, right?). But almost every day, I get the high of having either ducks or a heron taking off or landing in the creek right along side of me. This morning the two herons were flying right alongside me - They crossed the path from left to right, then from right to left...good thing they were a little ahead of me by then, because one of them let out a bit SPLAT right across the path on the way over.

Number One Daughter has figured out that she can go to the park almost any time she asks, because we're right next to it. And she met another girl, who is just her age, who lives just on the other side of the park. And her dad stays at home with her, so House Bean has somebody to hang out with, also.

So in other words, I seem to have the life I've always wanted. Everything seems to be just right. And I feel like the Universe is saying to me, Well, are you going to be happy, now? Because here's all you said you needed.

I am.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Updates coming soon...

...but suffice to say, we closed on the house we bought. I now very briefly own two houses.

I have lots of pictures from the past couple of weeks that I would like to publish here, but the next few days are going to be pretty hectic. I'll get to it eventually.

In the meantime I have to call: floor people, locksmith, EWEB.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jumping on the boob bandwagon

All the controversy over the BabyTalk Magazine cover has sparked a response from Mommy Bloggers who are posting their photos of Real BreastFeeding (see Jen's blog). I dug into my electronic photo album and found this picture, which was taken in January when my son was just a couple of weeks old, and my daughter was two-and-a-half:
The title for the photo is "Earth Mother."

So many people (women!) wrote into the magazine to complain about how "disgusting" their cover photo was. What?! Now I guess I can say I've been lucky. I've breastfed almost everywhere I've gone with my babies, including standing in the checkout line at Trader Joe's (when my daughter was an infant - I wore her in her sling and she fed right through the checkwriting and all). Nobody has ever said anything to me about it, and it's a darned good thing, too, because they certainly would get an earful about infant care.

Thanks, Jen, for posting.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Best Day Ever

I got the job.

Remember, the one where I felt like crap after I left the interview? I was certain I wasn't going to get it.

But I did.

And Number One Daughter, she's really starting to swim. She still hangs on, but she's starting to use her arms and let her face get under the water.

And I met some really cool people at the pool.

And this is a really beautiful town.

Oh, and my friend (and former colleague from Oakland) Voltaire has a blog up: Voltaire's Travels. I'm ever so slightly envious of him, but I'm glad he's having a good time too.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Eugene: Week Six, or Whatever Happened to Week Five?

We were taking swimming lessons during Week Five, that is what. And the week just sort of slipped away. Towards the end of that week I got a phone call from a principal for another job interview. Then we heard that the weekend was going to be murderously hot, so we opted to drive out to my parents' place on the coast for the weekend. I spent much of our time there working on The Gnome House, a photo of which I will post when it is done.

This picture is for Jess, because I told her about the house here that has the front yard all in sunflowers. I took this picture last week and I haven't been by since, but I'll try to in the next couple of days:

At some point during the week I took a long bike ride BY MYSELF, and rode out to the Dream House. Along the way I discovered a community garden, right on the bike path and not far from the new house. Note to Jess: See the TALL FENCE around the garden? There's a LOCK on it to keep Park Urchins out:

There also appears to be a little play area, located right behind the compost bins in that first picture.

While we were out at the coast we got word that there was an offer on our house in Oakland, a good offer. We were, of course, pretty pleased about it (though I was at first trepidatious about the buyer). We spent the first part of the week signing various counter offers and faxing back and forth, and then on Wednesday - Dreary, dreary Wednesday - we learned that the buyer had backed out, cold feet or something. I say dreary Wednesday because that was also the day of my interview, and I felt so horrible afterwards. I just don't feel that I come across well in interviews. I have a very difficult time thinking of the responses that I need in order to sound competent and not like a bumbling idiot. How can I possibly communicate the sum of my teaching experience and knowledge in 45 minutes to total strangers? So Wednesday was bad, bad, bad. However, on Wednesday, Number Two Son produced two more teeth, the top two in front, thereby doubling his number of teeth in one day.

If you've ever been to Eugene, you know that Spencer Butte is visible to the south of town from just about anywhere. Here is the view of it we have when we're walking to the park from the place we're renting:

And here is the top of the bike/ped trail that leads down to the park from the top:

See the intrepid squash plant in the foreground? Methinks that's a community compost pile.

On Friday, I got a phone call from the principal from the school where I interviewed, telling me he has nothing to tell me yet. Hmmmmmm. But he doesn't want me to feel forgotten.

Today, Number One Daughter started another swim class, which she will be in this week and next.

And today finished with us receiving another offer on our house, one that seems MUCH better than the last one which fell through. ...Keep on Truckin' ...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An open letter to Amtrak

I just got on your website today to look up how much it would cost me to take my 3-year old daughter up to Portland to the zoo. I thought it would be fun to take the train and make a day of it. I was appalled to find that the round trip would cost over $60! Those prices are no way to encourage those of us who have cars to take the train as an alternative for short trips.

The distance between Eugene and Portland is approximately 111 miles. According to my calculations, in our moderately fuel-efficient car I would spend about $22 in gasoline, and that would take me straight to the zoo's parking lot (That's using a gas price of $3/gallon). Even if I were driving an SUV, with 14MPG, my fuel costs would still be around $40. So why should I take the train?

My prediction is that the gas prices are only going to go up. If they went up to $17/gallon, at your current pricing, the trip to Portland on the train would be worth it. But that will not be soon.

My advice to you, Amtrak, is to bring the prices down on the relatively local trips. They could be your cash crop - Right now you need something to pry people out of the convenience of taking their cars. If I got 1/2 price on the return fare, I'd take it, and that's not even being generous.

To sum it up: Cut those fares in half and agressively market the change. Make the changes convenient. I'm willing to be your customer, but I (and most of us in this economy) just can't afford it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

At the Pool

OK, folks have been reminding me to bring the camera places, so today I brought it to the kids' swim lesson.

(Note, all these pictures were taken in the space of time between the family swim session and the general recreation swim that starts at 2pm, so that's why there's nobody in the pools)

The 2 to 3 foot pool, where the two little ones have their swim lesson. That's the way cool waterslide behind it:
Here's the other little kid's pool:
The sand play area:

This is the area in between the sandbox and the mini-pool. You can see the really shallow baby play area (and my daughter) in this shot:

Almost ready to go home:

Ready to go home:

And finally, one small piece of evidence of why this is a kooky town:


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wrap up to Eugene: Week Four or, Take me to the River

Here's the Medium and Small, this morning:

Then, House Bean and Large came home and said they'd found a swimming hole, so off we went.

This is Mt. Pisgah, from the road - We were driving to it's base. Mt. Pisgah is just on the other side of I-5 from town:
Small really likes riding in the backpack:

Here's the swimming hole itself, a section of the North Fork of the Willamette. Large is one of the blobs on the far bank:This is what House Bean (and Small) did for most of the afternoon - He really did have fun, despite the scowl:

And finally (and this one is for Jessica), here is Medium playing in the water. See how she's crouched over? She's probably taking that monster shit that I discovered leaking out the side of her diaper right after I took this picture. HAZMAT!!!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Eugene: Week Four

It taking me so long to get to posting Week Two, I thought I would get a jump on Week Four...

I'm still chanting, "Job, job, job..." This week I put together applications for two jobs at U of O, plus found a position open at Bethel School District and put an application in there. These took up a lot of time; the applications for the University jobs required short answers to at least four questions each, and I was really amazed at how long it took to write the responses. Then tweak the cover letter, save application, letter, and responses as PDF's on my flash drive, go to Staples to print everything out...I did that on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Tuesday having been the day in which I rode my bike down to the U of O to check out the job listings in person rather than on the web.

Saturday I got to have a Wonderful Weekend Day, the exact type that I moved here to Eugene to have. The whole famdamnly, we got on our bikes this morning and rode downtown to the Saturday Market, truly the best place to be on a wonderful day like today.* We got down there and I thought, once again, darn it, I forgot to bring my camera again to share with those of you who read my blog. If enough folks, all five or so of you who read this, post comments here and urge me to bring my camera, then maybe I'll remember it next week. At the market we got Number Two Son a couple of cute onesies, one with a skull and crossbones and one that says "I love boobs" (Had to get that last one), and Wayne did our produce shopping. There are so many lovely things at the Saturday Market, I walked around and picked out a lot of things to try and acquire later, when we're settled and HAVE AN INCOME (Again, I can take pictures next week...).

After the market, we rode our bikes over the Willamette River on the DeFazio Bike Bridge, and watched a Bald Eagle fly off with a nice big fish it had just picked out of the river. We stopped and threw some rocks in the river (Well, Number Two Son tried to eat some rocks), then rode along the north shore bike path to the Autzen Bike Bridge, and back home, making a short detour at Sundance Market for some other items.

It was, in all, a most enjoyable day, and I'm hoping to have many more like it in the years to come.

*Oh, and here's the Note on the Weather: For much of this week it was Grey, such a grey that I was reminded, a little, of the planet of Krikkit in HHGTTG. We had some drizzle during the day (and it was WARM), but the only time it rained was at night. Then, for the past couple of days, it was grey until about, oh, say 2:30 in the afternoon, and then it cleared up into brilliantly sunny and warm. It really reminds me a lot of the weather in Santa Cruz, only down there you wouldn't have the rain at night bringing in the fresh smell of wet leaves (it would be the coastal fog bringing in the salty fresh bay smell).

P.S. Kid update: Number Two Son has been sitting up on his own for about two or three weeks now, and can roll himself over quite proficiently from back to front (when he inevitably flops over from sitting - he can't prop himself up yet). He's squirming around quite a bit on his tummy and trying to get himself up on hands and feet/knees - He gets quite upset while trying to do this because he's still not quite strong enough to support himself and he's frustrated. We're to the point where we can't leave him alone in the middle of the king-sized bed because he'll work his way right to the edge and squirm off if left alone (No, mom, he hasn't actually done that. But he came close.).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Eugene: Week Three

Last Sunday I was at Amazon Park with my daughter and The Baby when I got a phone call from a principal at a school here in Eugene about interviewing me for a position. This was very exciting because I had not had any calls yet. The interview was set for Thursday morning. House-bean and Number One Son had left for Oakland, to take care of some business related to finishing the work on our house preparatory to putting it on the market, and were expected back on Wednesday. The upshot of it all is: They got back late late late Wednesday night, I got to my interview ok and thought they liked me, and on Thursday afternoon we met with a realtor and I met my Dream House.

We decided on Thursday evening to make an offer on Dream House. This was risky; our house hasn't sold yet and I still didn't have a job - but was hoping for a job offer very soon. On Friday we met with the realtor and signed all the papers for the offer...and headed off to the Oregon Country Fair, which if you haven't ever been to, you really should go. We had a wonderful and exhausting time at the fair. On Saturday morning we learned that our offer had been accepted on Dream House. On Monday, we met with The Money Lady to apply for our High Risk, No Doc, Bridge Loan. SCARY STUFF. And right after I got out of the Money Lady meeting, I got the phone call telling me that I was not going to be offered the job.

So, ending the week excited about the house, scared about not having a job, and frantically searching and applying for SOMETHING. I'm pulling together applications for jobs at U of O, and have submitted applications for a couple of jobs with City of Eugene. Something will turn up. Everybody chant with me: SOMETHING WILL TURN UP. I WILL HAVE A JOB SOON.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Eugene: Week Two (Part 2)

Of course, it now being near the end of Week 3, and I'm finally getting around to posting the rest of Week 2; Och, life. Week Two went like this: Oh crap oh crap oh crap. Need a job. Need to sell our house. Money. Och. Oy. In other words, reality started to settle in. House Bean was on the phone constantly with the folks doing the work on our house, and trying to get ahold of our listing agent, who is a pretty effective saleswoman but she seems to keep forgetting that it is she who is working for us. House Bean had known that he would have to head back down to finish things up, and he left at the end of the week taking Number One Son with him. In the meantime, I put in applications for several non-teaching jobs, and got registered with Lane County as a substitute teacher in the event that I am not offered a position by this fall. House Bean also bought me a bicycle, and we bought a Burley trailer. Number One Son spent a lot of time at the pool, so we didn't see him much.

Coming soon: Week Three, or, how I learned to stop worrying and just say, "To hell with it."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A few thoughts on Independence Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:


For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.


A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.


We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


What ever happened to those cool sparklers we got when we were kids, anyway? The ones on a wire that would get good and hot but you could really whip those suckers around. And they sparkled, dammit, all around in all directions and not just shooting out the tip. These namby-pamby "safe" sparklers are just another example of why our whole watered-down world is going to hell in a handbasket. Harumph.

Young kids today, they just don't know.

Husband, Come Home

Because by golly, this is what we've come to:

And it's Teletubbies, too.

Eugene: Week Two (Part 1)

On Sunday, I hitched our new Burley to the back of my new bike and took the kids down to Amazon Park for the afternoon. We live on a hill, and I haven't ridden a bike since we moved to Oakland in 2001 - but I made it back ok. The new bike gears down really well. I was sore on Monday, but I hitched the Burley to the back of the bike again and away we went - This time for a brief stop at the park, and then downtown to the library. What was really cool is that for much of the ride downtown I was on bike only paths or bicycle-designated streets.

Today I was *really* sore.

So, I decided not to ride the bike today, to take it easy. I thought I would put the kids in the wagon and go for a walk down to the park. Only once we were there, I looked at the map and decided to walk a little farther, to another park we had not been to. It turned out to be much farther away than I was planning to walk. Did I mention that we live on a hill?

I have more to write about Week Two, but right now I need to fall face down on the carpet and not move for a while. I'll be the one with the neglected kids crawling all over me.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Eugene: Week One

And what a week it has been. Last Friday my father arrived in Oakland to (he thought) drive the truck up to Eugene. He worked all morning on Saturday taking apart our neighbor's swing set (which we were going to take) and then the rest of Saturday on various other packing and moving projects, bless his heart. On Sunday Number One Husband picked up our moving truck and everybody's first, second, and third thoughts were, "Oh jeez, no way is that truck big enough for all that crap." Stubborness, or stupidity, prevailed and my father and our friends Evan and Kenny spent all day playing the puzzle of how to best pack the truck. They did an amazing job and managed to get almost all our crap into the truck. By the end of the day, it was very clear that the truck was stuffed to the gills, there was still lots of miscellaneous crap lying around which wasn't even packed (what is it with all the stuff that just won't go into boxes? Or won't fit into any other box's category?) and that my husband needed to stick around to do a final crap sweep and come up later. (There's a little bit more to the story, something involving a camper we were going to buy and eventually didn't, which is too sordid to detail here.) I grabbed the baby, the toddler, our suitcases and the breast pump and drove to Santa Cruz to spend the night at Geo and Jess's house. My dad, being somewhat stubborn and definitely crazy, opted to skip sleep and to leave Sunday night for Eugene. With Number One Cat in the truck. More on that later.

Jessica, bless her wonderful dear sweet heart, had agreed to drive up to Eugene with me to help with the kids (see husband driving separately, above). I was pretty stressed out and had a hard time sleeping that night, and Number One Daughter had a rough night, also - It was clear she was also feeling stress about her world being rocked. She was incredibly restless all night, I had to get her a snack at about 1:30, and she didn't get back to sleep until close to 3am. However, the alarm on my Palm Pilot did not go off at 4am as it was supposed to (it hasn't been working lately, not sure what I did to deserve that). Jess woke me up close to 6:30 and we managed to get on the road between 7 and 7:30 - Several hours later than planned, but still within reason.

Our drive was uneventful, thank heavens (except for the crazy meth-head driver who passed us on the right shoulder in Scott's Valley - Farther up Hwy 17 traffic slowed down because of an accident and yes, it turned out that he had hit someone). The kids did really well and it was fantastic being on a road trip with such a good friend. We stopped in Medford to let the Toddler get her ya-yas out at a playground, and rolled into Eugene at around 9pm. We stopped at a market to get some food, and went straight to the house we are subletting. No truck, no dad, and one of the people who lives here was still here - "I thought you were coming in tomorrow..." Hey, no problem, we are.

I found out, when I called my mom (and after she chewed me out for not keeping in touch whilst on the road, sorry mom but we were driving and didn't think of it and we would have had to stop to call because there wasn't any cell coverage for much of the way) that my dad was at a Motel 6 with my cat who needed, well, cat maintenance, so back we went to the market for cat maintenance items and then to the Motel 6 to pick up their last two rooms and sleep it off.

Tuesday morning myself, dad, and Jess all got to the house and dad and I unloaded the truck while Jess watched the kids. Husband and Number One Son showed up with Number Two Cat in the early evening, and there was more unloading of trucks and careful stacking and storing of boxes and furniture. We've managed to store all of our crap in the shed and part of the living room here, and we've only unpacked clothes, some toys and a couple of kitchen items (this is, after all, a household of grad students). Jess left on Thursday.

We're still getting the house and our stuff organized so we can live here for the next ten or so weeks. It has been hard to do that because Eugene is just such a darned cool place to be - There is so much to do here to bring the kids to. On Friday we saw this guy do a fantastic show at the public library as part of the summer reading program, and I signed the kids up for swimming and the Toddler for soccer later in the summer. We're getting set up for bicycling (bought a Burley) and I'm pursuing some job leads. And the weather is gorgeous.

The Eagle has landed

Quick note for those who haven't heard from us personally: We've landed in Eugene and we're LOVING it. Our sublet is comfortable and in a great neighborhood, we're figuring out the bus system and finding our way around. We've got a slight problem in that there are so many activities to take the children to, that we haven't been able to concentrate on some other things we should be doing (like organizing our boxes). More later--

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Here is Number One Daughter at her very own third birthday party. Notice that Jess brought her the world's most pink and sparkly tiara.

It was a beautiful Bay Area summer day, meaning cold, foggy, and threatening rain...but we perservered and managed to have the party at the park nevertheless. Everybody shivered along, and the sun made a couple of brief appearances.

Here's my daughter socializing with my Future Son-in-Law:

Voted Cutest Couple.

Then Kenny put on the tiara...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why did it have to be *today*????

Five years ago, when I started my first teaching job in August, I bought an electric tea kettle to keep in my classroom. Every morning, and sometimes in the afternoon, I make tea for myself. I've been doing this every day I've taught.

Today, with seven school days left in the last school year I will teach in Oakland, seven school days when I REALLY need the tea more than ever, my electric tea kettle died.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A thought or two

The second best part about absentee voting is that when they come to your door asking you to vote for whatever candidate or issue you can say to them that you've already voted.

I won't be playing The Game for a week. Time to take a break.

First packing-related breakdown today

"Why in hell do we have all this stuff?!?!?!"

"Do we really have to pack all this junk?????"

"I'm throwing all of this crap away!!!!!!!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

It's Friday

...and that means (1) no dealing with Other People's Kids tomorrow OR the next day*, and (2) Puzzle Pirating tonight until I drop.

*Other People's Kids (OPK) refers to the student variety, and not to the kind that are or will be friends of My Own Kids (MOK) and may hang out with us at any given time. Those are known as Kids' Friends (KF). OPK are occasionally known as OPB.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I came home one day from work and there was a six and a half foot tall black man doing Elvis Presley impersonations in my living room. Not a total stranger, somebody I know, my friend Kenny. Children's entertainer, clown, all around funny and great guy.

Some years ago I had a friend who was about the same height and was a big old white guy from Canada. He did a REALLY GOOD Sammy Davis, Jr. impersonation. But I'm not in touch with him anymore.

Too bad I can't introduce them and have them do a show together.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Addictive Personalities

My husband and I have become addicted, of late, to this game. This game has become the topic of most of our conversations. This game has led to in-house rivalry. This game has us to the point where we are having to make rules about when we are allowed to play this game, because we really ought to pay attention to our children once in a while. This game has led me to look up the signs of addiction, and I found this on a web site:
  • The early signs of addiction include using a drug or process to relieve stress, becoming preoccupied with a substance or process, increasing intake of a drug or use of a process, and experiencing negative consequences because of use of a drug or participation in an addictive process (

Relieve stress, aye. Preoccupied, aye. Increasing use, aye.

Negative consequences? Not yet. Well, the kids are still alive. But when is enough enough? But the other morning when I momentarily considered staying home from work, because I was so tired from staying up until 11:30pm playing - Well, I got a little worried. I thought, if I stay home, it would be an excuse to play more, you see, and I don't really have a good reason to stay home in the first place. So after mentally rebuking myself for even considering sleeping in, I dragged my sorry self out of bed.

When is enough enough? Is it negative to all of a sudden decide to buy a new computer, because it will run this game faster and better? Of course, I'm justifying it by saying that I did have my birthday money there, and I can also write it off on taxes because I'll be using it primarily for work. But would we have spent the money otherwise? Well, I really was due for a new computer, wasn't I?

Friday, May 19, 2006


I learned today, after working on a geometry unit with my 7th grade math class for the past three weeks, that the radii of a circle are all *arcs*, and that an equilateral triangle has *four* sides.

These were answers to multiple choice questions.

According to the California 7th grade mathematics standards, I'm supposed to be teaching them to calculate surface area and volume of simple geometrical solids. How can I do that when they won't even TRY to remember how many sides a triangle has?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good grief!!!!

It has been a month. And when I say that it should be in capital letters like this: It has been A MONTH. First Ruthie got pneumonia (one night in the ER). Then the baby got some kind of viral lung infection compounded by a bacterial infection (a bunch of doctor's visits culminating in a night spent at Children's Hospital for both of us). Then it was spring break and we went to Oregon to look at houses in Eugene and visit my parents. Then we came back and I had a really busy week getting ready for a strike that didn't happen.

And I'm exhausted.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I adore her style...

My daughter picked out her outfit this morning:

Camo pants and pink mary janes: Just you and me, punk rock girl!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

It doesn't get much better than this...

The husband and Number One Son are away for the weekend. This morning, Charlie woke up sometime between 5 and 5:30 to be fed. I woke up with a headache, which I had actually been feeling coming on all night. So, in between breasts (for Charlie, I mean), I got up and rooted around and found the Excedrin Migraine, which had an expiration date of 1/2006, but what the hell anyway. So I took two of them, and when Charlie was done eating he fell back to sleep. I lied there in bed with him on my chest, Ruthanne snuggled up next to me. The headache started to recede, the caffeine kicked in (euphoria! Pain relief!), and since I at that point could not get back to sleep I watched it get lighter and listened to my children breathing. Ruthanne must have been dreaming something, because she kept kind of panting and then giving a little toddler sigh. Charle has outgrown that newborn apnea (thank heavens, the kind that makes it hard for new parents to get any sleep - Is he going to start breathing again?) and was breathing regular little breaths up under my chin. I stayed like that for an hour, just enjoying being there and loving my kids, before I my bottomless stomach compelled me to get up in search of oatmeal.

Monday, February 13, 2006

We're BACK!

Blogging about the trip to Salt Lick City will follow. In the meantime, here's a picture of a fantastic anti-war billboard* we saw in Elko, NV:
*We do suspect that the Knights of Columbus did not intend this to be an anti-war advertisement.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Defective Yet - He shoots, he scores!

Please please please go read this Bush/Iraq parody of the old Zork/Adventure game at Defective Yeti's blog!

Make sure you read some of the comments, where more is added.

That sure took me back.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Baby's first mugshot

Here's a few pictures from yesterday. First of all, we have Charlie's very first mugshot. Doesn't he look like he should be holding a little placard with numbers in front of himself?
Notice how he's all broken out again with baby acne. It's so depressing when your cute little newborn turns into a pimply teenager in the course of three weeks. "Don't we even get soccer practice in between there somewhere?"

Next, we have Baby's First Paparazzi shot. "No press! No press!"
Finally, we have a blackmail photo of Number One Daughter. "You used to love doing them when you were little!"

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I started January, following the birth of Number Two Son, with a total of 19 sick and personal days saved up from my job at Oakland Unified. My sick and personal leave runs out on February 2. I finally got around to exploring my "options" for taking more time off. I thought I would be claiming disability (2/3 pay, right?). Turns out that OUSD doesn't pay into it. Options? This makes me sick: After my paid leave runs out, OUSD will still send a paycheck, but they will deduct the cost of my substitute teacher from it, to the tune of $111.05 a day for the first 14 days (then it goes up).

This takes my monthly paycheck down to little more than half its usual amount.

What galls me the most about this is that OUSD still hasn't gotten around to hiring my chosen substitute. She's a saint; she has been going in and teaching anyway (with the district hired sub in the room for legality). She's been in my classroom as a volunteer since September, so she was the obvious best choice for the kids. She knows the curriculum and the students. But she hasn't been able to do the correct flips and rolls the district requires in jumping through its hoops. The result? I've been paying her out of pocket *anyway* in order to retain her. Less than the sub rate, but still. She's a good person and good people should be rewarded, and she is doing me (no, not me, the kids) a tremendous favour.

But I'm getting shafted by the district both coming and going. So is she.

I spoke to the House Bean and he supports my decision to stay out for longer time. I'll take most of February off and we'll dip into the last little speck of my inheritance (Thanks, Grandma) to pay the difference. After all, Charlie is only going to be a baby for this very short time. And I'll be done with OUSD in five months*.

*Mostly done. The sucky thing about being a teacher (well, #45 on the list) is that every time I apply to a district for a job FOR THE REST OF MY CAREER is that I'll have to get a verification from OUSD for the time I spent teaching here. And for that they can suck my big stinky toe.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

He's cute, alright

And it's a good thing he is cute because this afternoon he Puked. All. Over. Me. and. the. BED.

Baby, Be of Use!

This by way of my friend Jessica:

"Too many of us allow our infant sons and daughters to lay about
idly: napping, drinking milk and whatnot. Why not put them to work?
Baby, Be of Use is a series of instructional board books aimed at
teaching your precious little angels to be useful, at long last. Tots
will be entranced by the shapes and colors, all the while learning
how to mix a variety of basic cocktails (Baby, Mix Me a Drink) and
concoct a simple breakfast (Baby, Make Me Breakfast). Baby, Be of Use
is an essential purchase for expectant parents, harried mothers,
hungry fathers, and overly involved grandparents."

I'm incredibly flattered!

Jen has done me the incredible honour of blogging about Charlie and how cute he is. Thanks!

So, in the spirit of selling even more insulin, here's the picture from this morning of Number One Daughter holding Number Two Son. That's about the biggest smile I've ever seen in my life. I didn't get a picture of her reading to him, but that's probably a good thing because I don't want to be held responsible.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Week and a half update and I Must Taunt Dooce

Charlie has become a sleepin', nursin', poopin' pro. He's a perfect baby. Our day is not complete without at least one Total Diaper Blowout, involving many, many wipies and cries of "HAZMAT! Containment!" from at least one parent. As of last Saturday, that is five days after his birth, he had regained his birth weight, so it was all uphill from there. And boy, does he ever eat. As a matter of fact, he needs to learn to pace himself. After every other feeding he erupts a couple of mouthfuls of breastmilk and then looks around drunkenly.

Number One Daughter is adjusting to the changes. She's reverted to the bottle and we've temporarily given up on serious potty training, she's also been rather more needy of being held lately. She's also totally and completely in love with her baby brother. She's such a mom, what I really worry about is her trying to pick up Charlie when I've set him down.

Now for the Taunting Dooce part.

Heather, you've told us all about your and your daughter's poop habits and various other scatological details. However, you have neglected to share something else that I *know* must bge going on. Your daughter is seven months younger than mine. My daughter, whenever her diaper is off, has both hands between her legs and is working away down there, a three-mile wide grin on her face. Oh, she's discovered her happy place, all right. If she's wearing a disposable diaper, she'll even reach through the elastic to go at it. Between that at my baby son getting a stiffie whenever he gets his diaper changed, well, we have interesting times here.

So come on, Dooce, spill the beans! This must be happening in your household, also! I cannot believe otherwise. You're not letting that Mormon upbringing hold you back, are you?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Developmental stages - a living example

Ruthie is 2 1/2, LucyBeck is 1.
Ruthie is playing with the train track. LucyBeck is playing with THE BOX.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Baby at Last!


Jessica here, posting on behalf of a much relieved Mommy Alpha! William Charles Wilson arrived in the wee hours of the morning, in the midst of a big Bay Area rain storm. Though the days leading up to his birth were challenging, Alpha's actual labor went very quickly -- they left for the hospital around 1:30am, and the little guy arrived on the scene at 2:15am! I got to hold him briefly this afternoon, and he's healthy and strong, and wonderfully quiet and secure. Mama and Baby are expected home from the hospital this evening or possibly tomorrow morning. Pictures, I am sure, will be forthcoming soon!

William Charles Wilson
Born: 1/2/06, 2:15am
Weight: 7lbs, 14oz.
Length: 20.5 inches