Saturday, October 25, 2008

October yard

Things are still blooming here in sunny California. (Aren't you jealous?)

I don't know what this is but we have an abundance of these bushes growing in our backyard.

Perfect Halloween color.

And the hummingbirds and bees really dig it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hoop Dreams

Congratulations Bob and Jen on bringing Lorelei Elizabeth into the world! (Did I spell her name right?)

You know what this means, don't you? Five nephews. Five nieces. Full court, 5 on 5 basketball action! Nieces vs. Nephews!

Dad, see if you can reserve the high school gym for some time around 2016. I'll coach the girls and Bobby will take on the boys.

I think MacKenzie is going to be our outside shooting threat. And Alex will DOMINATE under the basket. Sarah will use her height to be a good power forward and Jenna will be our star ball handler and point guard. Not sure about Lorelei yet, but at 9 lbs 2 oz, it's looking promising.

Girls, now is the time to start preparing!

Susan, have Sarah do at least 100 free throws a day. And no more pillows on her bed - she sleeps only with basketballs every night!

Maureen, it's never too early to start slipping some human growth hormone (or other "nutritional supplements") into your daughters' breakfast cereal. (Come on! Think of the team!)

Patti, we'll have to recruit you to work against the boys team. Have Ryan take up smoking, so we can stunt his growth. And no more milk for Nathan - all that calcium for strong bones can only work against us.

And I think it is important to cut out this Hannah Montana nonsense entirely. Instead, the girls will watch only classic Celtic Lakers games from the Larry Bird era.

We'll start with the conditioning drills when I come home for Christmas.

Come on girls! We can do it! The boys team doesn't have a chance!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

2 out of 3

I went again to volunteer at the children's center tonight. Once again it was NOT the chaotic mess that it was the first time. I am so happy about that.

The little boy who I played with last time was still there. We started to play the same game as last time, but he moved on quickly to more exciting things. (That game was soooo last week.)

I spent a lot of time tonight with a bright 6-year-old girl. She was soft spoken, but warmed up after a while. We talked during snack time and she told me she wanted to be a Princess for Halloween. I told her that she was just selling out to mainstream society's idea that women can only be helpless, beautiful creatures who have to wait around to be saved by their Prince Charming. I told her to smarten up and stop believing that twisted fairy tale that will never come true.

Of course I didn't say that.

She asked me what I was going to be for Halloween. I said that I hadn't thought about it. She smiled and said, "A Princess?" I said, "Sure!" Then she closed her eyes and said, "I am seeing you in my brain." She was imagining me as a Princess.

Later we read books together. She wasn't so interested in the story but always wanted to know the names of everyone on the page. She also wanted to know how to spell my name and then looked for each letter on the page. We read a Barbie book and I pointed out how freakishly skinny the Barbies were and how it sets up young girls to have a distorted view of their own body image and unrealistic expectations about what normal size is. (No. I didn't.)

She told me she misses her sister. I told her that I'm sure her sister misses her too.

When it was time to go she hugged me and I told her that I had fun reading with her and that she was really good at colors (one of the books was about colors.) What a sweet child.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

too much free time

The internet is just amazing. So many different ways to waste time. Here's a quiz I took which tells me who I would be in 1400 AD. So very useful.

Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...

The Monk

You scored 24% Cardinal, 64% Monk, 47% Lady, and 38% Knight!

You live a peaceful, quiet life. Very little danger comes your way and you live a long time. You are wise and modest, but also stagnant. You have little comfort, little food and have taken a vow of silence. But who needs chatter when just sitting in the cloister of your abbey with The Good Book makes you perfectly content.

Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Updates on life

White Kitty
Gone. Nowhere to be found. Just a day or two after I wrote about the white kitty, she stopped coming around. We are hoping her owners found her and took her home.

Black Dog
He has come and gone. Spent last weekend with us. Went for walks, the dog park, hung around the house. Every time he is here it really makes me want to get a dog. But not just any dog. A dog as fun and EASY as him. How about this one?

For those of you who asked, here is the dog at work actually fetching the ball (not just waiting patiently for me to throw it.)

We are laying off people this week and everyone's taking a pay cut AND we are cutting hours of all staff. The sales are just not coming in. It is time to take drastic measures. We'll have a solid, hard working group of people left and I believe we can get through this.

Saw a ferocious white bunny on my walk today. He was up to no good, I could tell. The cute fluffy tail and floppy ears didn't fool me. Sorry, no picture.

There's a fly buzzing around my coffee. Even I don't want any pictures of that.

The Blob
No superpowers (yet.)

The Plants
Everything is still alive and happily soaking up the worm poop once a week.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am not a Kitchen Warrior

I hate chopping onions. HATE it. I hate the stinging, tear-filled eyes. I hate the smell it leaves on my hands afterward.

The cooking shows on TV make it look soooo easy. It's all a big lie. Those aren't people doing that - they're robots. Specially designed animatronic, titanium-coated robots made to look like humans but impervious to the evil vapors of the onion stink. It's the big secret that the Food Network people don't want you to know. Ever look into Bobby Flay's eyes? Clearly not human....just circuits and microchips. I'm sure of it.

But if I want to make vegetarian chili or try the Tofu Tikka recipe, I have to do it. I did buy this choppy thing that makes it much easier. Mine is white, not red like the picture. I wear latex gloves. I wear my glasses in the hope that it can act as some sort of barrier to the stink molecules reaching my eyes. I chop everything else first and save the onions for last.

This time I put the onions in the freezer for about 15 minutes because that's supposed to help. I peel them and chop into big chunks. Put the big chunks, a few at a time, into the choppy thing. I violently pound on the top of it a few times and the onions are chopped. I twist open the bottom part, spoon out the chopped onions, load it up with more chunks and repeat.

It's still not pretty. The choppy thing falls apart or I can't get the bottom part off or it falls off when it shouldn't. It always ends with me screaming and swearing my head off with onion pieces all over the counter, falling on the floor, my eyes tearing, my nose running. I peel off my onion covered gloves in disgust and slam things around in the kitchen muttering to myself while I try to clean up every scrap of this noxious bulb and vow never to cook with onions again.

I feel like I just need to stop my whining and toughen up. My immigrant ancestors didn't even HAVE a choppy thing and I'm sure they had to use plenty of onions to go with all those potatoes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yes, that's right. AGAIN with the bugs.

You might just see an ordinary dragonfly.

But look closer...

Click on the pictures and they'll get bigger.

It really was that red.

Like a beautiful nightmare.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A great age

Volunteered again tonight and it was sooooo much better than last time. There were only about 7 kids and 5 volunteers. I think that makes a world of difference. There were also different staff on duty.

They did not give the kids candy this time. They did not play a loud, scary movie this time. We were able to give the kids a lot of attention and it didn't feel as chaotic.

You just have to love that age when a kid will play a silly game, over and over and over, and still have the same enthusiasm and joy about it the whole way through. There was a boy of about 5 sitting near me, facing the other way. I tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around I pretended it wasn't me. He smiled and said "Who did that?" I shrugged my shoulders and tried to act innocent. I did it a few more times and he laughed every time. We played this for at least 10 minutes.

Tap, tap.
"Who did that? (big smile)
"Not me! It was.... that stuffed giraffe!" (giggles)

Tap, tap.
"Who did that? (big smile)
"Not me! It was.... that pumpkin!" (more giggles)

Tap, tap.
"Who did that? (big smile)
"Not me! It was.... that teddy bear!" (more giggles)

Over and over and full of glee each time. What a great age.

We left before they headed to their bedrooms to sleep and only one little boy started to cry. It was an easier transition than last time.


I'm going back to the Children's Center to volunteer tonight. Let's hope it is a little better than last time.