Friday, September 25, 2009

New Photo Software

Hmmm, the real picture is still awfully big. I obviously have more learning to do. Shoot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My New Necklace

Ophidiophobiacs: you should not come over anymore. Last weekend, we adopted a ball python named Roswell. My friend Brenda had a baby recently, and felt that a baby and a three-foot python were just too much work together. I am glad she offered us the snake and not the baby, because I am DONE with THAT business. So we welcomed Roswell into our home. Last night we fed him for the first time. It was over quickly, disgusting and fascinating, but not as violent as the time I watched a larger snake eat a rat. Yum. The boys could barely contain their fierce excitement over the amazing spectacle, although I am heartened that they exhibited some pity for the poor mouse.

Roswell likes my neck, because it's warm. He hugs me quite firmly. He is beeeeyoootiful, dark brown with golden patterns on his sides that look like alien heads (thus the name). Eli loves him entirely too much and the boys want to hold him all the time. He was a very useful homework inducement last night; I wonder how long the magic will last. He pushes the menagerie up to 11 animals now.

Kid stories:

Paul and Eli got into the disposable cups I keep for parties. Paul engineered an extremely impressive pyramid, built entirely out of plastic cups. It was so cool I couldn't even get upset with him.

Last week I was folding laundry in my bedroom (shocking, I know). Eli came in, kissed me sweetly on the arm, and in the same tone of voice he uses when he croons "I love you," said "I don't want to see you dead." Smiling all the while. I decided to take it as a compliment.

Eli and I were driving in the car. He was having a fit because he wanted me to make a u-turn and go back to Del Taco, which I had no intention of doing. I pointed out that the sign at the signal said "NO U TURN" and told him I didn't want the police to write me a ticket. He grumbled, "The police wouldn't know." The difference between Eli and Paul in a nutshell - Paul would NEVER encourage or even want me to break the law. Eli doesn't give a fig.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My New favorite Comic Strip

Hark! A Vagrant

Kate Beaton is a Canadienne with a history degree. She draws comics that make me laugh real, huge laughs. I have to look up the historical figures approximately 33% of the time, which I seriously don't mind a BIT. I may even write her a fan letter.

Warning: She uses naughty words sometimes. My salty-language-averse friends may want to skip it. However, seeing Anne Bronte use TWO swears in the same comic tickles me to no end. Sorry!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Can't it Feel Like Fall, Too?

It's sticky and hot. Fall is my least favorite time of year here, mostly because it feels like summer got tired of being nice and decided to get cranky. And the fires. Oh, how I hate the fires.

The summer garden is winding down; I need to tear out the last of the green beans, which had an excellent run and gave us lots to eat. Beans are definitely going to be permanent summer fixtures now. I need to get peas in the ground this month - hopefully we will not have any more scorching heat waves before winter truly arrives.

Melons, not so much success. I had a difficult time with watermelons last summer and this year's crop (cantaloupes as well) has been a big disappointment. The vines look nice, but the pumpkin vines look even better and those have been MUCH more successful. I already have three fat white pumpkins curing on the back porch and many more swelling rapidly on the vines. I had all but written off the Jarrahdales, but suddenly they have exploded and I have at least four lovely pumpkins puffing up now. The Cinderella vine may give me nothing at all, but that's my fault. I will continue to do pumpkins, but I think melons do not care for me or our yard. Oh, and I have two Corsican gourd vines that have given me two beautiful gourds so far.

We finally got another decent two weeks of tomatoes, but given the amount of plants I put in, the crop has been VERY disappointing. Dan thinks we must have poor soil in the side yard - our landlord's father runs a street-sweeper business and Dan jokes that when Mr. Landlord put in the retaining wall and filled in the sloped part of the yard, he used street sweeper dirt. I know we are not lacking in nitrogen, as the plants came up hale and hardy, but the fruiting was sporadic and some plants never set fruit at all. I will rotate the tomatoes to the backyard next summer, if we are still here.

There is a new anxiety in the air at Dan's work. It may come to nothing, it may become what we fear, or it may just be a big change. But it does make me extra glad we are shedding the condo. If we have to leave California I'll be glad it's not ours anymore. I am strangely nostalgic - we did have our two babies there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Getting So I Suck a Bit Less

I'm registered for guitar - the deciding factor was that it was on Tuesday night. Sewing is on Wednesdays, and that's the night Dan has Elders Quorum meetings. I am in Beginning Acoustic Guitar, and I suspect my teacher will be the same semi-hippie British lady I had two years ago, so I already have the right book! although I think I already know all the chords we'll be learning, we'll also be learning picking and different strums. I have actually been practicing almost daily. In Montana I spent 25 cents on the sheet music of Patti Smith's Because the Night and I've been mangling that for the past month and a half. B minor is a great-sounding chord, but it's horrible difficult to get my fingers in position!

Eli had his first day of preschool today. He'll say "hola," "adios," and "gracias," but ask much more of him and he hides his face in your shoulder. The teachers did not tell me of any breaches of etiquette, so I assume he did not hit anybody or start any fights, which we have begged him repeatedly not to do. Eli relishes starting fights and getting into arguments - I am close to ripping out my own hair on a regular basis. He understands that poor behaviour means he can't go to school, so I have high hopes. However, we go back to the dentist tomorrow morning for attempt #2 at fixing his rotten molar, and my hopes are comparatively muted. Attempt #1 did not go well. We have pulled out all the stops and offered Disneyland as a reward (we got 3-day passes as a birthday gift from Daniel's Mom). The reason Eli has rotten molars is because we have to sit on him and pin his arms down in order to brush his teeth, during which he flails around and screams like some kind of trapped animal. He bites both fingers and toothbrushes, and one particularly weak model actually snapped in two while clenched between his teeth. At least we can say nothing is ever boring with Eli.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I speak in church on Sunday. I would prefer crawling in a hole and dying, but alas there are no convenient me-sized holes. And I'm too lazy to dig my own, but no worry - a metaphorical hole is already being dug, getting deeper every second I'm not preparing. There has been much joking about how bad I can make this little speech, so as to ensure I am not asked again for a very long time, if ever.

In my effort to stave off the unpleasant task of actually writing my speech for the gallows, I have been reading. This week's selections have been The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux (most famous for The Phantom of the Opera), and Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. I enjoyed them both immensely, although I wish I had been able to focus enough on the mystery to even have a shot at guessing the solution. I was right on a few fronts, so I'll have to console myself with that. This was my first foray into Wodehouse, who I have been meaning to get to for many years and just haven't. It's not that his plots are funny, no, but the narrative voice is spectacularly amusing.

School has sprung for Paul, and aside from his tendency to cry about many things it is going swimmingly. We'll see how it goes when we start doing regular homework, my hopes are not high. We had orientation this week for Eli's preschool and it all seems promising. Lots of yuppyish suburban parents, just like us, plus one kid who's allergic to everything under the sun - milk, soy, nuts, kiwis, the list went on. Of course she has to be in our class. we'll figure it out.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Two Days

And then school starts.

Remember how panicked I was about Kindergarten? Seems silly now, two years into this public education thing. And yet the unknown of what second grade will ask of us still floats out there, taunting me. Eli starts preschool next week and I feel no anxiety whatsoever about it - bubbling hope best describes my feelings on that front. Still no word on whether the school got that grant for a Chinese program. If they don't, I may try to organize private group classes.

We've decided not to panic about my education. It will be OK. I'm thinking about trying another Chemistry course in the spring, to see if I really like it or if my academic crush on Dr. Zoval was really the driving force behind my enjoying Chem the last time around.

Oh, we may close escrow next week. One less tether tying us to this place. Our future is wide open and terrifying and exciting.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

mas huevos

We are up to four actual eggs now, and one shell-less egg, which seems to not be unusual for pullets (young chickens). However, we could have a bird with a defective shell gland, so that means I have to be less lazy and try to keep track of who's laying the bum eggs. Ha.

I'm torn between taking another guitar class through adult education, or maybe a sewing class. I've sewn a tent and two sleeping bags, but I have no idea how to make clothes. They do offer algebra, but I think that would mostly entail me going to school with actual kids. I went through that with my ceramics class and no, no, thank you very much.