Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time to Mop

Eli cannot close the screen door. The entire flock of chickens has snuck inside twice today. I obviously need to build them some kind of shady hideout for the middle of the day. #236 on the project list.

You Only Live Once

This is a feeling that is weighing heavily on me. I know we will all have failures in our lives, I know we all have starry-eyed dreams that won't come true. A young man (19 years old, wow) from my ward gave a really excellent talk on Sunday about the long-term consequences of the choices we made years ago, and the choices we make now. I have to face that certain things are set, that the actions have taken place and will not be un-done. Don't worry, it's not about Dan and me, except in the sense that he is my other half.

I am struggling with choices right now. I have some painful ones to make. I've been able to put off a lot of them because I was so busy with school. But that's over and now I have mental spare time. Some decisions are easy to make, because my inaction makes the decision for me - I make excuses for why I can't, and thus I effectively choose not to do the thing I don't want to do. Or the thing that I want to do, but am too afraid of doing. Or I can't find a means to make it happen. Or, as is one of the cases right now, I have to be patient and wait for the right time.

I'm being vague. I have to be. We're having my Mom and some friends over Friday night, and I'm glad. Boy, do I need friends right now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Fullness of Day


Up at 6. Garage sales and scrounging. Found a hacked-up hutch of some sort on the curb and took part of it to make into nesting boxes. Around noon I left the boys at home and helped some new ward members get their moving van unloaded. Bought groceries at the awesome Persian market. Dan almost finished the coop today and rigged up a cool sliding door. I built two short (4' x 6' x 5.5") raised beds to grow squash in the front yard; I used scrap wood I scavenged from a house on the way to Paul's school (I asked permission). We used my NEW $5 Craftsman 2 1/8 HP 7 1/4" circular saw I picked up at a garage sale last weekend. Soooo sweet. Took a large portion of the day.

The chickens ran free-range all day. They are quite entertaining - they fluff up and shimmy into the dirt to give themselves dust baths, they squabble over imaginary treats, they try to jump into the air to catch flying bugs, they roost on the boys' rope ladder.

Tired. Lazy. Need to go to Target, need to do laundry, want to just lay around and eat ice cream while watching Ugly Betty on DVD. Good night.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


And it's OVER. It was a fantastic class, I loved it, but I am so glad it's over. Yippee! Not to be a suckup, but Dr. Jim Zoval is an awesome teacher.

Now I wait to find out if I'll be taking Microbiology or Anatomy this fall.

It's 3 a.m.

And I am awake. Our neighbors across the creek have a lot of unchecked brush and trees at the back of their lot, and whatever animals live there are making a ruckus tonight. If I didn't know better I'd say it must be feral pigs, but the most likely culprits are raccoons. Squealing and snorting and echoing right into my bedroom window. Those are the raccoons who will eventually come over, sneak into my yard and try to murder my girls (that's what I've taken to calling the chickens). And so I am awake, listening to the enemy snort and wondering what I got on my chemistry final.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Paul has lice. I went to get him from school yesterday and he looked so sad. We bought the poison shampoo and did his and Eli's hair (they sleep in the same bed). We grownups are having psychosomatic itching. Dan is clean, but when he looks at my rat-nest hair he doesn't know what he's looking for. I've been itching to shave it anyway so who knows, maybe I'll make him do it.

My final exam is tomorrow but I still had to strip all the bedding, strip the boys' room, wash all the bedding & towels in hot water, comb eggs out of two heads, feed everybody, wash up, and do more garden work (I'm racing the calendar now and need to get as much in as possible before June). The final is 20% of my grade so I need to get at least 75% to keep my A. Egads.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Lions Have Returned

First, read the article. It sums it up better than I could.

The only reason I am posting about this is because I knew where three or four of these long-lost statues were for years, although I never knew they were lost. One of these elephants is the famous Euclid Avenue elephant - it was in the front yard of a house on Euclid in Ontario for years. Everybody local knew about the Euclid Elephant.

When I managed a trailer dealership out in Fontana, our first location was in an old house on a huge lot. Across the street was an empty lot being used to store old circus junk. There were two (or maybe three, I can't recall) weathered concrete lions on the lot. I always thought they were pretty neat, but never knew they were "lost" and wanted by the L.A. Zoo. Years later, I read about how they had been searched for and finally located, scattered all over California. I have to admit, if I had the chance to pick up a life-sized concrete animal for cheap, I'd put one in my yard, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Seems like every day is set on fast-forward. Bullet points:

1. Got termites in the townhouse. Dan and I have not yet made it over during the day to do an inspection of the underside (it's on concrete pylons on a slope and I'd say at least 50% of the place is off the ground. Since we're seeing the signs at the end that's highest from dirt, I'm hoping we have the flying kind and not the subterranean nasties.

2. Eli's face is healing nicely - the advantage of being not yet four years old is quick healing. Unlike my ankle, which I sprained in early march and is still not 100%. The disadvantage of being almost four is the daily blowout temper tantrums. There are times when I reach the edge of desperation with him. I have no idea what to do about preschool for him this fall. I can't find anything that will cover him for the hours I'll need to be at school (and I don't even know what times Anatomy will be offered in the fall), plus everything costs at least $300 a month and that just isn't possible.

3. One more lecture, one more chapter's homework, and my Chemistry final next Wednesday. Oh, and remember my 98% I was all up in the air about? Turns out he credited everybody with 4 points, so I really only got a 94%. But when I looked at my exam, it turned out that one of my incorrect answers was just me being stupid and marking the wrong answer, even though I KNEW the correct answer. Dummy! I am both relieved and sad to see the end of this class, which I have really enjoyed but which has been a cause of so much stress for me. At times it has seemed that staying in school this semester was the wrong thing to do, but I suspect that if I had dropped out I would really be punishing myself for it. If I may, I take some pride in my tenacity.

4. The tomatoes are thriving. The peppers were hard hit by the earwigs and are staging a slow recovery. I might not kill the cukes this year, but it's still too early to get optimistic. Beans have been challenging. The corn is very spotty - some stalks are already going gangbusters, while others refuse to grow and remain spindly little seedlings. The coop is 80% finished - we need to get hardware cloth stapled on over the vents, figure out what we're doing for doors, and put some sort of roofing over the currently naked plywood roof.

5. I'm going to look at a house on Thursday, up in Modjeska Canyon. The price is extremely attractive, but Dan is still concerned for his job and so I can't be very serious about it and told Joyce (our agent) so, but she was going to see it on her own anyway and so I'm tagging along. It's up in Modjeska canyon and I'm of two minds about that. Part of me longs for the canyons, but a very large part of me sees the incredible inconvenience of moving back up there. The house is pretty much exactly what I want (fixer, older, decent-sized and mostly flat lot), except that it's not 4 bedrooms. We lived in Silverado before, but I think I might actually prefer Modjeska. It seems quieter and the neighborhoods more conducive to meeting one's neighbors.

6. Paul's piano skills are coming along very well. His teacher says his note-reading is good. I am so glad that three or so months in he is still enjoying it, and we don't fight much over practicing. He promises he will teach me this summer, which is my ploy to keep hi practicing and reinforcing the skills he has already learned. It's strange how much I want him to be better than I ever was at everything.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


We had Paul's family birthday party Sunday evening. Very low-key, just food, cake and a pinata. Right at the beginning, Eli decided to walk right in front of his cousin Nolan, which wouldn't be noteworthy if Nolan had been anywhere else but on a swing traveling at approximately 80mph. So Eli did a hard face-plant in the dirt - bloody nose, scraped forehead. Monday it was all scabbed over and looked just awful - the biggest scab covered the whole tip of his nose and almost all the way up the bridge. It was really just sick-looking. Everywhere we went, people would wince at him and ask what happened. He keeps picking the scab off and has that angry new pink skin all over his nose.

So we have two new nicknames for him - Rudolph and Scarface. We're rotten parents.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I Have No Ability to Fathom

what life has been like for Connie Culp. I should never, never, never feel self-pity again (but of course I will). I cried and cried when I read her story today.

I warn you, the pictures of Connie are shocking. You will flinch, if not worse. Here is the article. I can't stop weeping. It's just beyond me.

Monday, May 04, 2009


It's International Respect for Chickens Day!

While I support ethical, humane treatment of food animals, am I the only one who finds this deliciously preposterous? Too bad it's Monday. I could have arranged for a chicken party.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Oh, tell me how much I rule.

Not much time to revel in it, though. Tomorrow afternoon is Paul's family birthday party and the side yard looks like a tornado hit a junkyard. I ripped out most of the wildflowers in the front yard; they had run their course and were looking very shabby. I have so many successful squash seedlings I decided to put some in the front yard, along with some summer-flowering ornamentals.

I bought 10 bags of compost from Serrano Creek Soils so I can make the bare dirt look vaguely nice for tomorrow. I'm going to have to build a bigger compost bin. I have piles and piles of leaves and dead wildflowers to toss in.

Now I have to figure out what I'm going to feed everybody. I'm thinking gigantic pot of pinto beans or maybe chili beans, veggie rice and corn tortillas. Courtney is making Paul's cake; I suck at baking and I don't have time for it anyway. I owe Courtney some very nice favors - she took Paul to Dizzyland for his birthday.

Last weekend we went to the ADZPCTKO. It's an annual festival to celebrate "opening season" for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT is a roughly 2600-mile hiking trail that starts at the Mexican border near Campo, CA and goes all the way to the Washington/Canada border. We plan to hike it sometime around 2015, give or take a year. Every year about 300 idiots attempt to hike the whole thing in one go. Takes about 6 months. We'll figure out some way to do it, but we'll probably do the John Muir Trail sooner than that as a bit of a shakedown. Wanna come along? You have a few years to get ready, and we have plenty of spare gear.