Thursday, July 27, 2006

On our way

We leave for Norfolk tomorrow morning. Looking forward to seeing all the East Coasters!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Unfit house

I get Cooking Light magazine. In addition to recipes they have a bit of fitness, travel, and "lifestyle" articles. For the past few years they have featured what they call a "Fit House." I read this year's "Fit House" article this evening. It drools on and on about what a wonderfully green house it is.

This house is out in the Atlanta exurbs and is 4,835 square feet. It incorporates cypress imported from Spain.

I don't care how much insulation you have, there is nothing environmentally friendly about a 5000 square foot house with six and a half bathrooms. (And four bedrooms. This is not a house intended for a family of nine.)

It is annoying that they are abusing environmentalism to sell something so monstrous.

Monday, July 24, 2006


The kids and I just got back from the UC-Davis Rec Pool.

Unfortunately, they informed us that the pool was 92 degrees. And it was really warm. Not too refreshing. Their cooling mechanism doesn't work when it's 110 outside.

Someday this hot spell will end.


Douglas built a tower out of blocks yesterday and told us it was the Catcher State Building.

That's right, it's the sister to the Umpire State Building.


It was 113 in Davis yesterday. Luckily, we were in Berkeley, where it was merely 90ish. Owen and I went swimming with Alisa and Duncan. It was still 98 when we arrived home at 8:30 pm. We did manage to have some good burritos and Thai food while we were there.

Just a few more days until we leave for the east coast. Hopefully it will be a little more reasonable out there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Current temp in Davis: 109, according to The Sacramento area looks likely to break its record of 6 days over 100 in a row - there was one day that was 97 so they had to start over, but we'll still probably break it.

According to,
July 14: 96
July 15: 98
July 16: 103
July 17: 106
July 18: 102
July 19: 99
July 20: 104
July 21: 102

When I went outside at 6:45 this morning our thermometer read 79.9. And it was in the shade.


Owen and I just returned from Cars, which is not the best way to spend an afternoon but at least was air conditioned.

We went to a birthday party yesterday evening and have another one to go to tonight.

Tomorrow we escape the 100-plus temps for the Bay Area.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The crops are in

Here are some tomatoes, fresh off the vine from our garden. Owen has been eating them like candy. They're delightfully sweet, if I do say so myself. We've also been eating 8-ball zucchini (I sauted some last night with garlic) and patty pan squash. The bell peppers are probably about ready to eat as well.

It is hard to take a picture of your own hand.

Violet is getting so big. She's doing better (although not perfect yet) about attacking feet. Generally mellowing out a bit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Eileen will be pleased to hear that there is a kid named Vinny in Douglas's preschool. Finally, a normal name!

Owen is enjoying basketball camp in the afternoons. In addition to skills, they are learning a few facts about basketball. They had a competition to see who knew what player had won the most awards. I suggested Michael Jordan, but Owen thought it was current Sacramento Kings player Mike Bibby. Turned out to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which was virtually impossible for a 6 year old to remember.

We took the kids to Baskin Robbins last night for a birthday cone after dinner. It turns out Tuesday night is dollar cone night. Boy, was it crowded.

It's been over 100 for days and we are looking at more of the same for quite a while.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Birthday party

Owen had fun at his birthday party. It was pretty wild. There were 10 kids there. They enjoyed playing water balloon baseball, having a 3 legged race, and hitting the pinata. At the end they played with one of the gifts, a street hockey set with a ball and two hockey sticks.

This morning Douglas woke up in this position.

Friday, July 14, 2006


We're now up to about 8 or so for the birthday party, so it looks like it will work out after all.

I'm in the middle of reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv, who is a columnist based in San Diego. It's a pretty interesting book. I thought it would be probably mainly anecdotal, but he actually cites quite a bit of research about the types of places children enjoy playing (typically the wilder edges of parks rather than the manicured parts) and the benefits of spending time in nature for kids.

Owen had a new friend over yesterday whom he met at baseball camp. It was pretty hot, so they enjoyed hitting the ball and then sliding on the slip 'n' slide into "second base." They were giving each other coaching gestures, swinging their little arms around like crazy to tell the other person to keep running and putting hands out to encourage them to slide. It was funny.

We've had a nice few days, in the mid 80s, but it is supposed to be 100 for at least the next five days.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bday... party?

We have invited a dozen or so kids for a birthday party on Sat. evening and so far have heard back from five ... four have been 'no'. Many people are out of town; the eternal problem for a July birthday. I'm starting to wonder if Owen and the one friend who has said yes will be able to split the cake right down the middle.

Maybe tonight I'll start calling the nonrespondents. It makes it kind of hard to plan for goody bags and stuff like that when I have no idea how many people are going to show up.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I picked up a brochure from Ace Hardware on Saturday about installing solar power. We have a pretty ideal roof situation - south facing and unshaded. However, the brochure had a worksheet where you could pencil out the cost savings considering your current energy usage. According to our PG&E bills, we are using perhaps 7000 kWh of electricity per year, which works out to barely above the Ace example's "baseline" estimate for a home and considerably below their "low" estimate. Apparently the average home uses in the neighborhood of 10,000-11,000 per year. Of course, we have gas heat, a gas hot water heater, and a gas stove. And we don't watch all that much TV. Anyway, given the fact that our usage is on the low side, the system would not pay for itself apparently for about 3o years. That's based on a 2.5 kilowatt system.

Bummer that it is so expensive ($12,000-15,000 for the system above, and that's after factoring in several thousand in state and federal subsidies).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

San Francisco

We ended up driving rather than taking the ferry, because Douglas had a sore throat so we wanted to be able to leave quickly if we needed to. He seems to be doing fine though.

We had fun in San Francisco. First we went to the Giants' stadium, where there is a kids' playground complete with tiny pretend ballpark and the kids could pretend they were hitting home runs at the park.

Next we went to the Ferry Building for lunch. There were lots of delectable choices. Douglas chowed down on mac 'n' cheese, while Owen had a burrito and Dan and I split a salmon sandwich and a beef/greens/onion sandwich.

Finally we went to the California Academy of Sciences' temporary quarters near Yerba Buena gardens, where we saw several cool fish and penguins.

All in all, a nice day. It was beautiful - upper 60s and breezy - in San Francisco. When we got back to Davis around 5 pm it was 101 degrees.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I just saw An Inconvenient Truth at the newly renovated Davis Varsity. Dan is going to see it tomorrow night. It was very compelling and well done.

Tomorrow we plan to take the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco and get out of the heat for a day... speaking of warming.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I took the kids to the Arboretum yesterday afternoon to feed the ducks (even though we're not supposed to feed the ducks). Here are a couple of pictures. We saw some cute little ducklings and a turtle, along with a few herons and a gazillion ducks.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Poor Owen burned his finger at our block party. The kids were playing with sparklers and melted the cap to a bottle of water. Despite being told not to, he touched it and spent the next half hour with his finger in a sink of cold water.

He seems to be doing better now and is viewing the fireworks display with Dan a few blocks away.

Tee ball exhibition game for the 4th

Owen played in a morning tee ball game that had one player from each team. After the tee ball one were the all-star games for the older kids. Owen got a good hit in the first inning and (illegally) bunted in the second inning.

Douglas, meanwhile, enjoyed pretending he was a catcher while the game was going on.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Some more pics from camping

The friends we went with, John and Eva (with daughter Callie)

The Sundial Bridge is cool.

Owen by the river

Douglas under the bridge

Camping sights

We saw a bald eagle swoop overhead while we were camping - very cool! - as well as a pair of turkey vultures nesting above our campsite, a deer, a few Stellar's jays, and some squirrels. The campsite had bear-proof boxes to put our food in, but we didn't get any visits from bears or raccoons (at least not as far as we saw). It was fun.

Camping pictures

We had a fun camping trip with our friends from Ashland, OR! Here are some pictures.

The Sundial Bridge in Redding

Callie, Douglas, Berkeley, and Owen at the Turtle Bay Discovery Museum in Redding

Family (plus Berkeley) on the Sundial Bridge in Redding

Douglas and Callie by the Sacramento River

Kids playing in Lake Shasta