Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Iraq story

The Sacramento Bee had an excellent article this morning (link here) by a female reporter about her family's experience in Baghdad. They have recently had to flee their home. It is really interesting, well written, sad and worth a read.

New door. Yay

Our front door was pretty beat up anyway, and with the stucco job, we had to wet down the stucco twice a day for a couple of weeks and the door got warped, so now we can barely close it. The bottom became too large for the frame.

So we are getting a new front door. It will look sort of like the one pictured here, except will just have the door and not all the surrounds - and the glass will be plain, not etched. But basically, it will have the same look as this one.

We're looking forward to being able to close the door again. Plus, hopefully having some windows will let in a little light there. It is very dark in our entryway.

Owen recently learned how to swing on the monkey bars (much later than most other children; for a long time he was too timid and worried he was going to fall) and is very excited about it and proud of himself. Now we have to go to the park every afternoon so he can go on the monkey bars.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UCD news

On Saturday we went to the last football game at Toomey Field (shown left), which was the quite modest UC Davis football stadium, built in 1949. It was bigger than my high school stadium, but not by much. The Aggies beat the University of San Diego Toreros in a fairly close game.

Next year (supposedly; they said the same thing last year) they will be playing in a brand new stadium down by the vet school. Building is still in progress, however.

Douglas has been saying his teeth hurt, so this morning I took him to the pediatric dentist, but a thorough exam revealed no problems whatsoever. I don't know what that was about.

Monday, November 27, 2006


We were playing a geography game this morning at breakfast - we were telling Owen cities and he was finding them on the map. I suggested El Paso and he said, "Look! Here's Douglas!" (Arizona.) He was very tickled to find a city named Douglas and pointed it out to Douglas, complete with spelling it out. Then he said "And here's Nouglas!" - um, no, that would be Nogales. I could see why he thought that, though.

Poor Violet is going to have to have the end of her tail amputated after all. They tried to save it through stitching it up, but the end is dying. The vet looked at iton Saturday. She said it is actually pretty common for tails to just shut down if they are injured. The blood flow there is pretty low because they are so small. So, we have to bring her in Thursday morning and pick her up that afternoon.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a nice Thanksgiving in Berkeley. We ate the usual stuff - turkey, mashed potatoes, broccoli, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Then on Friday morning we went to Berkeley's Aquatic Park with Alisa and family. Here are some pictures.

From left, Paul, Liam, and Douglas observing the pond.

Owen swinging

Liam and Douglas

Owen and Duncan climbing a tree!

Climbing trees is fun!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Almost Thanksgiving

Owen has the whole week off school, thanks to California's way of funding schools, which is by "ADA" - average daily attendance. If students miss a day, the school loses their funding for that day. As a result, the schools don't bother to open at all this week because they would lose out on too much money from the students whose parents pulled them out to go on vacation. So, he is home with a babysitter yesterday and today while I work, and I'll take tomorrow off. Douglas's preschool was open yesterday and today, so no problem there.

We're going to Berkeley for Thanksgiving. I'm making the pie. Yum.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The house

Before; with 50 year old cedar shake siding.

After; with stucco, but all the accoutrements such as trim painting, outside light, house numbers, etc. not done yet.

We are pleased with the results, although the color is not as deep as we thought it would be. It reminds me of a latte.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stuccoing all done

If the weather clears up, I'll take some pictures and upload them. Right now it's pretty gray and foggy. The stucco color turned out to be lighter than we anticipated; it's more of a sandy color than a brown, but we can live with it. They finished putting it on yesterday around lunchtime. Douglas subsequently stuck his fingers into the wet stucco, and I tried to clean up where his fingerprints were, but it doesn't look quite the same there (next to the door).

Owen and Dan had fun playing baseball at the park yesterday with Zanevan and his dad. They used the pitching machine, and Owen did fine, so I guess he is ready for "farm" level of little league.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Almost done

The stuccoites will be coming tomorrow to finish our house and clean up the big mess they have left in the yard. We can't wait!

Congratulations to Dan's brother Mike who will be getting married to Vivian! ... date as yet undetermined.

The kids and I went to Northstar Park yesterday with friends and saw some ducks and geese. Douglas and I had seen a muskrat there this past weekend, so it was somewhat less eventful wildlife-wise, but fun nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pet show

They had "interest groups" for the past several weeks at Owen's school. He was in the "animals" interest group. Today they had a pet show after school. Patrick brought in his rats, another child brought in her parrot, and someone brought a fish. Owen didn't want to bring Violet, though, because "She can't do any tricks." I tried to explain that neither could any of the other pets, but to no avail.

Anyway, it was fun. Tomorrow they have their harvest festival.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Adam is famous

Our friend Adam was in this weekend's Guardian Sunday Magazine in an article about the company he works for that predicts which songs are going to be hits.

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Owen had his last soccer game and the soccer party was yesterday at Woodstock's Pizza. One of the player's grandparents had taken some very nice pictures of the kids which they were showing on a TV screen.

I saw Borat on Saturday night with a friend. It was pretty entertaining.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty's 150th birthday was October 28. Someone came to Douglas's preschool to tell them about it. The teachers made Statue of Liberty costumes for them.

Douglas made us laugh yesterday. We were in the car Owen was being bothered by the sunlight falling on him. Douglas said, "Owen, you can open your window and the sun will go out."

Right now it is raining pretty hard, but according to the Davis AYSO website their soccer games will still take place. Today is the last round of games. Owen's soccer party is tomorrow and then that's it for the season.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Happy birthday Julia!

The big 3-6! Hope you have a great one back in the old stomping grounds.

And congratulations to the US of A, which made some much better choices on Tuesday night than we have had in quite some time. We are delighted. Too bad Doolittle won in CA-04, but other than that we couldn't have asked for a better night.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Apple Hill

Duncan and Owen hiding behind some cows

Douglas and Liam pretending to be "ghostes" (as they pronounced it)

The beautiful view from Kids Inc.!

Me and shy Douglas

Thanks to Alisa for the pictures!

The big day

We are looking forward to the election results tonight! Dan and I both voted absentee, which is kind of anticlimactic.

On Sunday we went up to Apple Hill (outside Placerville) with our friends Alisa and Paul and their two boys. That was fun. It was a beautiful day up there, sunny and upper 60s. It was foggy down in the valley so it was nice to get up above the fog.

The guys are at our house right now beginning to put the stucco on. We will have to water it down a couple of times a day to keep it from cracking until they are done. I hope it won't take too long. The kids are very interested to see what they are doing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Great Horned Owl

After the rain ended yesterday, the kids and I went out for a walk around the block. On the next block there were several crows sitting in a tree and cawing. Someone on the block pointed out that they were trying to drive away an owl that was sitting in the tree. Another neighbor brought out her binoculars and we had a look at it. It was quite a large owl. She said it was a great horned owl, and I was skeptical, but when we got home I looked in my bird book and she was right. The other owls with horns are generally small (6-8"); there is one that is taller but skinny. This one was at least 15-18" tall and fat.

Very cool.

National Park Service image of a Great Horned Owl --->

Thursday, November 02, 2006


It is pouring right now. Soccer practice is cancelled. The new trees can probably use it (and the rest of the plants, which I had been neglecting).

The last time we had any precipitation was May 22, according to the UC Davis weather site.

Kind of gets in the way of doing the stucco job. Right now our house is covered only with paper and wire. I hope no rain is going to come in.

When they ripped the siding off, they seem to have disturbed the wire for our kitchen phone. No dial tone on there any more. The phone guy is coming tomorrow afternoon, so I guess it is ok that they haven't laid the stucco yet. Better to get this fixed first.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Some pictures

The giant pile of what is left of our cedar shakes all over our lawn!

Douglas at his school party.

What our house looks like today after ripping off all those shingles. Next (tomorrow) comes an inspection, then they can do a coat of stucco, another inspection and then they can do the final coat of colored stucco.

I guess we need some new house numbers.


The kids had lots of fun trick or treating up and down the block. Now we have too much candy. We also went to a little party at Douglas's preschool, which was fun.

We saw 3 kids dressed as skunks this year. All 3 were home-sewn costumes. Skunks appear to be in the air.

The guys working on our house took down the outside light as part of tearing off the shakes, so we didn't end up getting too many trick or treaters because it looked like our light was off (although we had 2 lit pumpkins and 2 flashing pumpkin flashlights). We managed to give away most of the candy, though.