Friday, March 30, 2007


Things have been so crazy around here this week.

Dan's dad had a procedure to break up some kidney stones on Wednesday. We hear he is at home and recovering. Get well soon!

Douglas managed to recover from the bad cold and was back in preschool starting on Wednesday. I had two all day work meetings on Wed and Thurs so have been away from the computer for a while.

Meanwhile, yesterday was the big day for the raffle - we gave out the packets at the school open house last night - so that took up a lot of time, and will continue to for a few weeks as we collect the packets and money and return them to those who want more tickets to sell.

Also, we have been helping a friend who is having a personal crisis, which has also been consuming some time and energy. No end to things to do this week, that's for sure.

Today the state and university are both closed for Cesar Chavez Day, though, so we can get some stuff done.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Douglas has a fever.

Spiked to 102.4 last night (and that was what the thermometer read even though he couldn't seem to keep his mouth closed). I think it was higher.

He is home today with Dan.

I put together 440 raffle ticket packets yesterday, with the help of a few volunteers. Whew. They are going to be given out Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


We went to the UC Davis arboretum this afternoon. The ceanothus, redbuds, and heuchera were all blooming.

The kids enjoyed playing on the logs.

Owen jumping off

There were ducklings! We counted eleven in a group, all very soft and fuzzy and cute.

Here we all are.


The kids enjoyed a sundae on Wednesday at Vic's in Sacramento, after a trip to Dan's office in the Capitol.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Devil's Highway

I just started reading the book which is UC Davis's campus-community book project for this spring, The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.

It's a nonfiction account of approximately 26 Mexican men (some were teenaged sons of others in the group) who were walking over the border between Yuma and Tucson in May of 2001. They became lost and their guides abandoned them, and more than half of them died.

It's a very sad story, well written and provides a lot of information about how the whole process works. It should be interesting to hear more about it during the spring.

Beautiful weather...

It's been in the 70s for quite a while and is expected to be 76 today. Sunny and low humidity. We may get some rain early next week, but the weekend looks good. The plants are starting to bloom - I need to take some pictures.

Douglas enjoyed soccer again yesterday. He's quite enthusiastic about it. Owen sat next to me and read his book the whole time. It's a good time for him to get his reading homework done.

We have a new wireless DSL system all set up which seems to be working fine now after some back and forth with AT&T this week.

The raffle starts next week so I have been gearing up for that, dealing with packets, printing, labels, photocopying and so forth. This Sunday some folks are coming over to help stuff the packets.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dan's closet

I took the kids over to the Capitol yesterday to see Dan's closet, I mean office. It's not exactly as spacious as his previous office, and has no windows. Still, it is in the Capitol. He can walk a few yards down the hall to a balcony overlooking the Capitol rotunda, which is kind of cool.

Then we went to Vic's ice cream in Land Park and the kids split a small sundae. They were quite happy about that.

Scene from this morning: Douglas was standing in the living room, naked except for his pajama shirt still on top of his head, walking backwards toward Owen and saying, "My butt is coming to get you! My butt is coming to get you!" Owen was shrieking and running away.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

School saga drags on...

The school board met last night to discuss whether to close Valley Oak and apparently at 1 am voted 3-2 to close it for fall of 2008, but with an extra parcel tax to be placed on the ballot in November of this year which would keep it open if it passes, and if another parcel tax that is going on I believe the June ballot, passes, by providing extra funds to run the school.

Talk about wishy-washy. This is ridiculous. We really wish they would just make a decision and get it over with.


In baseball news, Owen had a game last night and got a great double which sailed over the first baseman's head down the line. Their team is doing pretty well. They managed to get somebody out at first base last night, which may be a first. Most kids this age still can't throw or catch very well so it makes getting outs a challenge. They'll eventually hurl the ball toward first, but the first baseman won't manage to get to the plate with the ball before the runner makes it.

Monday, March 19, 2007


We don't have any pictures of Barack to share, partly because I forgot to bring the camera but also because, disappointingly, the stage was behind a giant oak tree and we never were able to actually see him. They should have held it in a square that didn't have a giant tree in the middle with branches and leaves all the way down to the ground!

He sounded all right, insofar as we could listen with the kids being pretty bored. Crowd estimates were up to 12,000. I don't know for sure but there certainly were a lot.

Sat. morning Owen had his second baseball game and he has another one tonight. He got a double in the game Saturday, hitting it into the outfield past the first baseman. So far, so good. He was a little worried Friday night about the game but it seems like he is feeling better about the whole thing now.

We had some friends over for dinner last night, which was fun. Owen doesn't get to see his friend Justin very often any more now that they are at different schools. They had a blast together. I made the spring vegetable soup from The New Basics. It was quite good (despite some overflow problems - the pot was not big enough).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Congratulations to Alexandra!

I got the following email from my friend Alexandra's husband David yesterday.

Eric Steven Sheaves was born March 14 at 7:18 pm. He is a healthy 7 lbs., 5 oz. and has a good set of lungs (loud like his dad). Everybody (mom and dad) are exhausted after a couple of days of labor and then because of no progress, a c-section for mom. Alexandra and Eric will be in the hospital for a couple of days due to the c-section, but everybody is doing fine and we (mom and dad) are quite giddy with the little pup.

Thanks to everybody for their support and well wishes (and I'm sure everybody will want a chance to babysit the little guy, he's very cute just like his OLD man).

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Owen seems still to be sick, or else maybe he came down with something else. He's been coughing and sniffling, and yesterday his head hurt at school. Poor guy. Half his class has been out most of the week. Whatever is going around seems to be hitting just about everybody.

Douglas is looking forward to Goal Getters later this afternoon.

Sat. we are going to Oakland to see Barack Obama speak. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First Phillies game

Owen had a good time in his first Farm "real baseball" game this afternoon. This picture shows him getting a hit! He made it to first (and then unfortunately was tagged out at second base thanks to a ball hit between first and second by the following batter).

Douglas spent most of the time being extremely mischievous, which made it difficult for me to pay attention to the game. Dan was acting as umpire, so he spent the game on the field.

Here's the team wrapping it up after their victory.

Douglas playing with a couple of the other younger siblings of the team.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Owen was feeling sick again yesterday. This is a mysterious illness that seems to come and go. I've heard the same thing from a couple of other people whose kids had it, so I guess it's to be expected. Anyway, he mostly lay low yesterday. Today he seems better, but we'll see.

He and Douglas both helped me in the garden yesterday. I bought a whole bunch of plants at Ace and planted them. I was mainly trying to fill up some shady space under the hackberry, but it's hard to find plants that do well in shade and still look all right. Hopefully the ones we put in are going to do okay.

I think my favorite word of Douglas's right now involves the ankylosaurus, which he says had a "booma-wacka tail."

The school board will talk about the school closure issue on Thursday. This process sure is dragging out. Even if they decide to close it, it will probably be fall of '08 before it happens - and there is a board election this November that could actually turn on the decision (rumors are flying that a prominent opponent of closure will run for a seat). If that happens and he wins, discussion on closure could be revisited if they have decided to close it. Tedious.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Little League opening day

Owen was feeling better this morning, so we went to the Davis Little League opening day.

Here he is in his Phillies uniform, standing next to his friend Tommy.

Douglas had fun ... at least for some of the time. Then he got hungry. He was pleased to see the River Cats' mascot "Dinger" and the UC Davis mascot (the big blue horsie). The UC Davis Marching Band-uh was also in attendance, leading the parade.

There were a ton of kids there.

Here are Owen with two of his teammates who are also his buddies. The three of them were in the same kindergarten class and then all switched schools together, so he still gets to see them on the playground (even if they aren't in his class).

Owen with buddy Zanevan.

Douglas having fun on Dan's shoulders.

Big tree

I took these pictures near the new elementary school where Owen had his first baseball practice last Sunday.

There's a beautiful big old valley oak near the field.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Owen is sick

Owen started complaining that his head was hurting last night around 7:30. At 11:40 last night he woke up and said his head was really hurting. I took his temperature and it was 100.5. I gave him some tylenol and lay down with him. It didn't seem to help much - he was still too uncomfortable to sleep until probably 2 am. This morning he woke up and still looked crummy, and had a fever of about 100. I gave him some Motrin and that seemed to help a lot.

I was on hold with the advice nurse from 8:30 until 9:30. Awful! Their message said "We are experiencing a very heavy cold and flu season so you may experience some delays." Anyway, the nurse didn't seem to be concerned, said it was likely a virus and to give him a lot of fluids. We hung around and played Monopoly most of the morning. He's going to miss batting practice today, oh well.

Douglas really enjoyed Goal Getters yesterday. He seems to be really proud of himself for being such a big kid as to be able to be involved in a sport as well. He had loads of fun running around and kicking the ball with the other 3 and 4 year olds.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I had Owen's parent-teacher conference yesterday. It sounds like things have improved a lot from the fall. I think the transition from one school to another, and the transition from kindergarten to first grade, was tough for him. He spent a lot of time in the fall floating around, unfocused. The teacher said now he is really working hard and getting a lot done. I think his position in the fall was, "Why should I be doing schoolwork when I could be pretending I'm a (football player, Power Ranger, firefighter, etc.)?" Now I think he's starting to get it, a bit. This spring he needs to work on memorizing the basic addition and subtraction facts (adding 0-9 plus 0-9). They are supposed to complete a sheet of all 100 combinations, randomly arranged, in 5 minutes, which only gives you 3 seconds per problem, so you have to know them all by heart and - the hard part for a 6 year old boy - be able to concentrate enough on a two-sided page of math problems for five solid minutes to write down 100 correct answers. We'll see.

Guitar and baseball are going well, though...

Monday, March 05, 2007

More Michael Pollan

Since I enjoyed The Omnivore's Dilemma, I just got The Botany of Desire from the library (after being on reserve for quite a while - I had forgotten I'd even reserved it when the notice came). It's pretty interesting. The subtitle is "A plant's-eye view of the world" and it discusses evolution and dispersion for four types of plants - apples, tulips, cannabis and potatoes. I've just started the apple section and learned a few interesting things. Apparently Johnny Appleseed was primarily planting apple trees that would be used for hard cider, which was just about all anyone drank in the US in the late 18th and early 19th century. Apple trees grown from seed do not turn out to be anything like their parent apple tree - you have to graft to get a good tasting apple - so all those seeds were not going to produce good eating apples. It's an interesting read.

Spring has sprung

It was lovely this weekend and is beautiful again today. Expected high of 71. I need to figure out something to plant under the hackberry that will grow well in shade so that all the hackberries that drop down don't take over that area like they did last summer. I spent a lot of yesterday morning turning over the soil there.

Owen had his first Little League (Farm) ball practice yesterday. It dragged on for quite a while. He knows 4 of the other kids on the team already quite well so that should help. He was a little worried about it beforehand - he told me his stomach hurt because he was nervous about it - but once he went he saw that it was going to be fine.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Guinness Book of World Records

Today there was an attempt on campus to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for the bike parade with the highest number of participants. The previous record was 641 participants from a parade in the Netherlands. We decided to go along.

The record was indeed broken; there were 913 bicyclists lined up. It had to be two wheelers only, so there were plenty of other people there with attachments (a trailer or extra wheel with kids on the back) but those didn't count. The 913 were of two wheelers only.

Here's a shot I took over my shoulder of Douglas riding on the back of my bike.

Owen arriving at the finish line.

Here we all are at the end of the race. You can see by our numbers that Douglas and I (#63) arrived significantly sooner than Dan and Owen (#611 and 612).

Dan at the finish.

Signs of spring

Owen, getting his first chance to mow the lawn.

And some flowering peach branches I bought at the farmer's market last weekend.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Welcome to the Capitol

Dan's first day went well. His first act was to have a meeting ... with his old department. Dan, you should blog about the new job!

The UC Davis baseball team has started playing. We may go to a game this afternoon. The rain seems to be over with. It was beautiful and sunny this morning.

I dropped off Owen at school and apparently humiliated him by singing "I Get Around" on the walk in (which he had requested so we were playing in the car). Obviously we exist merely to embarrass our children. Nothing new about that, of course.