Sunday, January 30, 2011


Empathy, in the form of a two-sided card, by Allison:

"I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings. I'm never going to do that again."

Monday, January 24, 2011


Kate's been asking for a pet for almost as long as she's been able to talk. In recent years she's suggested a large number of possibilities, from dogs and cats to goats and birds and fish and guinea pigs and most recently, turtles, which is what she asked Santa for last month.

Each suggestion was met with a quick list from me about why such and such wouldn't make a good addition to our family. And I had good reasons, not that she would agree, but I also felt bad that she didn't have a pet.

A discussion with a friend about pet rats a few days ago got me thinking though, and I realized that they could be just the thing for us, that is, if the girls even liked rats, which up until they I didn't know. A visit to a special pet store with a large number of fancy rats answered that question, and now we have a couple of black and white rats, Spot and Scabbers, named by the girls.

And Kate is in rat heaven.


I just love ski/hockey season. In the past few years our first ski trip has been to Oregon each February and we're going again this year but I really wanted to get in at least one day of skiing before going there. I thought of heading to mountain after we returned from Hawaii and the kids still had a few days of winter break left, but then Kate had an ear infection and that idea got scrapped. MLK weekend presented another opportunity.

It was a quick trip. We were gone a total of about 30 hours, but it was worth it. Having rented the kids' skis near home, we hit the slopes first thing in the morning and stayed until closing time. It didn't take long at all for everyone to shake the rust off and get their ski legs back.

We skied together all day and had a great time.

And there was a noticeable change in Kate from last year. Last year she skied very cautiously and speed made her nervous. This trip she went much faster and decided she liked terrain parks too.

She actually caught air on several jumps and landed a couple of them well, but of course I didn't have my camera at the ready. This time I managed to get the video going just in the nick of time, and managed to capture this fine landing:

We can't wait to hit Mr. Bachelor next month. Two thumbs up for ski season!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

new old digs

I've been asked several times to post some photos of our new house but I didn't get around to taking any photos before the demo started. And those of us who have seen the place know that the rest of you really aren't missing much. But fortunately my brother took a bunch of pictures a while ago when he visited with John, so here are some of his photos. They're taken from the most artsy and flattering angles possible and they're not just fun to look at, they're educational. Think of them, every single one, as examples of what never to do in your own homes. And I've also learned that there are some things that even a pro can't make look pretty.

First a look at the front of the house. It's charming. John especially likes how none of the windows in the front are the same size or at the same height. The house had 3 previous additions. One was to take the breezeway in between the garage and the house and enclose it, making it into a dining room. Things will look very different when we're done.

The lot is 1/3 acre, here is the backyard. The other two additions can be seen here. One is the small second story (master bedroom and bath) and the room at the far left in the photos, built out into the backyard.

Several redwoods on the property and in the neighborhood.


At least our TV needs are taken care of.

Yes, we'll be replacing all the windows.

And the ex-window.

Inside that added room on the lower story. It was divided into two rooms: an office and a workshop. We'll be getting rid of that dividing wall and making it a big family room.

You enter that room from the backyard. We'll be changing that by pushing out the living room wall far enough to include entrance to the family room too.

You don't even need a roof inspection to know that this all has to go.

Inside the master bedroom:

View from there into the backyard.

John is really going to miss this wallpaper.

Lovely bathroom that we'll convert into a jack and jill style, or jill and jill style, between the girls' rooms.

There is an issue or two with the existing electrical.

Another bathroom which will be fully gutted.

It will be a shame to see this fine flooring go.

View from the dining area into the kitchen. We're moving the kitchen.

Laundry area in the garage. We'll be pushing the garage out further toward the street and making this area inside the house and adding on a half bathroom as well.

This fireplace is in a bad location, it's already gone.

Not even the autographed wallpaper will be saved.
Living room. That wall to the left is the one that will be pushed out further. The new kitchen will be where John is.

I know this place seems to have no redeeming value but we think the value is in the home's potential. We can see it pretty clearly and the place will be great, eventually. Brad didn't take photos of the neighborhood, but believe me it's on a great street. Really. We can fix up this house, we can't fix up our current neighborhood.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Some things I just don't get. There are complicated things that I don't get, which I don't mind so much that I don't get, because I figure that I could get those things if I ever took the time to learn them. Then there are things that everyone else seems to get that I don't get, and tanning is one of those things. More specifically, I don't get why people like going tanning and why people think tanning looks good.

When I returned to work the day after we returned home from Hawaii, several people at work made remarks about my lack of post-Hawaii expected tan, and they all seemed kinda disappointed. While we were in Hawaii some family members were sitting around discussing our laughable whiteness. It was pretty clear that we were, collectively, the palest people there and among the pale I was apparently the palest.

The thing is, I don't mind. I'm always caught somewhat off guard when someone notes how un-tanned I am. It's kind of like being told your zipper is down, only there is no way to pull it back up again and you don't particularly care that it's down in the first place. Some people tell me this like maybe I wasn't aware that I'm pale and I should do what I can to rectify the situation immediately.

I think having naturally darker skin looks fine but pale skin looks fine too. And when you are obviously genetically fair-skinned, with blonde or red hair hair and freckles, I think pale skin looks perfectly normal. Skin that is artificially darkened usually doesn't look good. When I think of tan, I think of this:

And this:

And also this:

Not so much looking "leathery" as much as looking like a basted roast turkey that is ready for carving. Sexy! I don't see the value in that.

People say "a healthy tan" which is a complete oxymoron. I suppose they think there is healthy smoking too.

I consider it a great vacation success that John and I and the girls all managed to be outside all day every day having fun but with the use of SPF 50 swim shirts and waterproof lotion, and hats sometimes, none of us got any sunburn. Or tan.