I'm relieved to announce that my little niece Seana had some minor surgery (tubes placed in her ears) and has come through well. I think that a predisposition towards ear infections must be genetic. I suffered from constant ear infections as a child, and so has Seana, having like 6 before her first birthday. Whereas Corie (Seana's sister) has had less than a handful of them. Interesting, no?
I've recently finished this year's Pulitzer prize winner for fiction, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was an excellent book. The story centers on Cal Stephanides, a person who is genetically a man but due to hormone problems was born with female characteristics. The novel traces Cal's family back to a small town in Turkey to try to explain where this mutant gene came from. I definitely recommend this book.
And I'm still one of the few who hasn't yet gotten the new Harry Potter we'll get it eventually, but I already found out some plot information on the web. I'm such a snoop--I can't stand suspense. I realized that I need to go re-read books 3 and 4 as I've forgotten who many of the characters are!
Well I had a racous weekend! Saturday night I went to a Solstice/Housewarming party at Tim and Jennifer's (Jennifer is the hair stylist extraordinaire). Their party was HUGE, so I clung to the 5-6 people I knew, where I learned that 2 of them are now pregnant and due within days of each other--and they both used the same sperm bank! Talk about coincidence!
Talk about babies, Jennifer and Tim's daughter Sadie is growing so fast and is so cute. And she apparently likes sparkling water. And, I got to see John (a friend from book club) and his twin boys, Jack and Chase. The twins are about 8 months now but John has been hiding them in a closet and nobody has seen them before now. The rumor going around book club was that the twins didn't actually exist and that John's fabrication was just a ruse to get people to give him used baby clothes. But the rumor was put to rest--Jack and Chase do exist (and they are darling!).
And even more baby news, I got to speak with our friend Sasha on Saturday. Sasha is one of Kevin's friends from their old Boy Scout camp days. Anyway, Sasha and his wife Stella had a baby just last month--Aaron. I got to hear all the latest baby news including the scoop on toddler Isaac as he adjusts to his new role as big brother. Congrats to the Chizhik family!
Sunday night was equally exciting. Kevin returned intact from his Boy Scout backpacking trip (Scout and I managed to hold down the fort alone this weekend). And at night we went to a Sex and the City premiere party at Sandy's. There were NY style hot dogs on the barbie and various other BBQ favorites including an artichoke dip and a spinach dip (I'm a total dip fiend). We slaved and cooked all day for our contribution: Doritos.
Tuesday I get to see Jennifer and Tim (+Sadie), Sandy, and John (+babies) at book club. We got a little behind on our last book so our schedule is a bit out of whack (we're supposed to meet the first Tuesday of the month). This month's book is The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope. Can't talk about it until book club is over though :).
Okay, off to German class. This is our last class before the final. I can't believe I've completed 3 quarters of German already. In non-Jr.-college terms it's the equivalent of the first year (two semesters) of German. I enjoyed it but it got REAL hard at the end here, so I'll be glad to get a break from it. Auf Wiedersehn!
I'm on my own tonight and this weekend as Kevin is on a Boy Scout backpacking trip. I'm sure he'll have a good time. They're backpacking in Henry Coe State Park which is right off of the street we lived on in Morgan Hill. We only ever took one trip to Henry Coe and that was for a hike on Christmas Day with Marc and Wendy. I hope he makes it back okay. The last time he went on a Boy Scout camping trip it was in a field of something to which he was violently allergic, and came home with his eyes swollen shut.
Kevin is putting together a webpage of our trip to Carmel, which consists entirely of pictures of Scout. He doesn't have the page set up yet, but here are some preview pictures:
The neighbors have been unusually quiet. I wonder if the neighbors on the other side complained. For two days they were totally silent. Then we were back to the baby crying, music playing (although at a much lower level than before), and kids running around.
They seem to have gotten another children's record, bringing their total up to 2. They haven't played the "La Bamba" one in a while. This new one gets played a lot. It's got a version of the Hokey Pokey. I say "a version" because this particular Hokey Pokey has a bizarre line: Everybody's got Monkeys. This comes in the part of the song after you've put your whole self in, taken your whole self out, put your whole self in, and have shaken all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about. And then in NORMAL versions of the song you dance around in circles and sing "You do the Hooooooookey Pokey" three times, followed by another that's what it's all about. Well instead of the triumphant "Hooooooooookey Pokey" that's where this version inserts "Everybody's got Moooooooonkeys." It's truly bizarre. I feel sorry for these children who will later go to school and parties and instead of doing the Hokey Pokey will do the Everybody's Got Monkeys.
She had to go to the vet to get her vaccines yesterday. Plus she had to get her nails trimmed. The nail trimming is MAJOR trauma, as Scout hates having anyone handle her paws. It's not the trimming that's so bad, it's the fact that you have to hold her paw still. When we try to do this she emits a heart-rendering whine/bark that says "Help! They're pulling off my paws!" Of course, for the vet she was totally silent. So it was worth the money to have the vet do it. She's also apparently a little on the chubby side so we'll have to cut back her kibble a bit. All in all, it was a terrible day for small beagles.
The day was fine for the rest of us. A little hotter than I like, but a nice day. I got to drive around with the top down which is always fun.
Remember that little, tiny fender bender I got in last week? Well, there's that quarter-sized hole in the plastic so I took it in for an estimate. Naturally they have to take off the whole bumper to try to fix it, so that's $800 minimum. Our deductible is $500 so we'll get it fixed as long as the insurance is paying the rest. Oh well, $500 down the drain. That sucks.
In the meantime, I had a nectarine today. It was very good. I'm glad the summer fruits are out. Those are my favorites. But I'm weird about fruit. I don't like to eat it like an apple. The juice gets all over your face and hands and you get pulp stuck in your teeth. So instead I cut it up. Which also entails getting the juice all over your hands but somehow that's better. The unfortunate part is that cutting it up takes effort, and I often forget that the fruit is WORTH the effort of cutting it up, so I tend not to eat very much fruit. But I'm turning over a new leaf this summer. One that involves fruit. Goal setting!
The day care neighbors have been very quiet lately. I wonder if the other neighbors complained.
And a very happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!
We just got back from a wonderful birthday weekend getaway to Carmel by the Sea. Carmel is famous for its white sand beaches, adorable shops, and dog friendliness.
Scout came with us and had the time of her life. She was extremely well behaved, much to our pleasure. And while she didn't like the ocean itself (she hates to get wet) walking on the beach was very pleasant.
The best part of Scout's trip were the dinners, however. The first restaurant we went to was the Forge in the Forest. The Forge featured with-dog patio dining near a cozy outdoor fireplace. Scout was greeted with a bowl of water, a Milk-Bone, and her very own menu. She decided to have the "Quarter Hounder," a quarter pound hamburger sans bun.
The next night we went to Le Coq D'Or, a French-German restaurant. Here Scout was treated to another bowl of water, another Milk-Bone, and another hamburger--this time the chef's special recipe of ground beef, rice, and garlic.
Scout did very well at both restaurants. She did not beg, however she looked longingly at the women who brought the hamburgers hoping for another tasty morsel.
Aside from Scout, we had a very nice time as well. Our room had a fireplace and the best bathtup/shower I've ever seen. It had my favorite shower head--the flat kind that rains down on you. It was very cozy and nice to have our dog with us for a change (okay, I'm back to the dog again).
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Kevin did a great job planning it and mostly keeping it secret. I hope we'll have some pictures up soon.
I finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Many are proclaiming this to be her finest work. I disagree. It's basically the story of how the world's population was wiped out by a bioengineered virus, and what led up to that. The thing that disappointed me most is that Atwood didn't have anything new to say (or as my literary criticism friends would say, she didn't add anything to the discourse). This story has been done several times, and I didn't feel that Atwood's telling was particularly unique or enlightening. The writing itself was excellent, as to be expected--I can't fault that. But the ending was vague and didn't leave you with a sense of hope. Overall it was just rather depressing. If you want to read Atwood at her best, check out The Blind Assassin.
I got into a little bit of a car accident the other day. It was really a fender bender. And it was totally my fault. I was trying to change lanes in heavy traffic and while I was looking over my shoulder at the lane I was aiming for, the car in front of me stopped and I rolled into it. Literally rolled. I wasn't even pressing the gas. Anyway, there was very minor damage (paint chips and a slight dent to her car, and an inexplicable quarter-sized hole in my bumper). I exchanged information with the other driver who was totally freaking out (I was very calm) but I hoped that she would not call the insurance companies. Unfortunately I got a call from Geico today about it. They determined that it was my fault (hard to deny that), so they are paying out the claim. I of course have a $500 deductible so I'm sure whatever repair I require will be paid for entirely by me. I have an appointment to get the car looked at tomorrow. Anyway, that kind of sucks. I hope my insurance rate doesn't go up too much.
Tonight we are going to the Adobe Patent Banquet. This is a banquet for all of the Adobe employees who have applied for or earned a patent this year. I'm very proud of Kevin for being in that group. Last year the food and entertainment were good. Hopefully they will be this year as well.
Not much happened this weekend. On Saturday we went to a BBQ at Hai-Nhu's brother's house. There was tons of food, but it was very good. Afterwards we went over to see Hai-Nhu and John's new house (this was all in San Francisco).
Sunday I did...nothing. Well, I read. But essentially nothing.
Working our way through our Netflix queue, we saw The Ice Storm. Okay, I'll admit it. I didn't get it. I mean, I got it, but I didn't really enjoy it. I didn't get anything out of it. In fact, I was kind of bored.
I also re-read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It was as good as I remembered it the first time around, but a little depressing. The dystopian future taken over by an extreme branch of Christianity centers around the roles that woman (and to a lesser extent, men) play in society. I read it in preparation for Atwood's new book, Oryx and Crake which is also about a dystopian future, but one where licentiousness rules and biotechnology goes too far. I'm about halfway through it now, and so far my review is that it's depressing. I'm hoping it picks up a little. It's gotten good reviews.
Okay, off to German class. Quiz tonight.
It provided a nice white noise to lull me to sleep last night, and successfully managed to mask the neighbor's 7:30 romp. I had such a peaceful morning. Now Kevin has to get used to the white noise too. My last year at Albion I had the room directly above the basement laundry facilities. We fell asleep every night to the comforting sounds of washers and dryers, and when we had our window open (which was year round because the laundry also produced a great amount of heat) our room always smelled like Downey. Ah, those days of peaceful idyll. Little did I know I'd be living next door to a day care almost a decade later. Of course, we had a weirdo neighbor that semester anyway. It was a sign!
Ugh, Down with Day Care! We've been sleeping with the window open because it's been so hot. Unfortunately we picked the bedroom that's right up against the day care neighbors. Their kids start arriving at 7:30 am and immediately commence screaming (their primary form of entertainment). It's like trying to sleep on the deck of a crowded public pool. I was miserable. Finally Kevin got up and shut the window and that dampened some of the noise. Clearly we cannot sleep with open windows anymore. We have a ceiling fan, but I hate the feeling of air blowing directly on me when I'm trying to sleep.
So I came up with the perfect solution. An air purifier. It will circulate air in the bedroom and ease our allergies as well. So I say "We should get an air purifier." "We have one" Kevin responds. "What?" "We have one." "You had one before we got married?" "Yes, I lived in an apartment whose former tenant had been a smoker so I got one." "Where is it?" "In the basement, I think."
So now all we need to do is to get new air filters for it. Hooray!
It's flea and tick season. This morning I found a flea on Scout and immediately ran out to Pet Food Express to get some Frontline. I've found that Frontline works really well for Scout. I'm hypervigilant about fleas and have never had an infestation :).
Of course, while I was at Pet Food Express I had to stop by Target to do a little summer shopping. I was looking for some new tops and shorts and found exactly what I wanted. I love Target. I also bought gallon sized ziploc bags. We've needed these bags for a while now, and Kevin kept forgetting to buy some. So at Target right when I walked in, there was a huge display of ziploc bags on sale! I thought it was a sign. When I got home it turns out that it WAS a sign--a sign to check the drawer before buying more bags just in case Kevin does remember to purchase some.
Gallon sized ziploc bag anyone?
Okay, it's official. I'm a Six Feet Under addict. I Netflixed the first season and we've finished the first 3 DVDs. I got the 4th today and had to watch an episode right away. I'll watch it again tonight so Kevin doesn't miss out. It's just such a good show!
I found out my poor niece has her 6th ear infection :(. She's going to require tubes in her ears. Apparently it's a quick outpatient procedure, so that's good. Hopefully this will clear up her painful ear infections.
Scout is famous! Remember when she got her new cave bed? Well we submitted her picture to George, the store in Berkeley that sells the bed, and they have put her on their website! Go to George and click on the "Pet Photo Gallery" link (bottom left of the grid). Once there, click through to page 5 and Scout is the last picture on the page. Click on her to see a bigger picture. I'd link to the picture directly but the structure of the site won't allow me to do so. Be sure to go and see our favorite hound!
PS Kevin has found a direct link here so now there's no reason not to go see it! Read his comment too. It's funny.
The proverbial day of rest. And rest I did! After church this morning I slept for like 4 hours and I'm still yawning. I enjoyed another day care-free day today. Too bad tomorrow's not a holiday. Last night we went out for dinner. That was nice. I enjoyed my favorite--filet mignon, while Kevin had canneloni. It's nice to get out every once in a while. Sorry, not much to blog on today.
Kevin and I both finished our Book Club book, The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope. It's about a Church of England priest and his family in a very small English village. The Rector's wife has played the perfect rector's wife for 20 years and is feeling stifled by her role. The book covers her attempt to break out of that traditional role and define herself. I can't say much more because we're not supposed to discuss the book before the book club meeting, which isn't for another 3 weeks. Stay tuned for my scathing, er, complilmentary commentary. :)
Boy, I really could go for some ahi tuna sashimi. I normally don't like sushi or sashimi, but there are a few exceptions--ahi on the sashimi side and unagi (cooked marinated eel) on the sushi side. Either that, or a nice big pan-seared ahi steak, where it's not too done. Mmmmmmm. That's so perky. I love that.
I'm trying to kill time until my writer's group meeting. My writer's group doesn't have a website so I can't point you to more information. Suffice to say it's a small group, who meets monthly. We usually discuss writing and what writing projects we're working on, and then do a writing exercise or two. It's fun and it gives me that extra support for my writing.