Katrina, my sister in law, started a blog of her own! She says she was inspired by me. I'm so flattered!
Okay, a coupla days late :).
We made it back from LA in ship shape with no further fire incidents, although Kevin did replace the extinguisher at OSH. It was under $15, and as the pickup owner last Tuesday could tell you, worth every penny. If you've got some space in your car and want to be a Good Samaritan (or God forbid, have a little fire of your own) it's an excellent investment. Think about it.
We had a wonderful holiday. Wednesday we got to spend the day (and evening, and several bottles of wine) with Marc and Wendy. M & W used to live in San Jose but moved to Denver a year and a half ago. Wendy has been able to make it back out to visit by cleverly scheduling a conference in the area, but we hadn't seen Marc since they moved. As it turns out, Wendy's parents live in the town next door to my parents, and we were both in for the holiday so we hung out. It was great!
Thanksgiving was wonderful as well. The only damper on the event was the illness of little Addison, age 2, the son of my cousins. Addison was tres sick so he and his folks missed the dinner at my mom's, which was a bummer since they'd come out from Chicago to see everyone. We did get to see Addison's brother Ethan, age 1, and he's so big! Speaking of so big, I couldn't believe how big our niece Seana is getting! She's 15 months now and is running at top speed all over the house. Corie (8) is growing like a weed as well. It's going too fast!
We had appetizers at mom's and then headed to Kevin's Grandparents for dinner. Full turkey dinner with all the fixin's, mmmmmm. It was good to see his family too. Friday I slept all day to recover, and today we headed back. All in all, a fantastic holiday. And in a few weeks we'll repeat it all over again!
Yes, that's right, Kevin is a hero. Last night we were driving the 5 across the Tejon pass and we stopped at a rest area. A pickup truck pulled into the spot next to us. When I came out of the bathroom I noticed that the truck had its hood up with flames shooting out of it! Then I saw Kevin confidently step forward with a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. I looked at our car and noticed the trunk was open, hence the place where Kevin got the fire extinguisher from. That's my Boy Scout--always prepared! After years of carrying around a fire extinguisher, he finally gets to put it to use. The only problem was that the extinguisher was stored in the spare tire well. Underneath 3 cases of wine. Fully trained by my dad to save the wine at all costs, Kevin pulled out the wine, got the extinguisher, then started to put the wine back before thinking "hmm, maybe I should put out the fire first." :D Anyway, the truck owner was unhappily stranded, but at least he didn't lose his whole car, thanks to Kevin!
Kevin has created not one, but TWO picture pages for your enjoyment. The first is our most recent trip to San Francisco for our anniversary. We took a class in Letterpress (the pictures make it clear) and visited the Charles M. Schulz museum. You can find those pictures here
October and November were a busy month for us. We traveled down to Southern CA to visit two grad schools, hit a wedding reception, and then went out to Iowa to visit their MFA program. Here are a few pictures from that adventure.
It's Get In Touch With Old Friends week. Didn't you get the memo?
Out of the blue I got an email from one of my closest high school friends, Sarah B. (not to be confused with another close h.s. friend, Sarah W., who I've also lost track of). Sarah was googling people she knew and stumbled across my wedding website. It was good to hear from her.
Then today, I got a message via Friendster from Razak, who was my friend all throughout middle school but who moved away in high school. I have no idea how she found me on Friendster, as I'm registered there under my married name, so it was a surprise hearing from her. Turns out she's in the Bay Area too.
It was very nice to hear that other people are thinking of me and looking me up to get back in touch. I look forward to catching up in detail with them.
Yes, that's right, it's our SECOND anniversary today! Hooray!
And if you'll allow me to address my husband directly...
I love you, Kevin. I thank God every day for you. You are the most wonderful man, and the kindest, most loving soul on the face of the earth. Life gets better every day that we're together and just when I think I couldn't possibly love you more, I do. Happy anniversary.
And from Scout...
Ahroooooo! I love you daddy! You are the best daddy ever to step foot into our house because you give me food! You also give me petties and take me for walks and rub my tummy, but I love it best when we play the game with FOOD. I love you very much, but I could love you even MORE if there were more food involved. Ahrooooooo!
I turn out to be the only guy in the administration that I like. Surprise, surprise.
On the way back from Iowa (Chicago to San Jose) we got a movie: Charlie's Angels Full Throttle. It was so hokey and dumb, I loved it. The three things I liked best about it were the go go Girl Power theme, the fact that the Angels don't use guns, and the way it didn't take itself too seriously. I was a major Charlie's Angels fan in the 70's and often imagined myself growing up to become an Angel :). There was a great scene in Full Throttle where Drew Barrymore's character is down and out, and Jaclyn Smith (one of the original Charlie's Angels from the tv show) made a guest appearance. They also used the same voice of Charlie as the tv show did. Anyway, the movie is nothing to run out and see but it was perfect for a plane ride or an evening where you're willing to suspend disbelief and see an entertaining movie.
We also saw Shattered Glass, a movie about journalist Stephen Glass who wrote for the New Republic and totally fabricated over half of his stories. We saw this one at the theater, not on the plane. Shattered Glass was really good. It showed how Glass pulled the wool over everyone's eyes at some of the most respected publications in the US, and his eventual undoing. If it's still playing near you, be sure to catch it. You won't be sorry.
And finally, we saw Bend it like Beckham. That was a great movie. It had another Girl Power theme and was really funny and touching. The movie showed the difficulty of trying to merge two cultures into one, and the struggle of second generation immigrants to try and keep their culture in a dominant alternate culture. And it had girls playing soccer. I definitely recommend this one.
Boy have I been busy. I just got back from Iowa, visiting the Iowa Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. How many more times can you say Iowa in one sentence? The visit went really well. I got to sit in on two classes and really learned a lot about the program. I'm glad I went.
Sorry for the light blogging. The next few weeks will be crazy ones for me and I'll be in and out.
Alabama Chief Justice Removed from Office. Judge Moore is the guy who installed a giant monument of the ten commandments in the courthouse and refused a direct court order to remove it, claiming God has higher authority than the courts.
From the article:
Presiding Judge William Thompson said the nine-member court had no choice but to give the harshest punishment after Moore willfully and publicly ignored the federal court order. "The chief justice placed himself above the law," Thompson said.
In closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General John Gibbs said Moore's public refusal to obey a court order "undercuts the entire workings of the judicial system."
"What message does that send to the public, to other litigants? The message it sends is: If you don't like a court order, you don't have to follow it," he said.
Make no mistake, this debate has nothing to do with God and everything to do with a judge defiantly unwilling to follow a court order, the very orders he's entrusted by the public to mete out. Such a man has no business being on the bench.
Happy Veteran's Day everyone. Special thank yous to Grandpa, my brother Brad, and all of the other veterans out there who protected and are protecting our freedom.
It's been a week of concerts here in San Jose, which is unusual because normally people don't make a stop here and we have to go to San Francisco or Santa Cruz to catch them.
Last Tuesday we saw Simon and Garfunkel. They were awesome! I had been worried because they sang "America" (my favorite song) on the David Letterman show and they sounded horrible. Like two guys who just happened to be singing at the same time, but not necessarily the same song. They opened the concert with another disharmonic (is that a word? It is now) tune, "Old Friends" and I thought oh no, we're in for a night of this, but after that they were flawless. The harmony was tight and the concert was very enjoyable. Poor Art, he suffered from a bad case of "I have nothing in my hands." Give the guy a guitar and teach him a few chords to give him something to do already! Their choice of songs was great. Well, there were a couple of stinkers (like "At the Zoo"), and a couple of Paul Simon-only songs (like "Slip-Slidin' Away"), but they played my favorites, even the one not on the greatest hits album ("Leaves that are Green").
Tonight we went to a very small concert in a local cafe to see Peter Mulvey. This concert was also very good. The small venue and crowd was nice and personal and we really enjoyed the performance. Peter Mulvey is quite an accomplished guitar player, so no "I have nothing in my hands" syndrome there.
Sorry for the absence. Kevin and I took a very extended weekend trip down South to visit some grad schools and see some friends. We had a good, but exhausting, time.
Lots to cover here so I think I'll do this in two entries. I visited two grad schools on Thursday and Friday: San Diego State and UC Irvine. Both visits went well. I got a lot of good information and got a lot of questions answered and good tips for applying, so that was very fruitful. I also think I made a good impression, which is important. It was definitely worth the trip.
In San Diego we got to see Sasha and Stella, who are both professors (of education) at SDSU, and their sons Isaac (the Genius Child) and baby Aaron. Isaac is a fluent and prolific speaker of both English and Russian and is well on his way to reading both languages. He's 3. Aaron is 5 months and is absolutely gorgeous. We got to spend a good amount of time with them and it was very nice to catch up. However, after spending that time with a very active Isaac, Kevin and I have decided we can wait a little bit longer before having little ones of our own :).
On Saturday we got to see Thai and Tia. Thai and Kevin have been friends since high school (Sasha and Kevin worked together at Boy Scout camp many years ago). We had dinner at a good little Japanese restaurant that was reminiscent of our favorite local eatery, Bento Xpress. Sunday we went to the wedding reception of David and Chelsea. David is another of Kevin's high school friends. They eloped in Scotland this summer (how cool!) and had a nice reception on Sunday. Rain was predicted, but the weather held back for the outdoor party. It was fun to see them again.
We've got some more trips coming up. We're heading to Iowa for another grad school visit, then our anniversary weekend in San Francisco, and then Thanksgiving. Busy month.
I'm officially sick now. The persistent headache that I'd hoped would go away just got worse and so I finally visited the doctor and sure enough--sinus infection with a possible ear infection. My ears don't drain well (they never have, I had huge problems as a kid, and my baby niece Seana has the same problem and needed tubes in her ears). So I got antibiotics, a nose spray, and an extra asthma inhaler. The asthma inhaler doesn't have anything to do with my current problem, except that my old one ran out and I still have problems with cats.
I stopped by the library to drop off my finished library books and to pick up some new ones. I've decided to re-read the 4 Dark Tower books (Stephen King) as the 5th one comes out tomorrow. It's been a number of years since I read the series and I always like to catch up with the series when a new book comes out. The good news is that King has already written books 6 and 7 (the final books) so we don't have to worry about him dying before he finishes the series. Unfortunately the library didn't have all four books, they just had two of them. Lucky for me, they're the first two. I have to read things in order and it would have really ticked me off to have like the second and fourth books. Anyway, hopefully I can borrow the others from my dad, who I'm seeing this week.
Kevin is just aghast that I'm reading Stephen King. I think you had to be hooked on it in high school to be a fan of his horror stuff, but his non-horror stuff is really good. The Dark Tower is fantasy rather than scary, and King knows how to weave a good story. Kevin thought he'd never read/seen any King work, until I reminded him that The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are both King, as is Stand By Me (which he's never seen. Don't worry, it's on our Netflix queue!). Anyway, who are you to judge what I read? I don't have to justify myself to you! I once published an academic paper on an Anne Rice book! So there!
Here's a heartwarming story of how our airlines are going above and beyond to honor our troops and get them home on leave.
Don't miss these pictures from Dorothy's Halloween party. As you can see, Kevin and I came as jailbirds. We bought our costumes at two different places, hence the different colors. Please try to ignore how lame I look in the first picture. Isn't the Spongebob costume awesome? That's Hai-Nhu in there. She had her friend, an artist, paint a box for her. I think it looks very professional. Dorothy, the party hostess, is in the pirate costume. Joel and Susanna are the cowboy/cowgirl, and John (Hai-Nhu's fiance') is in the gladiator suit with the red handprint on his cheek. The last pic is people whose names I don't remember, but they had great costumes as a pimp daddy and Trinity.
It's utter blasphemy, yet funny. Check out Pope Countdown, and enter the pool to guess when JP 2 will meet his maker. You can even guess who his successor will be. The winner gets a trip to Rome (to see the new guy)!
Where am I, and why am I in this handbasket?
Kevin's off to his high school reunion tonight. I hope he has as good a time as I did. I mean that seriously. I had a great time, especially being voted "Most Changed." I considered that a serious compliment.
The new gardener is here, cutting down some of the giant Bush That Ate Manhattan and the palm tree that's pushing over the fence into the daycare neighbor's yard. Funny story. When Jose's wife Anne was here looking at the garden, Kevin pointed out the sagging fence (lest we be blamed for it) and Anne's response was "Eh, whatever." Apparently she hated the neighbors as much as I do. She did mention when we first moved in that she'd had to spend some time on bed rest when she was pregnant and the neighbors were a bit loud. I can just imagine what being confined to a bed must be like.
Anyway, Jose calls this afternoon and asks if the new gardener can come over. Actually his first question, as always, was "Is Keveen there?" because apparently he can't deal with me or I'm not qualified to do things like okay the gardener coming over. So anyway, he asks if the gardener can come and cut back some of the crap, and I'm like okay. Of course, he failed to mention that the gardener was standing outside my door at that very minute. I mean I give the okay, hang up the phone, and 3 seconds later the doorbell rings. I don't know about you, but it was kind of creepy to me. And I hate how Jose always gives up like 5 minutes (or less) notice when someone is coming over.
Oh well. As Kevin says, we're out of here in February. They can get another tenant to pay the gardener.