Monday, July 31, 2006

No job.

I didn't get the job at BCE. I'm very disappointed and sad but I did expect this -- I knew when I didn't hear anything by Friday that I hadn't gotten it. I am sure they hired a better teacher and the school will benefit from this but still . . . I'm very disappointed.

And, now I have so much work to do. I have to find someone to student teach with for the Fall and see if I can get the Math Coordinaton/Homework Club Coordinator position at BCE.

I just really hoped that I would get it -- that my hard work and dedication would count for more than they evidently did.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Sister ROCKS!

Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
My Sister, Jody Sumrall, ran a MARATHON on her 41st birthday! How much does she rock?

She rockety-rock-rocks!

So proud!

Today, the kids and I rode BART from Millbrae to Fremont. We walked about 2 miles back and forth around the race finish area. We went up to Jody and Matt's room on the 17th floor of the Hyatt. We saw George and Gracie [click] from their balcony. Such an amazing day!

Jody's Medal

Adventures in SF

Today, the kids and I are off to San Francisco to support my sister as she runs the SF Marathon on her birthday -- she's turning 41 today!

Well, support AS she runs is a misnomer. She's already running and I'm only supporting by watching the results online ([click] -- her bib number is 3461 her name is Jody Sumrall -- only seems to work on PCs running IE). She started at 6:13 this morning and I don't expect the first result to appear (mile 7.4) for another 35 minutes.

We're leaving here at 8am. Greg will drive us to the BART station in Millbrae and drop us off. Then he's going over to hang out during recording and the kids and I will hop on BART and head off to SF. We'll get off at the Embarcadero station and head down to Justin Herman Plaza were all the action is. We should be there a good 1/2 hour before she could possibly finish.

We're meeting her husband, Matt, and my parents there. I can't wait. I wish I were more organized and had signs and banners and the like. The best I can do is make sure I've got the camera all ready and that we're wearing layers!

So, send good, healthy, running well marathon thoughts out SF way for my sister. I'm so proud of her!!!
Jody and her yarn (She won't thank me for posting this picture but I can't find the one of her finishing the 1/2 Marathon in October sooooooo . . . )

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Finally enough PINK!

Finally enough PINK!
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Between Flickr, Google, and Firefox, I finally have enough pink on my computer. Aren't you pink with jealousy?

Finally Fog Fib

Boulder Creek Today
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Calms the day
Soothes the soul and mind
Eases the heat when I get too hot

© 2006, Liza Lee Miller.
All Rights Reserved.


Sometimes it helps to see where I've been to apprecitaed the work I've already done and to help me focus on where I need to go.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Summer is finally here!

Budding Naturalist
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Now that I'm finished teaching Summer School and we are getting back to normal around here, I feel like Summer has finally started.

Here is Ruthie drawing the scene out the window. She and I filled the feeders this morning. I put a small bowl of nuts and seeds on the table on the deck for the Steller's Jays -- took them about 2 minutes to check it out. Rosie is sleeping in the sun under the table, oblivious to the Jays. They are completely unconcerned with her. My budding naturalist is drawing up the scene. Beautiful.

Gage - Lego Master-in-TrainingIn another part of the house, the Lego Master-in-Training is working on some new space ships that are undoubtedly designed for fighting bad guys! Cool ships, Dude!

Greg the DrummerGreg is packing up his drums. He's recording with Metaphor [click] this weekend. We'll miss him but he's going to have so much fun!

Steller's JayI've researched an option to my normal suet recipe which does NOT work in the summer -- too drippy when its hot. I think Julie Zickefoose's Suet Dough will be just the thing! [click]

Morning Walk

Walk: 1.7 miles; 45 minutes

Location: East Hilton Drive Walk

Observation date: 7/28/06
Notes: Beautiful morning. The wren was scolding me for walking so close to her area. Beautiful start to the day. I heard the owl but reading the descriptions, it could only be a GHO -- the deep thrumming whoooos were amazing. And, I heard a response from much farther away.
Number of species: 8

Great Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus X [click] (Listen to the recording of the Pair Calling on this page -- it could be the owls I heard! Wonderful!)
Acorn Woodpecker - Melanerpes formicivorus X
Western Scrub-Jay - Aphelocoma californica 1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Poecile rufescens X
Winter Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes 1
American Robin - Turdus migratorius 1
California Towhee - Pipilo crissalis 4
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis 10

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 (

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I love being productive . . .

Which makes me wonder WHY I am so willing to procrastinate. Today, I decided that my house was done being a pig sty. (See photo in previous post of the entry to my house -- it's so huge that we call it the lobby -- and you'll see what I mean.) So, the kids and I started working.

The kids cleared out all their toys and shoes (that took care of a huge percentage of the crap that was accumulating!)

I emptied and dealt with all the bags that have accumulated from all our various trips and events. I put away all the luggage that had accumulated in the "lobby" as well.

Gage and I filled four plastic grocery store bags of paper trash that was in varous places around the house.

Ruthie cleaned up the kids' video area which, thankfully, wasn't that bad.

I cleared off the dining room table which we hadn't seen the surface of since before school let out (judging by the geologic evidence).

I am now going to go fold and hang up three baskets of laundry and the load currently in the dryer. Oh joy.

Tomorrow . . . my office/laundry/craft room and the kitchen. Wow. What a job!

What is amazing to me is how much I can get done when the temperatures don't hit 90+ degrees! I don't like the heat -- at all!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Off to Camp Gramma

Off to Camp Gramma
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Off for a day with Gramma, Grampa, and cousin Jordan. They've got everything they need. Including Gage's super special super soaker. He loves that thing! Ruthie looks utterly adorable in that outfit. The shorts are JUST too big for her and she looks so skinny and cute when she wears them.

As you can see my house desperately needs cleaning. I'm sorry to say that it still looks like that but I did get one whole assignment turned in for my Credential Program (4 more to go by August 18!).

Major family drama this afternoon with my parents and sister but when I look at these two, I know it's just more important to focus on them and not let the stress get me down. So, that's what I'm doing.

ToonTown Blog

I finally started a blog just for my adventures on ToonTown [click]. Silly, I know but a passion is a passion. Our house loves ToonTown -- it's safe, fun, and vastly entertaining. Good, clean fun!

Conversation in my house this morning

As I sat quietly at my computer, sipping my first mocha, my darling (ha!) husband says to me, "Gonna take your walk this morning?"

I replied, as any intelligent woman would, "Garble, gurgle, gargle."

"Nice and cool out," says he.

"You are mean!" says me.

"I think Taura took her walk this morning."

"Are you trying to get my competitive streak going?"

"Whatever works."

Minutes of silence pass. I have clearly won this round and can continue to pretend that exercise is just a dirty word that needn't apply to me.

"Ooooo, look. There goes Mrs. Jackson taking her walk."

"I might walk in there and hurt you."

Peals of laughter from the peanut gallery who are currently watching SpongeBob. I choose to believe the laughter was due to my wit and in solidarity with my decision to start walking NEXT week. I'm sure they weren't laughing at a SpongeBob episode that they have seen 300 times prior.

Hmmm, Cheerios for breakfast. On it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An amazingly fun day!

First things first, the interview went as well as can be expected. Any interview that starts with a hug can't be all bad, right? They had a set of questions that they were asking everyone. I got the feeling that they were interviewing more than the 3 candidates I thought. Not great but what are you going to do? I answered all the questions and I think I answered them well. We'll see. It's out of my hands now and they said it would be about a week for an answer. I'm remarkably calm tonight now that my part in it is over.

So, the rest of the day. I headed over to Great America to meet my family. Greg and the kids had left around 10am to get to our spot at Boomerang Bay. We rented a Cabana for the day and it was AWESOME. Closed on three sides, with a ceiling fan above (and a ceiling! :), two lounge chairs, a table with four other chairs. They had a bucket with 3 bottles of water and two Dasani (sponsor) towels. We could order food and they'd bring it to us. So nice! I went and changed into my suit and we kicked back all day. We did the water slides, wading pool, rafted on the creek, ate, drank, and even napped! Just what we needed. It was 105 again today but we were totally comfortable.

The kids were exhausted when we left at 6pm. We stopped at El Torrito's and had dinner. They could barely eat. I was really tired too and missed the turnoff from 101 to 880. I was MILES out of our way before I realized it. doi. Greg stayed to pay the bill at the restaurant and still beat us home.

It's hot here but doable. We're happy and feeling hopeful about life. A good day. Just wish I'd remembered the camera!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stress and heat . . . a beautiful combo

Yesterday, it was 108 degrees at my house. Absolutely miserable. Our house was 92 degrees. Utterly horrific.

This morning, when Greg got up, it was 72 in the house and 69 outside. He got every fan going and put them in front of doors and cooled us down to 70 degrees inside. So, thankfully, we're more comfortable NOW. But, I watched the weather last night and it said that we'd have heat until like Wednesday and then it would cool down to about 97 degrees. Isn't that delightful?

So, tomorrow is my job interview and we're going to Great America to hang out at Boomerang Bay and relax. That part will be totally fun and I'm thrilled about the heat for that thing. But, the job interview.

I'm just so stressed about it. Keep the positive thoughts coming, please.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Liza's yarns

Liza's yarns
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Here is my Crafty Chix project for the day. Gorgeous, huh? I just love it. We dyed wool with kool-aid. So cool.

Very pleased with the results. I didn't get a picture of Jennifer's -- she was able to do a multi-color yarn which is lovely. Jody did all Black Cherry and it turned out gorgeous. Jerryne made felt coasters and said she felt like her grandmother! :)

Anyway, it was a successful day despite the heat! Crazy hot. Outside my house, it's 108 right now and could get hotter. The temp in Scotts Valley (where we were) was 117 degrees while I was waiting in line at KFC. It got down to 104 when we were on the road. Blech! Disgusting heat!

Found Beauty and Made Beauty

Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
I seem to be having trouble taking pictures that aren't all blurry but still this is a gorgeous moth. That pale lime green color. Wow!

Off to Crafty Chix [click] today. We're dying wool with Kool-Aid today. Should be a blast. I also want to dye some other kinds of wool (like old sweaters that I can felt and make things out of ) but I haven't hit the thrift store. It took too long to run my errands and so I was too tired to do it yesterday. That and too hot. It was 103 at my house yesterday.

Celebrating my sister, Jody's birthday [click] today at Crafty Chix. I think it hurt her feelings that Mom wasn't there. Ruthie and I picked out some lovely beads for her and I got her a funny card.

Next weekend the girl runs a marathon [click] for the first time ever! She's amazing!

Hopefully I'll have some wooly photos later to share -- our made beauty. Crafty Chix is SUCH fun.

Friday, July 21, 2006


YIPPEE! Summer school is OVER! Pardon my extreme use of ! and CAPITAL LETTERS but, yes, I am just that excited!

Last night, as if to celebrate my freedom, we went to a baseball game. This is a weird thing for us as we are NOT baseball fans. In fact, we find the sport to be dull in the extreme. But ATT Park (Formerly SBC Park, formerly PacBell Park) in San Francisco is a blast. A company that Greg does a lot of work for arranges this event every year. They do a big bbq at the project and then we all head up to the city and watch the ballgame. It's fun. Kids everywhere. Good times. And, the Giants did great last night with 3 homeruns during the game. Greg got the kids Giant caps and it was all wonderful. Our poor children know NOTHING about baseball. They'd keep looking at the batter and saying, "Oh, he's in black so we're not cheering for him, right?" :) Too cute! Of course, I forgot the camera though so no pics. And, no, never even occurred to me that I had Greg's phone with a CAMERA built-in to it. Sigh.

So, anyway, I'm free.

Free to totally obsess about Monday's job interview.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Blank Canvas

The Blank Canvas
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Well, Robert the Rototiller Guy (see below) came out today. He did the entire backyard area for $40. I couldn't believe it. We were sure he'd up the price but he didn't. Fascinating guy. He arrived in an old Datsun truck that really made me wonder how long it would be in my driveway and what Robert was going to do about it if it wouldn't start again! Thankfully, that didn't happen. Anyway, he has a HUGE rototiller (see below) and made short work of the job. I'm amazed! He also scored an old Datsun bumper and taillight assembly off my neighbor! Win/win.

Now that I can see that gorgeous soil all ready to go, I'm ITCHING to get in there and plant, plant, plant. Unfortunately, the hardscape still needs some work. Sigh! Next step to cover all the soil so that the weeds don't start up again. Then we rent a trencher and make it so that the water moves away from our house in the winter. Then, paths. Lots and lots of paths. Then, lawn, beds, and decorative pieces. A fence of some sort for my rose garden. An arched arbor for the rose garden. A huge urn for Greg's new pomegranete tree. What else. Lots of wine barrels that I suppose I'll be staining red given the success of the red deck. You see, we have a circle theme going in the yard. Can't wait to see it take shape! Stay tuned!
Robert the Rototiller Guy Sorry for the blurry shot! He wouldn't stop moving and I was inside and couldn't use the flash! :)

Oh and please check out the new "i and the bird" [click]

Gander and the Coon

Gander and the Coon
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
While I was bleerily making my coffee this morning, Gander got himself all excited. He was up on the dog run looking out at the creek as if someone was out there. Took me awhile but I did figure out who "someone" was. Can you see "someone" visiting Gander?

Here's the sweet thing. Gander is totally entranced and mesmerized by his visitor but he kept checking the house to see if I was there. Once he saw me, he got all protective and barked in this very deep, throaty bark. My Protector -- he is saving me from the stupid baby raccoon.

And, Rosie, old girl that she is, slept through the whole thing.

Deck with both stains on it

Deck with both stains on it
Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
It's a wretched picture but you get the idea. This is what I did after school yesterday. The gray, I did on Sunday afternoon. The red today. Pretty neat, huh? Our backyard is going to have a circle theme going on. Sort of an homage to the redwood circles we have going on and also due to the inspiration of this show [click]. Greg - the architect - did the design and I can't wait to see if finally implimented. Today, Robert the Rototiller Guy is coming to rototill the backyard. Hot damn! Now we're getting somewhere!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sitting on the deck

The only thing that would have made it better would be a glass of wine in my hand (How Freudian -- I started to spell it whine! :). We sat out on the half-stained deck and checked it out. We made some decisions about the landscaping and plans for plants we'll put in. All very exciting and satisfying. While we were sitting there, we watched a Steller's Jay try to figure out how to get to my suet feeder. He used to jump from the deck rail but it's gone now. I caught him clinging to the side of the suet feeder today doing a chickadee impersonation. Pretty funny. Anyway, we were sitting and talking and started hearing ravens calling to each other. Pretty soon, the distant ones are getting closer and the one across the creek from us is getting excited. Before you know it, we've got four ravens flying around the house doing aerial formation flying over the creek, over the roof, down and then way up into the redwoods. Utterly beautiful. All with their brawk calls going the whole time. I love Common Ravens -- and I find nothing common about them!

It was ridiculously hot today. The house is still crazy hot. Blech. My office seems to be the worst room in the house for cooling. There's a surprise.

(Oops, there's that whine again!)

I am absolutely obsessed about the job at BCE. I started working on a web page design today. AHHHHHHHHHH! I think I've utterly lost it -- I don't know whether to keep working on it (despite all the REAL work I have to do) or worry that I've now officially jinxed my chances of getting this job. Sigh. Instead, I think I'll do some work on the landscape and go to bed. It's late, I'm tired.

Rosie is barking but I'm afraid to go check it out. It might be baby skunks. That would NOT be a good thing. Ahhhh, rural life.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

They're HOME!

Oh I missed them. They are home and it was so nice to see them. Ruthie came at me first -- huge hugs -- she clearly NEEDED her Mom and Dad. Not sad or anything just needed -- physically -- some loving from us. Very sweet. Gage was the opposite. Big hugs, a few quick stories and then he told me he hadn't played computer games for a week and could he go play a computer game. Ha!

Today, they climbed Lambert Dome in Yosemite. 2-1/2 miles and it involved bribing Gage to continue -- he got freaked by the heights. It worked though and Igor payed the $10 that Ruthie promised him and then another $15. :) That's a LOT closer to his Bearded Dragon. Anyway, they did great on the climb and only slept for about 15 minutes on the way home. Poor Igor. He called me from Oakdale asking where the OFF switch was. :)

But, oh my, waking up this morning cuddled up with Greg and having two munchkins sneak in and cuddle with us in bed. AWESOME!

Ruthie is 8 now. Gage is 6-1/2. They were gone 7 days. They are both about 1/2" taller (mountain air?). Welcome home munchkins!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Early Homecoming Likely

Well, a little catch up. Thursday, I kind of played hookey from life in the evening. Greg had to go to a meeting with a client and then had band practice. I needed an escape and he willingly provided it. We went over the hill together and he dropped me at IKEA in East Palo Alto and went on to his meeting. IKEA on a weekday is a revelation. Quiet, peaceful, productive. It was amazing. I bought a few things including a coffee pot for the 5th Wheel (one of those cool push the grinds down to the bottom ones) so I can make poor man mochas when we're camping and not be Le Grand Bitch when I don't get my coffee. They also had a really cute red plastic bar set which I got for the 5th Wheel for making martinis. YUM! Last camping trip I made do with two plastic cups but it just didn't feel the same at all. Then I walked over to Office Depot and got new color cartridges for the printer. I also walked to Home Depot and got landscape fabric and some new pruners! Wheee! Greg picked me up there and then we went to Kohl's. This is my new favorite store. I got a cute new pair of black leather sandals. Yay! Greg got a pair of boots that he needs for general use but also for going up to the Oregon property (big project of his for work) and hiking around the brambles. And, we looked at the great deal they had on luggage. I got three suitcases (two wheeled ones and a carryon bag) in HOT PINK for $40. We checked them all out, got ones with good wheels, and Greg was impressed at the price. So now my old blue one goes to Greg to replace the black one that died and I have luggage too. Ruthie will probably use the smaller pink one and Gage has his little Elmo one which will do for a year or so. Then we'll get him a small one from Lillian Vernon or something. I'm tired of making do when we all go somewhere as a family.

So, anyway, the upshot of all that was that we didn't call the kids. Because when we were done with Metaphor [click] practice, it was too late.

Last night, we were having DATE NIGHT AT HOME. This involved drinking martinis, eating yummy steak, artichokes, and baked potatoes while watching first Pirates movie so we can go see the 2nd one. Before we got started with the drinking part, we called the kids. Well, my mom answered and right away told me that there was a problem. Ruthie is DONE. 10 days is too long and she wants to come home. Gage, on the other hand, was promised 10 days and he wants his damn 10 days, thank you very much! So, conflict. Greg and I immediately feel our blood pressure go through the roof and I can feel him planning how long it will take us to get up there. But, Mom and Igor have a plan worked out -- they are going to take the kids to Lambert Dome in Yosemite to climb and then they'll check in. If Ruth still wants to come home, Igor will drive them home from there. If she's fine, then they'll come back on Tuesday as planned. Soooooooo, that's the scoop.

We're anticipating a call around 1pm letting us know how it played out but I'm 99% sure that we'll have kids home tonight. I'm glad and sad. And, to be honest, surprised. We figured Gage would have the hardest time with the extended seperation but he's having a blast up there and doesn't want it to end. Ruthie is Miss Gung-Ho but she needs her folks and the sameness of her life for stability. It's really interesting insight into our children. Gage has been promised another visit in August by himself if Ruthie doesn't want to come. I don't know how we'll work that out but we'll manage.

Today, Greg and I are moving dog runs and fences and one of our sheds. Then we'll powerwash the deck in preparation for staining it tomorrow. I'm very excited. We picked out really cool colors and it will help to show off the landscaping design that we've worked out with lots of circles in it. We're doing a partial circle of RED and the rest of the deck in GRAY . Should be gorgeous. Fingers crossed! We did a big trip out to research some prices on stuff for the backyard yesterday and figured out a lot of stuff too. We are going to do the paths in decomposed granite. We have to decide between gray granite and the gold granite. We've also decided that instead of a play structure for the kids, we're going to do a trampoline. We think the kids will use it more AND it matches the design better. :)

So, lots going on. For now, I'm going to go get started clearing out Rosie's dog run so we can dismantle it! Wheeeee!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Job Interview

Well, I got the phone call finally and I'll be interviewing for the job that I want. The interview is set for Monday, July 24. AHHHHHH! How will I stand waiting that long? I'm not sure how I'll make it. So stressed and worried about it now. All good thoughts appreciated!

And, in hind sight, I should have realized it would be that day because we have big plans that day. We're going to Great America and renting a Cabana by Boomarang Bay. Greg is SO excited about this and now we'll at least have to be late getting there. I may have to send him and the kids over early and then I can come over later. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl

8 years ago today, I delivered a beautiful baby girl into the world. She is the light of my life. I love her so much. Today, she is a beautiful girl. She's thoughtful and kind. She even treats her little brother well.

I miss her tonight. I'm feeling blue knowing that she's 300+ miles away.

Telephones are great and they help but it won't feel like her birthday until I've got her in my arms again.

Happy birthday, Baby Girl. Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Think good thoughts!

I finally got the phone call. Well, I worked the system and made it happen. No, not the job system. The great cosmic karma system. I knew that if I went shopping today and didn't get home until after 5pm, then the phonecall would have come through. But, if I came straight home from school . . . well, I'd be sitting staring at the phone again.

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Anyway, I have to call tomorrow when school is over (yea, right, like I won't call at recess!). Hopefully, we'll schedule an interview SOON and I can get over this awful anxiety!

Well, I also had lunch with the new judge [click]! I'm so proud of her! We had a great lunch at The Crepe Place [click] in Santa Cruz. YUMMY! I had an aspargus and smoked salmon crepe. Utterly delish! (In fact, I'm finishing it now!) I got to her about how trying cases is going and she got to hear me whine about my little darlings in summer school. Good times!

I talked to my mom and the kids tonight. They are doing well. Art camp is "awesome" and "hard" depending on who you talk to. I'm not sure why Gage is finding it so hard. My mom says it's because he's taking it so seriously and thinking so much. I don't know. Ruthie is having a blast and totally looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning an 8 year old girl. Me, I'm not looking forward to waking up in an empty house tomorrow on Ruthie's 8th birthday. Still, we'll celebrate when she comes home. That way she can stretch it out a lot! I miss them.

Last night, I finally had my normal reaction to being home alone. I couldn't get to sleep. 1:30, I finally turned off the light and said, "To Hell with it, I'll just stare at the dark then." It eventually worked but took awhile. I did okay today but if the same thing happens tonight . . . won't be so good tomorrow!

Monday, July 10, 2006

He loves me!

Greg came home from CalProg [click] with a present for me. Our friend, John [click], was there selling all his used CDs. John had a copy of the above album. Greg bought it for me.

My late father used to play Jesus Christ Superstar on Sunday mornings. I often find myself singing those songs from that brief moment in time.

A favorite, fond memory and the Indigo Girls.

It's like Greg has been paying attention all these years. What an awesome guy!

Sunday, July 9, 2006


Just got home from my in-law's. It turned out it was just us -- kind of fun to be the only ones with them. Relaxing! We played Canasta. It's a Miller Family tradition -- well, really it goes back to the Robechaud's. Greg's grandmother (who Ruthie is named for) was an amazing Canasta player. Jerryne is awesome too. Greg and I are good but very unlucky! Tonight, when we had to meld 50, I got two Jokers in my hand. Then, when I had to meld 120 . . . no wild cards, no pairs, awful. I couldn't have melded 50 then. Stunning. We cleaned up the first two hands and then they obliterated us. Happens everytime! And, yet, we still want to play more! Amazing. It's a game I enjoy. Actually, I usually enjoy card games. But other games . . . too competitive and therefore not fun for me. I'm famous for refusing to play games. But a good game of Canasta or Cribbage. Oh yea, that's fun!

Productive Day!

I got up late this morning -- 9am. Wow! Then got a coffee and croissant for breakfast and got to work. I checked to see when a BIG assignment was due and . . . Friday. Yup. So, I cranked on it. Got it done and off to my advisor for approval by 3:30 pm.

So proud of myself. Another instance where I'm blessed by luck. It just as easily could have been due last Friday. My advisor is evidently very busy and didn't remind us about these or do a meeting to discuss them this time. So, no reminders. So, thanking my lucky stars on that one.

Being alone is fabulous. Greg is at his parents' right now waiting to be picked up and as glad as I'll be to see him, I'm strangely reluctant to go. But, he'll only be here one night and then he's off again. Going to be a weird and introspective week for me. Except of course for the insanity of dealing with Summer School. Gotta get that all organized tonight before bed. Wheeeeee!

Report from Mimi is that the kids are doing great. Playing with other kids -- Bonnie Tamblyn and her daughter, China Tamblyn are doing the art program this summer. My kids are playing with China's kids today. Bonnie's other daughter is Amber Tamblyn [click]. Bonnie and China are both musicians. I got to hear Bonnie sing two years ago -- it was awesome. Great folk music. The kids are going to have a BLAST!

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy-jig

After a quick overnight trip of 320 miles one way, I am feeling remarkably rested. There is something wonderfully refreshing about changing your perspective so completely. I drove through the Bay Area, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada mountains, through two state capitals. I spent time with my kids alone, with my kids and my parents, just my mom, and finally, just myself. I listened to music and NPR. I had time to think deep thoughts.

I saw birds -- not as many as I'd have liked but some. I saw California quail in Nevada, about 20 Canada Geese in a wetland north of Carson City, crows, magpies, Great Egrets, and that's just what I identified. I didn't stop -- these were almost all 60 mph ids. It's the only way to bird!

And, now, I am home alone. It's quite odd, really. I am almost never home alone. It's quiet. The only sound is the fans humming -- it was 96 degrees when I got home today. Delightful (blech!). I am going to relax today and then get to work tomorrow. Schoolwork -- get the next 9 days planned out completely and then. Schoolwork. Schoolwork. Schoolwork.

And, of course, sitting by the phone, biting my fingernails, and eating chocolate, willing the phone to ring with a job offer from BCE. Like the old Mervyn's ads . . . "Open! Open! Open!" I'm thinking, "Ring! Ring! Ring!"

Any good energies focused in that direction will be gratefully appreciated!

Thursday, July 6, 2006


Tonight was one of those packing nights. I could have done little bits off it all week and just gotten the last bit done tonight. I understand some people work that way. Not me. I'm a crazy-last-minute-packing-fool. I don't pack well unless it involves washing each and every piece of clothing in the house, finding things like lost toothbrushes, and finding and washing car coolers. Seriously, isn't all this better when done finished at 3am? I'm honestly feeling a little let down. If you'll glance down to the timestamp, you'll see that I am relaxed enough to sit and blog at not quite 11pm. Clearly, I'm slipping up -- or I missed something BIG!

So, why the packing? Tomorrow, after I finish teaching at 12:30, I head off to pick up the kids from my in-laws. Then, we'll head over to Carson City, NV -- a mere 5-6 hour drive. Oh joy! There I will see my folks' new house and spend the night. The kids are staying with my folks for around 10 days. EEEEEEK! They'll be heading back to June Lake for that time.

They are going to the June Lake Summer Arts Program. Should be a blast! They'll get lots of camping and swimming and playing in too. I also shipped a gift up to them through the services of the good people at LLBean. Here's what I'm sending up:

Rash Guard Suits

How cute are they?

I'm going to miss them terribly but time alone will be replenishing as well as give me a chance to get caught up on my schoolwork. Yay!

So, to bed for me. Maybe I'll get caught up on sleep and not be sooooooo grumpy tomorrow. Maybe my young charges won't be so wiggly, talkative, disruptive, annoying, bored, unwilling as well. Yea. Right.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Backyard Excitement

So, our backyard is virtually a clean slate now. Last weekend, Greg and I did two dump runs with trash and old plastic toys and the like. Monday, Greg pruned a ton of branches. Today, Denny came with a helper and they cleared the branches, redwood debris, and weeds from our backyard and side yard. Amazing!

A clean slate. Greg has designed the most wonderful landscape for us. I'm so excited. I'm researching native plants and planning to do as much of them as possible. Although there are non-natives that I can't live without and I have no problem with that. But, there are some GORGEOUS native plants so why not pick plants that LIKE to live here!

More as it develops. Next step . . . rototilling and trenching. Oh boy! The fun never ends!

Oh, and the happiest member of our extended family? Not Ruth. Not Gage. (Although they were thrilled to have ready access to their play structure again). Not the dogs (although they are similarly thrilled at the clear nature of the land. It's the g**d***ed gopher that has taken up residence. He's THRILLED and has already made several holes and allowed himself to be seen twice. Sigh. I refuse to give in to my Bill Murray side though. [click] I will NOT plant explosives in the backyard! I won't do it.

From the 4th of July Parade

From our Local Monastery
Originally uploaded by The Twosome.
I did not get this picture myself but just love it anyway! This was my favorite moment (well, other than the CHP moment) in the parade! Only in Boulder Creek!

Small Town 4th of July

Our day started with a pancake breakfast at the fire station. YUM! Any time the fireman cook our breakfast is a GOOD day! We always park in the same place and walk a couple of blocks into town. Then we get in line for breakfast. Well, we left Greg in line and the kids and I walked over to Rainbow's End (one of the many coffee shops in town) and I got a large, triple, non-fat mocha with no whipped cream. Then we walked back to Greg and we waited about 1/2 hour but it's a small town so there are lots of people to say hello to and the time passes quickly. We got our plates with 3 big pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sausage. YUM! We ate inside as the sun was already getting warm. Inside means inside the bay where the firetrucks are normally parked. They set up long tables and everyone eats together. Delicious and fun!

When we were done, we still had time to kill. So, we walked down the main street looking in shop windows. We stopped in our local pet and feed store. Ruthie asked about hamsters and they still haven't got any due in -- I suspect we'll have to buy her hamster elsewhere. We walked back to the firestation and staked out a spot near the end of the parade route. The parade is a Boulder Creek tradition [CLICK!]. We have been every year since we moved here and we love it. It's so insanely small town. Every year it starts at one end of town and comes down to our one stop sign, turns left and ends. The highway is detoured so the parade can come down our main street.

We had added entertainment this year. There was a new Highway Patrolman who was told to set up the road closure at the end of the parade. Well, he misunderstood his directions and set up to close the road just before the stop sign. I'm sure he was thinking that the traffic from the highway needed to go that way but he effectively dead-ended the parade. People started calling to him that he was setting up his car and cones in the wrong place. He sort of looked puzzled and carried on. Meanwhile, the parade has begun at the other end of the street. A kind gentleman walked out to him and pointed out his mistake. This young CHP officer basically patted him on the back and assured him that he knew what he was doing. The man -- an older white-haired man in a hat -- came back grumbling about that "stupid idiot." So, the crowd pretty much decided that this would quite entertaining and we'd just see what happened when all the firetrucks arrived at the beginning of the parade. Well, the other CHP officer -- who lives here in town -- is married to the fire chief's daughter and she couldn't just let this poor man learn the hard way. She went out and told him what he needed to do. He didn't really believe her either but she told him he'd batter call her husband on the radio. The firetrucks are about two blocks away now and bearing down on us (as they approach in a zig-zag down the road manner, throwing candy out their windows for the kids). He looked down the road and started to realize it couldn't work. So, radioed for help. The other CHP officer came down quickly in his car, told the young guy to move the cones and he moved the car. The young guy was sheepish and went down to the other end of the parade route rather than face the vast amusement of the crowd at the end of the parade. We did applaud him though!

The rest of the parade was delightful. The firetrucks with their sirens blaring lead the parade. It ends with a lumberjack drill team throwing axes (cardboard ones) and marching in unison. In between you could see anything: the All-American hotdog vendor with a retinue of dachsunds dressed in patriotic colors, a Monk from the local Taibetan monestary walking his dachsund, kids on bikes who just like to be in the parade, the Historical Society float with a period classroom set up on a flatbed truck, a group of belly dancers followed by a troop of girl scouts, a guy on a dirtbike driving over the top of a car repeatedly, and so much more. A wonderful, small town parade!

Around 1pm, we head over to my in-laws for an afternoon by the pool. We eat all afternoon and evening and then drag ourselves up the hillside to sit and watch Scotts Valley's fireworks. They start at 9:15pm. We watch the bats and stars come out while the kids all shout "When will it start?????" The show is always a good one. We're pretty far away from it but it's lovely. We've been doing this since Ruthie was an infant and watched delightedly over my shoulder at the pretty lights. We've done it during the years where the sound terrified the kids and we had to be in the house watching a video to distract them. And, now, they love it and ohhh and ahhh with us as we all watch the show. I got to sit on a bench with Greg and enjoy the show. It was delightful.

After that, we put the kids to bed at my in-law's. Wednesday is "Camp Gramma" day so Greg would have brought them over first thing anyway. He and I came home, did some work, and went to bed. Quiet and peaceful but a little lonely.

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 3, 2006

Watching them sleep

Being a parent involves so many emotions. Joy, of course, sadness, anger, irritation, peace, worry, terror . . . the emotion that surprises me most of all is the humor in parenting. Children do hilariously funny things all the time -- sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes it's purely accidental.

Last night when I went to bed, I checked - as I always do - on the children. Ruth was curled up in a little ball with blankets all around her like a nest. The day had been very hot but, as is typical in California summers, the night had gotten cool and she was chilled now. I drew a quilt over her. Gage, on the other hand, was draped across his bed sideways. His feet against the wall and his head and shoulders dangling down the side of the bed. I had to slap my hand against my mouth to keep from laughing outloud and waking him up. Sound asleep and completely upside down from mid-chest on. I gently scooped him back into his bed and covered him up too.

When Ruthie was a toddler, we started our bedtime rule. Bedtime means you get in bed. You can read, play with toys, sing, whatever you want as long as you are in bed. It kept us sane and not fighting with her. She was almost always asleep within a half-hour anyway and it was a half-hour spent listening to her sing and "read" to herself rather than battling with her. It just worked for us. I would find some funny things in bed with her though as she'd break the "stay in bed" part to get that one special toy she'd forgotten.

I always knew that checking on my children sleeping would be a special mother moment in each day. I just didn't know that I'd find it so rip-roaring funny much of the time.

A Mother Moment

Tonight when I went in to peep
(as I do 'most every night)
at you in your peaceful sleep
(rumpled warm cozy -- what a sight)
I could see that when you were meant to be sleeping,
in the dark you'd been out creeping,
gathering precious loot for safekeeping.

Snuggled in your bed with you were
two books (one about Winnie, the other Sam I Am)
one beach ball, a hairbrush
three stuffed animal friends (bear, bunny, and lamb)
and, of course, Elmo sleeping next to your pillow.

I can see you so clearly -- in my mind -
sitting up in bed with your treasures
Singing and reading and cuddling them tight
'Til at long last slumber draws you into Good Night.

© 2000 Liza Lee Miller

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Perfecting procrastination

I think I am mastering the art of procrastination. For years, I've procrastinated by playing, reading, resting, delaying. But now, I can procrastinate by working. Work can't be a bad thing, right? Working on the deck -- cleaning it off, sweeping it, hosing it down . . . that's all good, important work. Hooking up the new hose and giving the plants a good drink . . . that's important. They need it. Moving the table and putting the umbrella in it. That's all important work too. How can I possibly look back and decide that those things aren't important? They simply are.

So, I spent the day working and yet -- I did not get my main goal today accomplished. Since I don't want to do my schoolwork, I will find ways to avoid it.

In the hammock at my in-laws' this afternoon (okay, okay, hammock time is total procrastination, no two ways around that one!), I saw a Red Tailed Hawk acting most unusually. It was hot -- so maybe that was it. He was sitting in the top of a large pine, squawking repetedly. Over and over again, he was complaining about something. I saw him fly from one tall tree to another and sit and squawk. He was really getting into it -- wings out, whole body movements. An annoyed bird flew at him and then he headed off out of my line of site. Was he a young bird who was wondering why Mom wasn't bringing his dinner? I don't know but I enjoyed watching him.