Monday, December 29, 2008

Indiana Jones & the Alligator Temple

3 hours of extreme, focused, and highly serious Lego construction - condensed to one minute and 22 seconds for your viewing pleasure.  It's just like you were here.

And we only have 9 more Lego sets to build. Oy. Good thing I took the week off. 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Are you there Santa?

Dear Santa,

I know you're really busy today, but I felt compelled to write. First of all, my whole family really appreciates that you and your helpers take the time to write back to little children who send you their wish lists.  We know that with all the toy building, wrapping, merry making, and reindeer care-taking, you and your staff are awfully busy.  Which is why you must have hired some new elves this year to help with the letter writing.  

That's what I wanted to write you about, to let you know that you have a little bit of a quality control problem in the letter writing department.  I'm guessing that you have some new helper elves, or perhaps a new Letter Department Supervisor there?  In any case, someone there at the North Pole is letting quality slip just a little bit.   I've enclosed a copy of the letter my daughter (that's daughter, not son) Zoe received this week, for your reference.  

First there was the  mistake of confusing Zoe for a boy.  We thought, OK, the elves mixed up and sent us somebody else's letter. Perhaps there is a little boy named Zoe out there. But we continued reading, and Santa, I'm sorry to say, but my first graders spell better than this elf.  Tryed? Helfers? We knew it was serious when he spelled your name wrong.   

I was certain you would want to be informed of this very unusual and uncharacteristic slip in quality at the North Pole.   I'm sure you'll be doing some letter-writing and spelling skills-building workshops in the new year for your new staff. 

You must already be on top of the situation though, because later the same day, we received the real letter you sent, special late delivery by the post office too, that was a nice touch.  Zoe was VERY relieved to get the real letter from you, thanks for following up.  

As always, the cookies and carrots will be out tonight for you and Rudolph.  Travel safely, and Merry Christmas!!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the Third Day of Christmas, My True Love Called to Me....

"We've got 3 stopped up sinks, 2 sick kids, and a bro-ken washing machine!"
I kid you not, she actually called me to say that. And well, to be precise, it was 6 days before Christmas. When does the 12 days of Christmas start anyway? 12 days before? 12 days starting on Christmas? I suppose I could just google that and find out, huh?

Anyway. 6 days before Christmas and the washing machine gives up the ghost 20 minutes after 3 sinks completely backed up. Oh. Goody. Surprisingly, none of these contraptions spilled a drop of water on the floor, so I suppose that's the silver lining. But let me tell you, on the Friday night before Christmas, the last thing you want to be doing is shopping for new washing machine. Ugh. I mean double ugh. I'm trying to avoid the mall as it is. Appliance shopping during this madness? PLEASE NO.

So Friday night I get on these here interwebs, sign up for a month's subscription to Consumer Reports, and quickly identify a suitable washing machine that won't break the bank. Then I go shopping for it online. Home Depot has it. They can deliver it too. As soon as NEW YEARS EVE. Or, alternatively, I could pick it up in the store in as little as 19 days. Um, who's got that much underwear that they can go 19 days without a washing machine? Not ME, that's who. So I call Lowe's. Not only do they have it, they take my order over the phone quickly and efficiently, with no excessive hold times, they even call me back twice, and each time within 5 minutes. Everyone on the phone is knowledgeable, efficient, and pleasant. And the only reason I'm writing that is because it is so unusual, which of course, it shouldn't be. To top it off they can have it delivered on SUNDAY. The Sunday before Christmas. And I called them at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Isn't that incredible?? So we have a new washer.

On to the plumbing. I call a local guy - big shout out to Dennis at Turbo Plumbing! I'd give him a link, but he doesn't seem to have a web page. Too busy plumbing I guess. I called Dennis at 7 p.m. too, got his answering service. He called me back within 10 minutes and said although he hadn't planned to work on Saturday, he would. And he came at 10:00 the next morning. Now he did show up first at our neighbor's house up the street. Our lesbian neighbors. Those lesbian couples on our street they all look the same. But Amy redirected him, and he came, snaked out the drains, installed a new cleanout, and left. Great guy, Dennis is. If you need a plumber in Castro Valley, he's your guy. (Don't know what it cost yet....he hasn't sent the bill yet.)

Washing machine - check. Stopped up sinks - check.  Sick kids - 2 doses of children's Nyquil - and off to bed with you! Check.  

Time for some spiked eggnog for the mommies!

Happy Christmas!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lows and Highs

On Election day my complete elation at Obama's election was tempered by the overwhelming, crushing defeat that was Prop 8.  This protester captured my feelings exactly.   
Since the election I was reconciling with the defeat, happy at least that the decision would be fast tracked and go to court as early as March.  

But then. Obama picked Rick Warren to give the inauguration blessing. Rick Warren.  He actively campaigned FOR Prop 8.  But it's not JUST that. Warren, in an interview with, has since equated allowing loving same-sex couples to get married with redefining marriage to permit incest and pedophilia. And now President-Elect Obama, MY President, who purportedly supports gay rights, has given this guy a national platform from which to preach.

Now I'm all for the "let's disagree, agreeably" approach. I get it. I get holding conversations with people you disagree with. If you don't communicate, how can you ever change? But. But - he could have done that in a less prominent way rather than at the inauguration. AND he needs to make a strong statement on Civil Rights. Gay Marriage is the THE Civil Rights Issue of our time.  It is critical that he address it, and address it well.  With leadership and courage; not baby steps. Check out this post which states it so well.  SIGH. 

BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE.  Ken Starr - KEN STARR - becomes the attorney for the Yes on 8 people AND petitions the court to OVERTURN the 18,000 gay and lesbian marriages that took place this summer. UGH. I'd love to crawl under a rock until President Obama takes office, but then, oh wait, yes, there's that Rick Warren at the inauguration issue again. AAAAAARGHHHH.  

I didn't even want to write about any of this because I was feeling so disappointed by it all.  But then....THERE'S MORE.  Gavin Newsom is a personal hero for me because of the courage, foresight and leadership he showed in 2004 in enabling gay and lesbian weddings in San Francisco in the first place.  He just said "this isn't right" and made it happen. Well, I have a new hero today.  Jerry Brown, who initially said that as Attorney General of California he would support the law if the voters passed it, on Friday stated that he and his staff have determined they CANNOT support this law, and have ASKED THE CA SUPREME COURT TO OVERTURN IT.  Taken from AP below....
"Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification," Brown said.

The authors of the state Constitution, he said, did not intend "to put a group's right to enjoy liberty to a popular vote."

"It became evident that the Article 1 provision guaranteeing basic liberty, which includes the right to marry, took precedence over the initiative," he said in an interview Friday night. "Based on my duty to defend the law and the entire Constitution, I concluded the court should protect the right to marry even in the face of the 52 percent vote."

Asked about his change of position, Brown said Friday evening that since his initial comments the day after the election, he and senior lawyers in his office had looked closely at the court's precedents and at the recent marriage ruling and concluded they couldn't defend Prop. 8.

"We have a conflict between the amendment power (through voter initiatives) and the duty of the Supreme Court to protect minorities and safeguard liberty," Brown said.

Fundamental rights in the state Constitution, including the right to marry that the state's high court has recognized, "become a dead letter if they can just be amended" by popular vote, Brown said.
EXACTLY what we have all been saying.  So YEAH Jerry Brown!  You've pulled me out of the political doldrums!  Thank you for doing what's right and for showing leadership on a Civil Rights Issue.  Hopefully President Obama will take notice.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dear Sophie

Whoa. That's COOL.  I am quite certain that I never received a personal letter from Santa as a kid. This is of course in response to Sophie's letter to Santa

Last year Zoe got a printed letter from one of Santa's elves; but this, this is the man himself. 

You've got to hand it to him; Santa is GOOD. Sophie is SOOOO holding it over her sister that she got a personal letter from Santa, and that he has something special just for her in his sack.   

And wow am I wishing I hadn't let them mail their letters to Santa a week apart.  Cause, um, what if Santa gets busy and doesn't have time to answer any more letters? Or if say, Santa's handwriting or stationary changes? Or if the elves write back instead? Or if no one writes back? 

Note to self: force children to mail Santa letters together forever more. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

AGAIN with the Tooth Fairy!

This is getting ridiculous!

This one's a little graphic.  And it's quite surprising that Sophie's smiling so much considering her fear of blood. We told her it was bleeding, and she didn't care.  Looking forward to the Tooth Fairy loot I think. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tooth Fairy redux

Ok, this Tooth Fairy business is getting serious.  It's hard to keep up.  I missed posting about the last two visits, which took place in October and then the night before Thanksgiving.  Zoe's last tooth involved much hand wringing, sobbing, tears, cries to "Pull it out! No don't!" all in one breath. And that was just me.  You should have seen Zoe.  The Tooth Fairy must have known, because she left 2 gold dollars this time, instead of the usual 1. Or perhaps she's just adjusting for inflation?

Because I know you want a play by play of this exciting action, here's what you missed.

We called her Snaggletooth. 

And now, sans tooth. 

First front tooth missing. 

And here's "after" number two.  The night before Thanksgiving. 
What a smile. 
Ok Mama, I'm tired of showing you my teeth now. Leave me alone. 
Just one more, k?  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dear Santa I bin reely good

Dear Santa, 

If you hear of any really good sales on Star Wars Legos or Indiana Jones Legos (or Spongebob or Castle or any other Lego sets) - could you let me know?

P.S. I been really, really good too.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can't Slep

Sophie couldn't sleep the other night.  I came home late from work, she'd been in bed for a while, but kept getting up saying she couldn't sleep.  We kept sending her back to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat a half dozen times. She was getting more and more upset. Finally we caved and let her sleep in our bed, where she continued to cry and whine for a while more. When we finally came to bed, this is what we found there.

A note.  

Notice her fine spelling skills. 

The note was right next to this. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yard work

Ok, so maybe the mushrooms on my lawn weren't exactly the size of dinner plates.  Or maybe that one disappeared....I SWEAR there was a huge one there last week.  Anyway, I finally decided to get out in the back yard and do some much needed maintenance.  So here are the mushrooms from my lawn (you know you wanted to see them). 

This photo right here - it gives me the willies just looking at it. Blech! And no, that is NOT my hand.  I made Laura get rid of them. 

Ok, so then I took a larger look at the lawn. Did I say lawn? I meant enormous bed of pine needles and oxalis weeds. 

So I mowed it.  I'm pretty sure that the last time I mowed the lawn was the week before Halloween.  Is that bad? Oh well. Looks better now, doesn't it? (Please ignore the long extension cord that I couldn't be bothered to remove from the lawn before taking this photo.)

Now, on to other things.  Remember this tree? 

This is what it looks like now. #$*&! tree.  And no, it did not drop all those leaves into that nice neat little pile.  That pile came a price. The price of "I'll let you have 2 Oreos each if you sweep up those leaves for me." 

But the kicker is that the tree is no where NEAR done dropping those leaves; it still looks like this.
Well, technically there are 2 trees in that picture, but still.  I'm going to have to buy another bag of Oreos to keep up with this mess.  

Oh and cleaning up those leaves and getting rid of them...wait, did someone say it's 5:00? Cocktail hour?  Excuse me, I have to go inside.  New Belgium Brewery's newest brew is waiting for me in the kitchen.  Have you tried Trippel (pronounced Triple)?  It's goooooood.  The leaves will have to wait. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prop 8 the Musical

I know, you thought I was done posting about Prop. 8.  I had to share this though. 

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dear Santa

I did my best to darken this up so you could read it. But in case you can't make it out:

     Santa can I Ples have this. 

     from Sophie

     I bin good. Mac Sur you mac it big

Trust me Sophie, he will make it big. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Traditionally we bust out the Christmas decorations on the day after Thanksgiving.  With the Christmas decorations come the Christmas toys.  Special toys that are only out until just after New Year, and then get tucked away again until next year.

Last year, with the girls off for their first ever Thanksgiving week holiday, we decided to break out the toys early, so they could play with them while they were home from school.  So now we have a new tradition.  

I think it's a toss up who really likes these toys most, me or the girls.  My next most favorite is the Playmobil nativity set, which inevitably ends up merging with these.  What, you don't have an Abominable Snow Beast or Rudolph in your nativity scene?  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Who says we don't have seasons in California?

Thanksgiving has come and gone, as has the turkey, and nearly all of the post-Thanksgiving turkey soup too.  (Don't ask how I managed yet another party at my house with no photographic evidence - perhaps it was all my bar-tending that kept me distracted?)  Anyway, Fall is full swing in my backyard - meaning the big tree in the picture (someone told me it's a pepper tree?) has turned completely red, then yellow, and is now dropping leaves all over the backyard. 

The girls took it upon themselves to sweep them up on Sunday.  And then of course jumped in them, scattering them all over the yard again.  

However, I'm not nearly as concerned about that as I am about the dinner-plate-sized mushroom growing in the middle of my lawn. Eww. Ick.  It's been raining a little, once every 3 days or so.  Just enough to keep the lawn too wet to mow down the giant fungus.  Which I suppose is probably the exact wrong way to take care of it, as I'm sure it would scatter fungus spores all over the lawn. But if any of you know how I feel about mushrooms (and I'm sure many of you do...) you'll know that I'm not coming any closer to that huge monstrosity than getting behind the lawn mower.  Maybe I could handle a shovel. Maybe.  Perhaps tomorrow morning I'll use my telephoto lens from the deck and take a picture of it to show you exactly how gross it is.  

I know you're looking forward to that aren't you?