Thursday, September 30, 2010

This is HARD!

Since this past January, I've been attending meetings of our school board. It is a small district, and it is in deep financial straits. I wanted to figure out what was going on, especially since I knew a school bond was going to be proposed on the ballot this November. Since I am generally a "No" on anything that means more taxes, I had to be pretty convinced to swing to "Yes", and potentially advocate that OTHERS also pay more taxes.

Well, I did get convinced.

I drank the Kool-Aid.

And now I call strangers and try to convince them too.

Yeah, I'm part of a phone bank that cold calls voters to check and see how things are going with the bond. Since I am NOT a phone person, this is just short of burning my own flesh, or pulling out my own teeth. Except it lasts for hours.

So I ditch my family several nights a week to spend it on the phone calling people during their dinner time.

Does that sound crazy to you?

Yeah, me too.

Fortunately Mark (who has historically been even MORE opposed to new taxes) is supportive, and even tells me he will vote "yes".

Obviously he takes that "for better or worse" stuff pretty seriously!

Maybe I'll make him some extra special Hamburger Helper tonight. ;-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Call Now!


And tell your friends!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Star Wars Road Trip

Both Abigail and Mae love to set up intricate tableaus of toys, creating "The World's Smallest Zoo", or "The Magical Pet Shop" where Mark and I are directed to shop and recite given lines with exacting precision. On this particular day, I found Abigail busy at work:


Princess Leia looks a little startled to find herself here:


We'll throw in some friends, a boat, and a Cinderella coach:


Ahh. Very pleasing.


I'm in love with Star Wars all over again. Someday soon we'll watch it with the girls!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Soccer Mom is Born

We have officially entered the soccer community here in the foothills, with the girls playing on an "under 8" team. Mark is the assistant coach.

And I am a soccer mom...and one of a horde of unofficial photographers.

We went out for our first game last Saturday. With two practices under their belts, the girls were versed in about 2% of the concept of the game, but they were excited to be out there, ready to play in their official uniforms:


Here they've moved to the actual field, and have met their first fan:


Warm up drills. That's Abigail on the far left--doesn't she look like an old pro?!


Getting ready for the game--the ref is checking their gear. The head coach is the woman standing next to the ref. Her husband, on the far left, coaches an older team, so he also coaches her coaching the kids, since he's been doing it for years. All in all, this will be one well-coached team!


Here's Mae, mixing it up with the other team. Yes...our little girl!


However, that is the END of the action shots, since I was taking video as well. Both girls actually kicked the ball during the game, which to me means the game was a complete success. Their team did win, due to the other team kicking one into our goal. Ah well, the girls were so excited, we'll take it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labor Day Getaway: Part 3

Just a few more pics to wrap up the tale of high Sierra trip. In between horseshoe games and trips to the camp store, we did get out and about.


We walked the shore line, and had to ford a muddy creek bed. Not to be deterred, my sister Gail and Mae trekked down INTO the mud, which Gail then decided would make excellent war paint.


Although Gail is a master of persuasion, she could not talk Mae into donning mud make-up. But doesn't she make it look fun?


Mark and I, along with the girls, also went on a guided nature walk. We learned how to identify different trees, shrubs, and flowers in the high country. Even the girls can now identify a "gentle Jeffrey" pine!


However, you can only take so much nature talk when you're six. Every few minutes, they'd creep off to play. Fortunately, not too many snakes live at that altitude!


We did see signs of other wildlife, though.


In fact, on the last night, something came into our campsite and knocked over a cooler (which we SHOULD have had in the car, but it only had drinks and pickles, so...we thought it would be stealthy). Apparently, either bears like pickles, or they recognize coolers as the crunchy outer shell of more tasty things. I think it is the latter, since the pickles were left behind relatively intact. So was the Coors Light and Diet Shasta.

I'll bet that was one disappointed bear!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Labor Day Getaway: Part 2

Today, I'll share some memories of our campsite at Lake Edison.

Pros:
Gorgeous setting
Gigantic sites
Next to clear mountain stream
Close to beautiful white sandy beach
Next to camp store

Cons:
Also next to generator that ran from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

As you can see, the pros outweighed the cons, although that was a doozy! Despite the daytime noise, we might just choose the same sites again (we had two for our party of ten) because the combination of the two spots was so large and private. And the silence at night is appreciated, perhaps even more.

Here's our little tent city in progress:


The beautiful lake:


The white sandy beaches...endless entertainment for the kids:


Horseshoes...endless entertainment for the adults. Actually, EVERYBODY played!


And my sister Gail with her three. Scotty is in classic form:



Next time, I'll share some of our "out and about" adventures.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Getaway: Part 1

Over the Labor Day weekend, we headed to the high Sierras, camping at Lake Thomas A. Edison, and dunking at Mono Hot Springs. What a rewarding experience! As many of you know, at one point, Mark and I were pretty set on retiring in Colorado, because we loved the rustic beauty, the weather, and the many outdoor activities. This weekend was a little reminder that we have equally beautiful settings right here in California (above and beyond that little park called Yosemite).

Here is a little map of our trip:


We went so far in, we actually ended up not far from Bishop and Mammoth Pools, on the eastern slope of the Sierras. It was about 2 1/2 hours of mountain driving at its finest--the last 25 miles were single lane winding roads which actually carry two-way traffic. We followed a garbage truck part of the way. After the initial amazement at seeing your routine garbage truck cruising around in the wilderness, we found it very convenient to have him running point on our little caravan. But I don't think you could pay me enough to drive that thing on those dinky roads sketched into the steeply-sloped mountainside!

Here is the view at Mono Hot Springs:


They had natural hot springs for soaking:



And a clean, clear stream for fishing and splashing:



Talk about quality family time! Here's Abigail, with my niece Megan:


And Mae with Casey:



Definitely worth a return trip, if anyone is up for it!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

stasis

sta·sis [ stáy-siss, stá-ssiss ]; noun

Definition:

1. motionless state: a state in which there is neither motion nor development, often resulting from opposing forces balancing each other

2. medicine stoppage of flow of body fluids: a condition in which body fluids such as blood or the contents of the bowel are prevented from flowing normally through their channels

3. biology state of no change: a state in which there is little or no apparent change in a species of organism over a long period of time. It is most evident in so-called living fossils such as the coelacanth, which have remained unchanged for many millions of years.

Mid 18th century. Via modern Latin< Greek, "standing, stoppage"]

Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.


Thank you, Encarta.

I'm not sure if it's because my blood is pooling, my bowels have stopped moving, or I'm simply caught in the midst of unseen opposing forces, but I am in a motionless state.

For so long now, things have been moving along, lickety split. We moved in, we unpacked lots that day. We slept in our beds. We unpacked more and more and more. And then, it seems, everything has stopped. Perhaps 15% still lingers out in the open. Mocking me. Taunting me. Annoying me. Bruising my delicate psyche.

And now it is growing.

Because life continues to go on, and we have papers and clothing and artwork, and when I can't find the proper place to put something, I'll just put it in this existing pile, since I already have to deal with that.

It ain't healthy.

Here...take a look.

These are the documents accumulated over a year and a half that we need to file in our "regular" files.


These are products of the girls' entire kindergarten year.


Some bedroom essentials:


Stuff for the "I love me" wall, which we forgot to include in our planning. NO I love me wall???? What???!!! Maybe the bathroom, where I can reflect on all my achievements?


Just so you don't think it's ALL me...


And these are empty boxes that Mark is saving for a fort for the girls.


And once we resolve these...we still have THESE lingering issues.





Do we have to actually get all this done before we throw a party? Or maybe we should just have a bonfire?