Thursday, July 31, 2008

tough nut to crack

i have a peculiar bruise on my arm received when i was carrying a giant box of shelves into the house. located in the middle of my forearm, it bears an uncanny resemblance to a cross. it's actually kind of cool, except that it's upside-down to me.

it is extremely noticeable, though, since it is quite a deep bruise and i am pretty pale. kisu lamented that people might think that he abuses me (as if i couldn't kick his butt), but that would be a strange kind of abuse: beaten with a crucifix.

i kind of like it, though, because it's a temporary tattoo, and it draws attention to my sleekly muscled arms. besides, bearing bruises (received for innocent reasons) is an indicator of toughness (or clumsiness, but you know, let's focus on the positive, okay?)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ce kids' day

it ended up being a fun day, albeit a little warm.

i was worried that the older kids would be bored, but i wanted chris to see what an artist might be able to do at an ad agency. that didn't exactly work out as planned, but he said he had a good time regardless.

bug had a blast running around and charming everyone. pooka had fun in the bounce house and the inflatable slide. i think they all enjoyed making their art projects. (unfortunately, they didn't win their age brackets.) and my coworkers gracefully tolerated their presence: covering the floor with their art in progress, teen-age bickering, and toddler screeching.

3 is a (black) magic number

there's some weird voodoo going on between work and birds. 2 years ago, i hit a bird coming off the freeway and although i didn't kill it, it left a macabrely beautiful imprint on my bumper. almost as if it had been coated in fairy dust.

last month, there was this mournful incident.

this morning, there was this:

aren't birds supposed to get out of the way? so often they're weaving in and out of traffic, playing chicken as it were, only to swoop away at the last second. clearly birds have a precise, inherent sense of timing and space that enables them to survive this game. well, this guy missed my windshield, but obviously didn't factor in my roof rack. when we found him, he had one wing crooked over the bar while the rest of his body had passed under it. oops.

this happened on the off-ramp of the freeway and as we came to the red light at the end of the ramp, other vehicles were pointing at us, trying to draw our attention to the fact that we had a dead creature on our roof. as if we didn't notice the horrific thump it made on impact!

and of course this had to happen when i had a carful of witnesses, too. the teenagers were somewhat shocked and expressed (in my opinion, fake) disgust. fortunately, pooka seemed unfazed and bug was oblivious.

when we got to work, chris retrieved a stick and pushed the bird onto the ground, and then i aske done of the building maintenance men to dispose of it. i figured they would have gloves and shovels and other appropriate tools. when we returned to the truck later in the day, all that was left was some small white feathers.

well, at least i got blog fodder out of it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

fun with flickr

from spell with flickr. fun things you can find when you are killing time with your kid at work.

P/Pepsi-Cola o003 o-sf4 k17 a21


'K' 'I' 'S' 'Pewter

M is for metro e- G A

Pastry Cutter C H for HYUNDAI patr I ots C K - for kex

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


what a lovely evening. sitting at the table, reading and munching on roasted vegetables freshly picked from my garden. a little olive oil, a little lemon-tinged herb blend. yummy.

i am really getting into this gardening thing. some evenings i go out and spend 15 minutes pulling weeds, admiring the greens, checking the status of the fruit, decompressing. aside from the therapeutic aspect of having a garden, you can't beat the taste of fresh picked veggies.

oh. the. sweet. peas!

i wish we'd done this years ago, but then again we needed the grunt labor expertise of dad and tina to get us started. thanks, guys!

i look forward to having a garden every year now, and would like to try to vary the crops a bit. the corn failed last year, and so far the peppers are not doing much, but the pickles are starting to hit, and the zucchini has been prolific. (plus we have a rogue carrot from last year amongst the squash plants.) it'll be fun to see what we can grow that the kids will actually eat.

the zucchini has been prolific, but until recently, i hadn't gotten any. the first one went to adrian, the next 2 to tina, another to our friend kim (for picking up the girls from day care and saving us a whopping late fee and possible expulsion). i anticipate a bumper crop and so am looking for recipes and (sneaky) ways to use them. pam mentioned that she has nana's recipes for zucchini bread and bread & butter pickles, so i am looking forward to continuing a delicious tradition, as soon as she finds the recipes. i also found a recipe for zucchini-lemon cake which i intend to take to the day care picnic. all the parents will love that i snuck veggies into their kids' bellies in the guise of a frosted treat.

Friday, July 18, 2008

family phobia match game

i'm just the kind of geek who thinks it's interesting to know the names of different phobias. there are some really wacky fears out there. some are so specific you wonder why they bothered to name them (auroraphobia: fear of the Northern Lights). some are so benign it's hard not to puzzle over the reason behind it. whatever would cause you to be afraid of string (linonophobic)?

but that's just it, isn't it? phobias are irrational fears so there isn't always a reason behind them. although some people have some very strong fears that arise in a legitimate way. someone who was bitten as a child by a snake could understandably grow up to be ophidophobic. then again, they could grow up to be steve irwin. someone who has many bad experiences may end up panphobic like monk, paralyzed by so many fears that it's nigh impossible to live a regular existence.

but sometimes, you can have a little fun with phobias. i've compiled a short list of some mostly benign phobias below. see if you can match (and identify) the fear with the family member:


here's a gratuitous pooka photo to prevent you from peeking at the answers:

belonephobia (needles) pam; vestiphobia (clothes) gamma; bromidrophobia (body smells) danica; kainophobia (new things) pooka; coprastasaphobia (constipation) me; homilophobia (hearing sermons) kisu; the last one is a trick question because obviously bug is not afraid of anything. but for the record counterphobia is the preference of a phobic for fearful situations.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

i must be richard roeper

uncharacteristically, kisu and i have been to see several movies in the last few weeks. real movies, like, in the theater and stuff.

this is due mainly to visiting kevin and marianne and taking advantage of the fact that kari is confined to the house (due to recently giving birth). late night shows mean all she has to do is make sure the house doesn't burn down while all the munchkins are sleeping in it.

of course, late night shows also mean that we may fall asleep while watching, but whatever: "we're at the movies!"

first we went to see wanted. marianne and i both nodded off here and there. for me, the biggest gap occurred in the climactic chase/gunfight scene. you know, constant action and gunfire sometimes leads to sensory overload and the brain just says, "night-night." i did wake up for the big reveal at the end of the action, though, and managed to follow the movie to its eventual conclusion.

the next weekend, we split into boys vs. girls. i really didn't have that much interest in seeing hellboy 2. marianne and i went to see wall-e, even though i nearly decided in favor of staying home and going to bed. (kisu and pooka had a date to see it the next day, so i figured if i wanted to catch it i had to now.) it was good, but not what i had expected, although i can't even say what i did expect, given that the trailers were incredibly vague. i certainly expected more dialogue, that's safe to say. i was left wondering whether pooka would really enjoy the movie and whether she would get the messages embedded in it.

as we found out the next day, she did enjoy it, although i didn't hear any further commentary from her regarding it, instead she talked about how much she enjoyed going to lunch afterwards.

so if you're not keeping score at home, that's 2 for me and 3 for kisu. i evened up the tally wednesday when i took pooka to see (finally!) kung fu panda after the clinic visit. we had a good time, despite the fact that she spent a good portion of the show crushing my lap with her never-ending fidgeting. there were a lot of cliched asian aphorisms. i suppose they were knew to the kids, but they came off a bit trite to those of us who remember the original 'wax-on/wax-off' master. overall, however, it was a very good movie. not one that will be a merchandising darling, but one i definitely see including in our home collection, if only so that we can repeatedly hear, "skadoosh." the overarching moral of the story was valuable, too. i only hope that kids actually register it.

now the big attraction is coming up: dark knight. right now kisu and i are trying to figure out who needs to be bamboozled into babysitting so that we can get to the show this weekend.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

camp quality drop-off

i suppose i should tell you about dropping pooka off at camp before i tell you about picking her up. that would be reasonable.

i was a little nervous about how she would handle it, because she maintained for so long that she wasn't going to go. 3 weeks ago when jane (her companion) sent her an email, she started to get excited, although she didn't really want to admit that to us.

the night before, she did NOT sleep well. she tossed and turned, kicked, cried out, "No, " and in general expressed a lot of anxiety in her sleep. this is according to my niece who had the distinct misfortune of trying to sleep next to her. being two floors above, we heard none of this and slumbered blissfully tossed and turned anyway since we were in someone else's bed (which used to be our bed, but that's beside the point).

i didn't realize quite how nervous kisu was to be dropping off his first-born child into the arms of strangers in the wilderness where they had no access to communication devices. well, the kids didn't anyway. (boy are we spoiled by cell phones, or what?) i was mainly worried about how she would adjust; i knew she would be taken care of.

when we arrived at the campgrounds, jane was thrilled to meet us and started to jump right into getting to know pooka. pooka, typically, was a bit more reserved and that demeanor was augmented by the fact that she had just woken up from her 'on-the-road' nap.

she quickly warmed up, however, and we stayed awhile to watch her get acclimated to the surroundings and to cement her transition to the substitute parent. they tackled a few crafts and then we all went to get lunch. during lunch we relayed some insights to pooka and jane shared some of her background. once that was done, jane said that they were going to attempt the scavenger hunt and we took that as our exit cue. pooka cheerfully said, "ok. bye," and gave us hugs and kisses before scampering off after her new friends.

wow, that was easy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

are you afraid of the dark?

always good when a culture can laugh at itself. i sure did.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


as i was walking to the main building
this morning to donate blood,
i came across this in the parking lot:

the covered parking area for the chief officers is a haven for birds of all kinds, despite being equipped with netting and annoying chirping boxes designed to keep them away. (it is also the haven for the obstinate people who refuse to quit smoking and continue to pollute us all with their second-hand cancer air. /rant)

anyway, there obviously was a nest above that spot and the hatchling sadly fell from it. it's too bad the amer-avian red cross couldn't get to it in time, although a blood transfusion probably wasn't the right medicine for its problems.

however, by the time i returned an hour later, it had been smushed by a motorcycle.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

channel your energy

as i was leaving the gym today i was struck by the senseless waste of people using indoor cardio equipment. all those miles logged on treadmills and elliptical machines; all those flights racked up on stepping machines.

i'm not saying that exercise is a futile endeavor, of course i'm an advocate for being healthy. and it would be hypocritical of me to heap shame upon people who hide indoors instead of enjoying the beauty and the natural challenge of the terrain outside the gym walls.

my despair comes from thinking of the oodles of joules just seeping out into the ether. think about it: people are at the gym to burn calories, right? what are calories but units of energy!

why doesn't someone engineer equipment to harness that mass of energy? during its busy hours, the gym could collect kilowatt hours in a battery and release it during its less busy hours. the battery could power the facility itself.

power from the people!

upon further research, this idea isn't really feasible, much to my chagrin. the amount of energy produced wouldn't be enough to run the facility, although it could light up a bulb (CFL, of course) for a few minutes.

1 kilowatt hour = 8,598,452 calories (or roughly 8,598,152 more calories than i burn on a 2 mile run.) the equivalent of 2,456 pounds. that's weight loss on a slightly larger scale (thank God) than my paradigm. my efforts would be closer to producing 1 kilowatt second per week.

eh, in the words of emily litella: "neeeeever mind."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

a butt-load of stories

this weekend was all about the derriere, the hiney, the tuchus.

bug likes to wrestle with pooka. she particular likes to throw herself up against her sister. she has developed a new move recently, though: the dupah drop. pooka was lying on the floor and bug came up to her, turned around, and sat squarely on her face. then stood up and did it again. and again. pooka was not happy, but kisu and i were laughing hysterically.

while at kevin and marianne's (to celebrate the birth of their grandchild(!)), bug got hold of a crock pot that was sitting in the corner. she discovered that if she dropped the (plastic) lid on the hardwood floor, it would make a really cool sound and spin for awhile. she also discovered that she could sit comfortably on the pot itself. we're calling this technique crock-potty-training.

as i've maybe said before, pooka usually has a pretty good grasp on what language is inappropriate for her to use, even though we've slipped up here and there and let her hear some not so nice stuff. this weekend, she slipped up. i don't know if she just learned this phrase or if she just decided to throw it out there. she and kisu were horsing around in the pool, having a pretend water war with a rival gang (the dirty philadelphias--don't ask me, i don't know where that came from) and when kisu said he was going to defect because she wasn't being nice to him, she told him frankly: "if you go to the dirty philadelphias, i'm gonna kick your ass."

wha????? where did that come from? i let kisu handle the reprimand on that one, but apparently he didn't do it strongly enough, because later that night she pulled it out again. this time momma got involved. man, i sure hope she doesn't practice her new vocabulary on the people at camp quality this week.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

spoiling for a fight

this afternoon was stressful. i got held up quite late at work finishing a project and was obsessing about being late to pick up the girls. ultimately, that resulted in my not doing the work properly.

i was angry and that tends to make me drive more aggressively, but i did nothing to deserve others' rage.

i was zooming down the freeway, which provided plenty of opportunities to zig and zag, and as i approached a green jeep, i noticed the driver had his hand out the window. as i pulled even he flipped me off. i think it was for me, there wasn't anyone else around, really, but i don't know why. passing him was the first interaction i'd had with him. it's not like we had been dodging each other along the road. i didn't cut him off, i didn't blow his doors off. i'm stumped.

his hand being out already makes me think either a) he thought i was someone else--there are a LOT of silver escapes on the road, or b) he was just waiting for anyone to flip off.

a little later down the road, he pulled up and passed me along my left. as he did so, he gave me the look--you know the one--the one that says, "why did they allow you behind a wheel? you blithering idiot, you're barely capable of breathing on your own."

was i mistaken or did his look change to: "oh, that's not who i thought it was."

no, apparently it did not because even later, i passed him as he was exiting and he gave me the look again. "how dare i pass him twice?!"

i honestly have no idea what i could have done to offend this guy. an amusing thought is that he just gets mad at people who speed (ok, i do have a lead foot, plus i was racing to pick up the girls, don't forget), but that is a delightfully ironic agenda for him considering he has a bumper sticker that reads: HAUL ASS.