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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8




 

Professional Moderator: 8/31/04

Besides my usual web production duties, I've also been asked to administrate one of the forums our company runs. It's rather odd to be an administrator for forum which covers a topic I have no direct experience. My goal is to make sure the members behave. So far my introduction into the forum has had mixed results but so far no all out flaming. That's good.

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Steps taken: 4346


Our Practical Joker: 8/30/04

Ian called me to tell me that Sean played his first practical joke. He had packed one of my old Oracle tchockie slammer toys into his book bag for school. So when Ian put his bag down in lecture it screamed "Aaahhhhhhh!!!" Neither of us saw him do this last night.

First Day of Lessons:

Today is the first day of Fall Semester for Ian and Sean's first day of music lessons through the new day care / preschool. Ian has his usual busy schedule but he always manages to pull through and get good grades. Sean should really enjoy the music lessons. He's always been so musically inclined. I'm curious to see (err, hear) what he'll learn.

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Rats are Funny: 8/29/04

Sean and I spent a lovely morning at the Sulphur Springs Animal Reserve again. He hooted at the owls and ran around the grounds for a while, stopping to admire the coyotes and later the chickens but his favorite spot today was the maternity ward where there was a family of rats, including two litters of rat babies. He thought the baby rats were very cute but when one of the adults started to run in the exercise wheel he laughed. A rat in a wheel was one of the funniest things he had ever seen.

One of the older baby rats decided that the exercise wheel looked like fun too. So this little rat who was the same difference in size to the adult rat as Sean is to Ian kept trying to jump onto the wheel as the adult rat ran in the wheel. Three times the baby rat was thrown off the rat before the adult realized something was amiss and got off the wheel to check on the baby and perhaps do the rat equivalent of scolding him.

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Things Lost, Things Found: 8/28/04

Hi

I've found my camera's USB cable, so Sean's birthday pictures are up. The cable was actually in plain view, right where I expected it to be. I just didn't see it until I was looking for something else.

That something else was Ian's driver's license. He was convinced it had dropped out at either Stanford or Albertson's. After searching his car and the entire house top to bottom I decided to look in the obvious place—his wallet. I found it near the back of the stack of cards.

So what's lost? My lip balm. I use it constantly throughout the day. I put it on before my morning shower. Then sometime while I was in the shower it went missing. I suspect Sean has put it somewhere "clever." I just need to figure out what he's currently thinking clever is.

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Always Liked this Date: 8/27/04

The numbers 8 and 27 go together so well. They seem to fit. That and it's my birthday but even if it weren't, I think I'd still like the combo of 8 and 27.

Any Plans?

Actually no. I went to work today as usual. It's going to get very busy this afternoon because my client needs me to do a week's worth of work in one day because they're having an off-site. Then when I get home there will be the usual birthday phone calls (with singing). Will I be doing this to Sean when he's moved out of the house in just under two decades? Probably.

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Ready for Kindergarten: 8/26/04

The oldest kids at the new day care will be going into kindergarten next year so they are given basic writing lessons (trace the letters and stuff like that). Sean who always likes to participate, sat down at the study table. The day care provider gave him his own sheet and he managed to trace the letters on the front side! I wouldn't be surprised if he'll be able to read and write a little by his third birthday. I am so excited!

Pete and Repeat

Sean's language skills have really picked up since the new day care. I think it helps to be around older (but not that much older) children. Plus he's just at that age where he only has to hear a word once to pick it up. The down side of this is that often whatever I say to him he says to me. This morning, for example, I told him to "turn around and sit down" in his car seat. He replied in mock disgust, "Yeah, yeah. Turn around. Sit down. I know, Mama."

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Duka-Duka-Duka or That's My Tree: 8/25/04

As we were getting ready to leave this morning, a pair of squirrels got into a territorial fight in the trees that block the complex from the street. There are a half dozen pine trees that provide wonderful coverage. One very vocal squirrel started jumping from limb to limb clicking, making a sound very similar to what Sean makes when he's complaining under his breath. It sounds like "duka-duka-duka."

For more information on squirrels:

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Ready or Not: 8/24/04

I think the kids at the new daycare play hide and seek because Sean today said, "ready or not" to which I replied "here I come" and he laughed. It's so fun and amazing to watch him learn and grow. I'm often puzzled by parents who express disappointment when their child has a birthday. They seem to want their children to remain infants. Why is this when there are so many adventures on the horizon?

I delight in Sean's accomplishments. He may only be two years old and already he can do hundreds perhaps thousands of things he didn't know how to do just two years ago. That's not to say that I'm wishing him to grow up faster than he is. No. I'm just enjoying each day as it comes.

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First Day of School: 8/23/04

Classes actually start next week but the university is doing its usual first week of welcoming new students. Ian chose to set his alarm as if classes were started to give him a week to get used to the new schedule. The nice thing about our new home is that he can sleep until 6:30 to get to campus by 7:30 for 8:00 a.m. classes. When we were still on the peninsula, he had to get up at 5:30 which was rough on both of us.

Last night Sean had woken up a couple times with nightmares so this morning he wasn't awake when I got up. I let him sleep as long as I could but did eventually have to wake him up. He's so cute when he's asleep and I always feel guilty having to wake him up. He's typically such a morning person that he normally wakes me up!

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Name that Tune: 8/22/04

Sean has always been a musically oriented person. Even in utero, he would kick to the beat of any music I was listening to. Recently though he's started to sing songs. He started with making up songs ("Where's Daddy?", "It's time to Bubble Wash-Wash" and "I've Started the Washer") but now he's also starting to sing songs that he's learned. The first song I recognized was the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" which included our made up final line of "And sat on my head." Then today before his nap he sang a song I've only sung to him a couple of times but is probably song at day care: Frère Jacques! He had the melody nearly perfect but the words need some work.

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Where's that Cord?: 8/21/04

Our little family party was fun last night. Sean wasn't too sure about the cake and ice cream at first but he eventually took to eating it. His two favorites gifts were clearly the xylophone and the singing purple piggy bank (from his grandparents in San Diego). By this afternoon he has already filled up his pig with money found on the floor and in boxes from the move.

Now I took photographs at the party and of the cake and I had every intention of uploading them to the new Sean photograph album but darn it, I can't find the cord that goes from my camera to my computer. As soon as I find it, I will add the pictures. In the meantime, I should probably continue adding older photographs of Sean.

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Two Years Ago: 8/20/04

Sean the new born

Two years ago Sean was born via emergency C-section. That night Ian posted some photographs with an optimistic note that as soon as Sean and I were home from the hospital, I would certainly make a better version of his site here at Puss Reboots. Two years later, I finally have started by redesigning his original post!

Tonight we will be celebrating just the three of us. We did start the day off by singing "Happy Birthday" to Sean which he enjoyed. I have the cake all baked and Ian will be wrapping presents this afternoon.

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Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting: 8/19/04

Tonight I'm baking my son's birthday cake. Tomorrow is his birthday. I'm going with the family's traditional chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting. I've made it so many times I have it memorized. Below is the recipe. Obviously don't make it for folks who have peanut allergies (at least don't add the peanut butter to the frosting!)

Here's the recipe:

The cake:

4 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shortening (or corn oil)
2 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups milk

Mix dry items and wet items separately. Beat the wet mixture with a whisk for a good couple of minutes (makes for fluffy cake).

Don't use an electric beater -- the mixture will become too fluffy and the chocolate chips will sink to the bottom of the cake layers.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

Half a box of confectioners sugar
1 to 2 Tbs peanut butter
small amount of milk

Pour half box of sugar into bowl. Add a small amount of milk (no more than a Tbs at first) and mix until sugar starts to become creamy. Add in one Tbs peanut butter. Add a little more milk to blend peanut butter into frosting. If you really like peanut butter, add a second Tbs and more milk as needed.

Give the frosting a good hour to harden before doing any extra decorating. Over night is best.

Bon appetite!

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Where'd They Get that Name?: 8/18/04

I came across a site that lists the origins for many of the popular or well known companies. What the list shows is that for most companies the name is an after thought (Apple: Jobs's favorite fruit). Sometimes the name does have special meaning (such as Nintendo) or is an abbreviated form of a name that is more descriptive (Nabisco for National Biscuit Company).

So, why Puss Reboots?

My cat (the real world Caligula the insane calico) has the bad habit of rebooting my computer. She likes to play with the power button. So it's named for her. She's also the official mascot/logo of the site. Plus, it's a fun little pun on "Puss in Boots."

Can I Get a New Nose?:

I'm in the last stages of this cold and can't breath through my nose unless I take NyQuil. I'm not going to do that at work so I'm stuck with breathing through my mouth until I get safely home. I know, I could take DayQuil or something similar but those "non drowsy" formulae tend to make me jumpy.

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Cough Cough Sniff: 8/17/04

Fortunately I was able to find some NyQuil last night which meant early to bed and a solid nights sleep. Today my sore throat is becoming congestion which I find less odious than the pain of a sore throat.

Dance Dance Dance:

Sean meanwhile appears to be well. We gave him two children's acetaminophen last night because he was crying and acting like he had a headache. Then he calmed down and cheered up enough for his usual bath time. This morning he had five times as much energy as he has been having recently. He was dancing and laughing. It looks like he's over his cold.

No No No!

My favorite blogger has moved from Pacifica to the Mission District. While I'll still continue to view the blog I'll miss the daily photographs of Pacifica.

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Ouch: 8/16/04

I went to bed thirsty last night. I figured if I really wanted a third glass of water I'd wake up and then I could get the glass of water. I didn't wake up until this morning and instead of being thirsty, I had a sore throat. I hope this doesn't turn into something worse. I really don't want to be up all night coughing.

Fewer Boxes:

Before bed Ian and I unpacked a bunch of boxes. I think we got through a third of the boxes remaining. We should be able to maneuver enough in the closet now to put up the bookshelves which will make unpacking the last set of boxes much easier. Then this weekend we'll get more of our boxes out of storage and begin the unpacking process all over again. At least we don't feel like we're buried in boxes any more.

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Tricycle Built for Two: 8/15/04

The weather today was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. Sean and I rode over to the park. Rather, he rode his tricycle and I pushed him. He was really good about staying on it while we went to the park. He even tried pedaling a few times but they're just no. Then after an hour of playing (mostly swinging) he hopped back on his tricycle and asked to "go go."

Chabot Science Center:

My mom gave us memberships to our local science center. The passes arrived yesterday and I'm sure we'll visit the science center soon. If they're open on Sundays, I'll probably take Sean there next week. We can just go up A street to Redwood and follow it around to the center. It's longer than taking the freeway but much prettier.

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A Walk Through Hayward: 8/14/04

We had a lovely day walking through down town Hayward, which is defined by the blocks of Main and Mission to the east and west and A through E streets running north to south. On our walk we stopped to look at kitchen tile at Oasis Tile. Then we walked through the wonderful farmer's market but we hadn't come with enough money to buy any of the wonderful fruits, vegetables and other sundries for sale. Next Saturday we we'll go prepared. We ended our walk at the lovely two story Hayward library which was having a used book sale. We went home with four books: two science fiction, one physics text book from 1917 and a tropical island story from 1905 that is in near perfect condition. How could I resist?

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Think... Think... Think...: 8/13/04

The BBC (yes, that BBC this time) is running a "What Kind of Thinker Quiz" as a follow up to a program they ran. I took the quiz and came out as a "spatial thinker" which is no surprise to me. I've been drawing since before I could walk and I regularly model and render 3D graphics. I'm one of the best narrators in my family (I'm currently facing NNW, in case you're curious).

Money! Money! Money!

Much to our surprise and delight, our old apartment complex sent us all of our deposit, less the parking sticker that we misplaced. Given how harsh the damp environment was on the place, we were expecting to be zinged for most of our deposit even though we had more than met the minimum long stay requirements (1 year and we were there for almost 4). Comments (0)

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Happy Together: 8/12/04

While flipping through the channels we have over the aerial, I came across a Korean variety show called Happy Together. Now not speaking a word of Korean it took me a while to figure out what I was watching--but they do have their logo in English on the back wall of the Karaoke room. Then with two hours of Googling -- I verified what I had watched.

Anyway, their Tray Karaoke part has got to be the funniest thing I've seen in a long time on television. The two hosts who remind me of Wayne and Garth, get three celebrity guests to sing Karaoke. If one of them messes up, all five of them get banged on the head with the lid of a soup pot. By the time the show had ended last night they hadn't managed to get the song done. They came close but couldn't finish it.

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Won't Be Watching the Olympics: 8/11/04

I won't be watching the Olympics this year because I don't have cable and my local over the air NBC affiliate doesn't come in where I live. I also don't have a Visa card so couldn't even watch streaming versions online (if I were so inclined). I know they're doing it just for branding and I'm not going to get a Visa just so that credit card brand can get an artificial rise in card carriers because of the Olympics.

Instead, I will be reading about the various teams, sports and countries in my local papers and online through other countries' news sites. Screw NBC and Visa.

Here are some alternate sources:

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A Room Full of Boys: 8/10/04

This morning Sean was up early and ready to "go-go." He clearly likes the new day care. When we got there I had a chance to watch Sean and the other kids play. While yesterday there were a couple of girls there in the afternoon, this morning it was a room full of boys. All of them taking turns playing with the Matchbox cars and rolling down the ramps. At the old day care Sean grew to be one of the two oldest kids and all the younger kids were girls. I think Lorrie had to keep the two boys in check to avoid hurting the younger kids. Now here Sean is one of the younger ones but they're all so close in age that there is less chance he will either be trampled on or will trample on someone else by accident.

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Dirty Jokes and Orchids: 8/10/04

I just finished reading the Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, having heard good reviews on NPR. The book is 288 pages and up through those first 200, I was captivated. She starts with the background of John Laroche, the man arrested for trying to steal and clone the Ghost Orchid. In the process of explaining his passion for orchids, she investigates the history of orchid collecting and the local culture of orchid growers in Florida. These chapters fascinated me until near the end of the book when Orlean stops briefly again with Laroche to note the outcome of the trial. Yet, there is almost another hundred pages of what now seemed like rambling thoughts. What started so strongly, ends up petering out.

So now I'm finishing up Dirty Jokes and Beer by Drew Carey. It reminds me a great deal of Stephen King's On Writing in that the first half is a very intimate monologue of the author's life and work with nothing held back. The writing style here is disjointed and sometimes sloppy and it makes no apologies for it. The second half is more of a nuts and bolts discussion of how the sitcom business works. After such a densely detailed book as The Orchid Thief, I am enjoying this rather fluffy and crude memoir.

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No Sleep: 8/9/04

Today is Sean's first day at Creative Kid's Day Care. Although I didn't realize I was worrying about it until this morning, I didn't sleep much last night. I think I got maybe two hours of sleep. Sean, of course, was far more accommodating to the change in his routine. At first he wasn't sure he wanted to stay but then he saw the cool toys and wood puzzles. He gave me a look of "Why are you still here? Don't you have to go work or something?" so I left feeling a little better about his first day. He sure handles change well.

Relieved:


Just got a call from the new day care provider. Sean is fitting right in. It's like he's always gone to this new day care. He's played nicely with the other kids, enjoyed his meals, sat for story time and helped with the art project. He's now going down for his nap.

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Fire on the Hill : 8/8/04

At 3:30 we heard a whole bunch of fire truck alarms, about half an hour's worth of non stop sirens. Ian went out to investigate and heard from a neighbor that the area across the street from the cemetery was being evacuated for a grass and tree fire (exploding eucalypt). That's about a mile up the hill from us on D street (where D street starts to change names as it follows the ridge line). Not knowing what to expect, I packed a suitcase with three days worth of clothing for the three of us, a bag of books (Book Crossing books I have borrowed from others) and cleared out the cat carrier for Caligula.

We didn't end up having to evacuate. The fire was contained in 2 hours and put out by the 11 o'clock news. There was a quick response (the Fairview fire house is almost across the street from where the fire started) and they put the alarm out as a multi county response so we had teams from every city in Alameda county, some from Santa Clara county (though they are mostly fighting a much larger fire near San Jose), and some from San Mateo County. They didn't want a repeat of the Oakland Hills fire from fourteen years ago.

Fire in the Hole:

The wasps were still buzzing around a little bit at their nest in the hillside stairs so Ian dumped another three cans of spray down their entry. By that evening there was finally no sign of life. Hopefully he has killed off the nest and convinced any survives to nest somewhere else.

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Yowch, Or Why I Swore Like a Sailor: 8/7/04

The yellow jacket wasp nest that the HOA swore they would take care of has gotten too aggressive. For no reason whatsoever, they stung Ian on Friday and me today. Ian isn't allergic but I now have a huge itchy red patch on my left calf. Ian has decided to take matters into his own hands and has sprayed five bottles of wasp killer down their entrance. They're now woozy but some are still managing to come in and out. If they're still able to fly tomorrow he'll drop another three bottles down there.

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What's Old is New: 8/6/04

I check my traffic logs a couple times a week (daily if I have the time). I saw a link I haven't seen in five years. I had though the Geocities version of Sunshine Streets went off the web four years ago but it is back. Among the ghosts of internet past is an essay I wrote for the site called "Huntington's Legacy."

Ian just called to say that we're finally moved out. The keys are turned in and the last bit of prorated rent is paid. He's coming down to San Carlos so I can take him out to lunch. He sounds so exhausted and exasperated. He got the worst of the last bit of this move. May we be earning enough to hire professional packers for our future moves!

Now we just have to unpack. Fun.

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Have You Seen my Cat?: 8/5/04

Last night Caligula escaped. We're not exactly sure how or when. Ian found her just before 9 PM when he took the kitchen trash out to the dumpster. So she's home safe. Sean and I clapped and cheered when he brought her back into the house. I was really expecting to have to be putting up "Lost Cat" posters around the neighborhood today. Thankfully I don't have to.

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Three Across the Bridge Today: 8/4/04

Ian commuted with Sean and me today to use my car during the day for one last schlep from the apartment. I have the larger car so it just seemed easier for all of us to go together. When we were almost to the daycare, Sean looked at Ian with a very serious expression and asked: "Why Daddy?" meaning "why are you coming with us today?"

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Many Happy Birthdays: 8/3/04

Today is a popular day for birthdays. It's my brothers, the daycare provider's son's, my friend's and one of Sean's friends (she's turning 1). So happy birthday to John, Adam, Ceri and Talia-Abigail!

Our Menagerie Has Grown:

The IT guy for our co-tenant company brought in his new parrot Maggie today. That makes for two parrots and six rats who are regular visitors to work.

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Plumbing: 8/2/04

Save for three tiles and the painting, our upstairs bathroom is done. It took our entire weekend with Ian "helping" the contractor our neighbor recommended. We'll be having him back to do the kitchen and perhaps later the downstairs bathroom. We didn't get to use the fish tiles but that's okay. We're going to make coasters out of them.

Besides doing the bathroom, he also managed to tear down the remaining boards of the old built in to open up the hallway. He moved the wall switch back to where it belongs, turned the scary pigtailed wires back into a wall socket and fixed the chandelier. The chandelier had been shorted out by the pigtailing.

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Where are the Keys?: 8/1/04

I was about to head over to the old apartment to move some more stuff when on my way I realized I didn't have the keys. Over the weekend Ian and I had consolidated our collection of keys onto one chain. The last person to have the keys was Ian's mother. Frantically we called her and sure enough, she still had them and had taken them all the way home to South Pasadena. She and Charlie are shipping them up to us. We'll have the keys on Tuesday morning.

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