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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




 

Another Month: 09/30/04

Another month draws to a close. We'll be plunging into the start of the holiday season tomorrow. Halloween decorations will probably go up over the weekend. I've never decorated any of our previous homes but maybe I will get a little something this year. Who knows. A month from now it'll be the day before Halloween. Two months from now Thanksgiving will have come and gone. Three months from now Christmas will be over and we'll only have New Year's Eve and New Year's Day left in this festive season.

Writing Again:

I wrote a page of a short story last night on my new computer. I should get my airport card on Monday, then I'll be able to talk to the rest of the world and of course my other computer. I haven't tried using it with Sean still up. I know he'd be all over it like a fly to honey having seen his fascination with Ian's ibook. I can't blame him for his curiosity but it does hinder my creative process if I have him (and sometimes the cat at the same time) climbing all over me.

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Steps: 4631


Farm Ideas: 09/29/04

When I brought home Animal Time from Sean's previous day care and posted that on my blog I had no idea how popular the book or the author is (except in the under three crowd). Since Sean is currently studying the farm, I might get Funny Farm for him. It's part of the same series and looks really cute.

Pussy Cam!

In my on going quest for all things pussy just to tease my many visitors, I'm happy to present a link to a great web cam: the Pussy Cam! Just remember to look at my logo first. Hmmm. What sort of web cam could it possibly be?

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Steps: 5400


Computer: 09/28/04

After two hours on the phone with UPS last night, my computer miraculously arrived at work today at 9:30. I still have the Airport card coming but I'm less worried about it. The box was thoroughly thrashed but the inner box (the one that Apple packs) was in perfect condition and the computer itself is fine. I can't wait to get it all set up.

Parkfield Calling

Parkfield had two back to back earthquakes (a 6.0 and a 5.0) with lots of aftershocks. I didn't feel anything. I was out taking a walk when they hit and that was enough to keep me from feeling the shaking this far north. One of my coworkers did feel it but didn't think anything of it. I didn't know about the quake until I heard about it on kfog.

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Steps: 8456


Piano Man: 09/27/04

Sean has a little four note xylophone shaped like a piano. He keeps it in my car as one of his commuting toys. This morning the piano was on the floor where he couldn't reach it. Sean amazed me with his growing vocabulary by very clearly asking for it: "Mama, I want the piano on the ground, please." I didn't know he knew the the word piano or ground. It sure made knowing what he wanted!

Piso Agujereado

I walked over to Walgreen's on my break. I needed some packing tape for my BookCrossing packages. I also went just to see how crazy the construction is. All the sidewalks are still closed even though the cement has been poured. How many days does it take for sidewalk cement to cure? It's nearly impossible for a pedestrian to get into the drug store.

Today was the first time I've seen the construction move inside the store. Near the front of the store just behind the registers, I saw men in hard hats in five foot deep square holes dug right out of the floor. Carefully placed around the holes were those "wet floor / piso mojado" yellow signs. How I wish I had taken my digital camera along!

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Steps: 6129


Oh Boy!: 09/26/04

As Sean didn't nap yesterday (save for an hour in the car), he slept in this morning until 8:30. That made for a late and lazy morning. After Ian left at noon, I asked Sean if he'd like to walk to the park.

He immediately took the idea. "Go sliding? Go swinging? Oh boy!" he said.

Sean had no trouble walking to the park and was willing to hold my hand the entire trip. When we got there he first ran to the swings. He ended up swinging three different times, each time exclaiming "Wee!" on each pass. The bulk of his time he spent climbing up to the top of the big slide and then sliding down.

It took some doing to convince Sean to come home. He admitted that he was tired, hungry and thirsty but that didn't stop him from still wanting to run around and slide. He was getting quite red in the face, the sign not of sun burn but of the heat getting to him. So finally I convinced him that we had to walk home. He wasn't quite as willing to walk home. I think he wouldn't have minded if I had offered to carry him.

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Steps: 6813


Johnson Pneumatic: 09/25/04

Just for kicks last night we watched Johnny Mnemonic. It was one of those so bad that it's good again films. The film kept jumping genres and stealing scenes from other films that we found ourselves distracted from the story. Then there's the whole Priscilla Queen of the Desert requirement to work as a body guard in Newark thing. What's up with that? It was like watching a cyberpunk sexploitation film.

The film is based on a short story in William Gibson's Burning Chrome. I have to admit that I'm intrigued enough by the train wreck that is Johnny Mnemonic to read the book.

One More Box:

A couple nights ago I had a nightmare that we were still moving in to our new place and had left some of our stuff in the old apartment (except that it looked like my parents' home and the stuff was actually their stuff). Somehow although we weren't paying rent any more, we still had access to the place and we were trying to move our stuff before the place was rented.

The dream reminded me that we had to pay next month's rent on the storage place. Last time we were there it was one of those heat wave days and Ian had felt it was too hot to leave Sean sleeping in the car (even with me there and the air conditioning on) so we had paid our bill and come home. This time, though, we did bring home a bag, a box and some more of the table mats.

A Library of Owls

On the way home from collecting our box, we stopped at the Sulphur Creek Nature Center. Sean looked at the owls and the chicken. He got a chance to pet a gopher snake and a tortoise. We also took him inside the museum where he saw some other snakes but the best part was the reading area. It had two (possibly more) books about owls. Sean was thrilled and we had to stop to read two of the owl books.

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Steps: 4831


It's Friday Again: 09/24/04

I'm at work, stuck at my desk waiting for all the pieces for the big update of the week to come. I'd like to sneak out for a quick walk but there have been too many emails coming today to do that without causing my client to call me.

Farm Animals:

This month Sean has been learning about the farm at day care. Now when we read Hide & Seek Farm by David Crossley Sean knows all the animals and what they say. He's taken to called the goat a "billy goat" and when he sees the chicken he does a little chicken dance.

Ne laissez pas l'interne envoyer le message:
Yesterday I received two email messages from e-on software announcing the release of Vue 5. I'm still not sure why I received two (as I received two today as well). Both versions were in French. It didn't bother me because I can read French well enough to understand the email, I couldn't remember if I had ever opted in for a specific language, and I know that e-on is a French company. It makes sense to receive French email from a French company, n'est-ce pas?

Today I received two more messages, both this time in English. While the bulk of the message was the translated version of yesterday's email, at the top was a contrite apology for yesterday's email:

Ahem... We're very sorry for the *slight* confusion in sending messages yesterday. That's what happens when you let an intern try to actually do something useful ;-) Aside from the pathetic "Test" messages, the best part, of course, is that the French version of the Vue 5 announcement was sent to the English-speaking people, and the English version was sent to the French... Please accept our sincere apologies for the confusion and any inconvenience. We've locked the intern away just to be sure it won't happen
again! ;-)

I don't care if it happens again. It was certainly more fun to read it in French than in English.

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Steps: 3194


Caligula's Following: 09/23/04

A lot of traffic comes here via web searches. Most folks come here for Bryce freebies. The second most popular search is for all things "puss" because of the site's name. Even though this site doesn't have what I'm sure the average puss searcher is looking for, many do stick around a few minutes. The third most popular search is for "Caligula photographs." Again most people aren't looking for photographs of my cat. They might be looking for me, since I do use "Caligula" as my handle lots of places but I think most people are looking for stuff relating to the film Caligula or perhaps other illustrations of that notorious emperor.

Nonetheless, my cat does actually have some folks linking to her. The most recent site to pick up on my cat's photograph album is 1st on cats. The site's not much more than a bot set to find and link to cat related content but it's still amusing to find sites linking to my cat.

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Steps: 7004


Chicken Soup: 09/22/04

Last night we were watching the "Bully for You" episode from season two of C.S.I which has the on-going "human soup" gag (pun intended). Ian and I both started to wonder if we were smelling things or if it was just a shared olfactory hallucination. Eventually we got up and smelled the kitchen trash. It reeked from last night's game hen. So for the rest of the episode we joked about having to take out the "chicken soup."

I Feel Naked:

I realized at work today that I forgot to put on my pedometer today. It's the first time in three weeks that I've been without it. Since I have a good feel of my average amount of steps per day I'll just estimate it at an even five thousand. Tomorrow I will wear the pedometer again.

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Steps: 5000


Touch and Feel Farm: 09/21/04

Sean is learning some nursery rhymes. His current favorite is Cock-a-doodledoo...

Cock-a-doodledoo
My dame has lost her shoe.
My master's lost his fiddling stick
And knows not what to do!

But Sean doesn't quite have it down yet. He has all of it except for the third line. Sean's version goes like this:

Cock-a-doodledoo
M'dame lost her shoe
Okay—Okay
Doesn't know what to do!

The funniest thing about this nursery rhyme is that he recites it whenever he sees a chicken. So often on the way home when he's reading Touch and Feel Farm to himself, he'll start reciting his version of the rhyme when he gets to the page with the chicks.

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Guardian of the Horizon:

Last night I was nearly done with reading Guardian of the Horizon, the most recent of the Amelia Peabody mysteries when I just had to put the book down for half an hour to gag. Chapter 11 ends with a sex scene involving Ramses. It's thankfully only a paragraph long but it still just makes me shiver. Ramses has always been my least favorite character so this dramatic "I'm so scare, take me" type love scene just turns my stomach.

This series of books are written from the first person point of view of his mother, save for snatches of this book which have pieces of "document H." Who the hell is supposed to have written document H and what sort of peeping tom would write a scene like this?

My second dreadful thought is Daria stays behind, will a son of Ramses show up in England some day? Will he be a prince? Oh the mind boggles as such a horrific idea.

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Steps: 5451


Busy Busy: 09/20/04

I have been able to take breaks to do some walking at work but today we have a large time critical project. A coworker is doing the bulk of the work but I'm the point man so I need to stick around in case our client has questions or in case my coworker has questions. Maybe I'll be able to take a walk when Sean and I get home.

Music and Gymnastics:

Monday is music lesson day at day care. Right after music a gymnastics coach is coming by to do a demo. If the day care provider and the kids like this coach, then gymnastics will be starting in the spring. I'm sure Sean would love to learn some gymnastics.

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Steps: 3505


First Rain: 09/19/04

On Friday when Sean and I got home all of Hayward was clouded over and the air was cold and damp. I told Ian that it felt like it would rain this weekend. Ian said he had heard it would cool down but there was only a 20% chance of rain on Sunday.

This morning as I folded laundry downstairs I noticed that individual leaves on the plum tree were dancing up and down, as if they were being hit. If it were windy, the entire branch would rock, not just individual leaves. The sky was also the darkest I've seen it at the new place. Although I couldn't hear the rain (our place is very well insulated against sound unlike the apartment in Pacifica) I knew it had to be raining.

Curious, I ran up to the front door and opened it. Sure enough, it was pouring. The cat came downstairs to watch and put her ears back in disgust. It rained for a couple of hours but was done by the time we were done with breakfast.

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Fun in the Mud: 09/19/04

After breakfast, I took Sean to Sulphur Creek because he's been asking to see the owls all week long. With the recent rains, though, the birds were rather put out and weren't as talkative as they had been last week. However, the turkey and the ducks thought the change in weather was something wonderful and they were far more active than usual. Sean spent a long time watching them.

We did get to see the release of three rehabilitated birds: two towhees and a robin. That was probably the highlight of this week's trip.

He also had to stop to jump in every mud puddle possible. He had to make mud pies. He had to pick up muddy rocks and leaves. By the time we got home for lunch, I had to completely change his clothes as he was covered nearly head to toe in mud.

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Steps: 6370


Yawn: 09/18/04

First of all, let me start by saying yawn! I stayed up until 1:14 this morning playing Metroid Zero. I was on a roll (excuse the pun) and completely lost track of time. Of course the loud snores from my husband should have been a good reminder to go to bed.

Walk-Walk:

After mailing a dozen books, including returning the text book Ian taught night school out of, we went to C.S.U. Hayward. We had hoped to reactivate Ian's library card but the library didn't open until 1 PM. That would have meant waiting for almost an hour and Sean was getting both hungry and tired. We chose to walk back to our car and go home for lunch.

Nonetheless, we had a lovely walk around the campus. Sean had chances to hop, climb, play in the dirt, stomp in the water, watch the fountain, wave to airplanes, watch the sprinklers, walk backwards, ride piggy-back and most importantly run. He did a lot of running.

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Steps: 4596


Happy Birthday Caligula: 09/17/04

Today is Caligula's 9th birthday. She's slowing down a little now. She's not quite as hyperactive as she was as a kitten or young cat. That's not to say she no longer gets into trouble. She's still as curious as ever.

I wish that the book Cats Are Not Peas were still in print. It's a great explanation of what makes a calico cat calico and why all calicos should be female. Male calicos are chimeras.

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Steps: 5510


Show and Tell: 09/16/04

My son has show and tell at Day Care today. While I'm sure the older kids probably can do a great job with show and tell, what does a 2 year old do? The theme is "on the farm" so I sent Touch and Feel Farm with Sean. Of course once I was at work, I remembered Hide and Seek Farm. That would probably have been a more interesting book for the older kids.

It's Your Nickel:

The U.S. nickel has been redesigned. There are two versions released this year (one back in spring) and one this fall. Next year there will be a third version. They're to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase. I vaguely remember hearing about the nickel redesign but honestly, I feel like this is news now. I haven't seen any of the new coins yet but I think they were released back east first.

Happy Anniversary:

To my parents! They're camping right now so by the time they get back and read the blog—Happy Belated Anniversary.

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Steps: 4954


Up, Down, Weee! 09/15/04

Sean's getting really good with being able to tell me about his day and what he wants to do. Yesterday after daycare I asked him how his day was. The conversation went like this:

Me: How Was your day?

Sean: Yeah! Oh boy.

Me: Did you have fun?

Sean: Yeah!

Me: What did you do?

Sean: Up. Down. Weee!

That's a perfect description of his afternoons in the play yard, going up and down the slide and screaming "weee" at the top of his lungs. I couldn't help but laugh with delight at his description of his day.

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Service with a Smile, Citizen: 09/15/04

I was just at the water cooler and as I was looking out the window at my car I realized that my front right hubcap looked brand new. It had been mangled right around the time we moved to the new house. A truck pulling a trailer nearly ran me off the road and I ended up scrapping my wheel against the freeway wall to avoid being pancaked my this monster vehicle.

Anyway, on Saturday I completely forgot to ask if they'd replace the hubcap when I took my car in for its tune-up. When looking at the hubcaps from the kitchen I thought maybe the hubcap got rotated when they rotated the tires. So I went down to the alley to check. Nope. The old thrashed one is gone. Best part is, they didn't charge me extra for it! I didn't think that sort of behind the scenes service was still being given.

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Steps: 5770


Too Busy: 09/14/04

The day's almost over and I've forgotten to update the blog. I have three projects at work right now: the usual intranet stuff, the forum administration and now a Photoshop project for a flash game we're building. All of them are entertaining projects. It's a nice variety and it makes the day go quicker. I also have a new machine at work. I needed a different machine for the Photoshop project which means I'm retiring the desktop that I was switching between. I still have two (so not three) computers but one of them is new and very fast. I feel like singing Bitchin' Camero.

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Steps: 4111


Aggressive Driving: 09/13/04

What is it with aggressive driving? Today on the down slope of the high rise, a car cuts me off. Thankfully I had enough room to not hit him. I watched this driver swerve off changing lanes willy-nilly on his way towards Foster City. A few minutes later the traffic in my lane stopped dead. As we approached the cause of the jam, I recognized the aggressively driven car, now with its hood smashed into the fast lane retaining wall. There was another car involved too and I feel sorry for the driver who got rear ended by the idiot. I also have to admit to a little bit of inner joy at seeing the wrecked car.

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Steps: 3862


His and Her Hooting: 09/12/04

After breakfast I took Sean to the Sulphur Creek Nature Center. We spent most of our time by the birdcages, especially by the Great Horned Owl cage. There are two owls there, one who likes to sit on a tree in the back where he can avoid the pestering visitors, and one who is quite social and likes to sit on a rock up front and hoot at visitors.

Sean was thrilled to see the owls and to have a conversation with one. The conversation went something like this:

Sean: "Who-Who!"

Owl: "Heeech-Heeech"

Repeat the dialogue a hundred times or so.

During one of our sojourns at the owl cage, another mother and her toddler came by, this time a little girl just about Sean's age. We could hear them coming because the girl was just as excited about the owls as Sean is. So for a good five or ten minutes the owl had two visitors hooting at him.

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Steps: 3956


Do Not Bite My Beak: 09/11/04

I've updated the Sean gallery with a couple of pictures of Sean and his owl Ooh-Who. I took this after Sean had taken his nightly bath and brushed his teeth. Sean, Ian and Ooh-Who are currently playing in bed. Sean's laughing so hard that there are tears streaming down his cheeks.

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Major Service: 09/11/04

I had to take my car in for it's 60k major tune up which meant a day of driving around in Ian's car, our old hatchback. Mostly though we stayed at home. Thankfully it's cooler today than it was last weekend. On the way to pick up my car, Sean fell asleep. He ended up napping when Ian and he got home and stayed asleep until dinner time at 7:00.

The place I got my car serviced was better at sticking to the original estimate but wasn't as organized as the place I used to go to before we moved. I felt sorry for the one guy tasked with fetching the finished cars. He wore a straw hat and I could just see him some times dashing back to the service lot to look for cars. At the old place it was up to the person who worked on the car to bring it around when he was done.

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Steps: 5162



Bye-bye Spider of the Eeew: 09/10/04

We have spiders who build their webs in between the supports of the front stair's railing. Sean likes to make a big deal about how yucky they look in the morning when they're covered in bugs and feathers. This morning he asked me who makes the "eeews" (eeew being his word for anything that looks discarded, abandoned or yucky). So I asked him if he remembered the book The Very Busy Spider. That's when he exclaimed with a wave, "Bye-bye spider of the eeew."

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Steps: 6116


Diary Keeping is Bad for Health: 09/09/04

That's the story I heard on BBC4 this morning. I've kept a diary on and off since I was about thirteen, although my real diary fervor started in college. I have to say that when I'm depressed, I don't write. There's a recent two year gap in my diaries from a time when I both depressed and stressed.

Of course now with blogging so popular, does that mean that we're turning ourselves into a world of neurotics? Apparently content does count. Reporting traumatic events just makes the experience worse. So I'll stick to retelling the silly things my son, husband and cat have done. In the world of the blogs, I enjoy the ones that are actually about something rather than one's personal drama. I especially love the photoblogs.

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Where is Ooh-Who? 09/09/04

Ooh-Who is Sean's owl toy. He sleeps with it (along with Cow and Book the Cat). Last night he had left Ooh-Who on our bed as he had been playing there while I caught up on some BookCrossing stuff.

Later while Sean was bathing, Ian came home and found the owl on the bed. So he made a comment about the owl and Sean became very worried. "No Daddy, that's my Ooh-Who." Immediately after the bath, he ran into our room and got the owl to put back in his bed.

Sometime in the course of the night, the owl had slipped out of bed and under the chair that's right next to the bed. When Sean woke up he again was very worried. "Where is my Ooh-Who?" I fished it out from under the chair and before I could get Sean dressed I had to give him a couple minutes to hug and reassure his owl.

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Steps: 3267


Buckle Up: 09/08/04

Do yourself and your children a favor. Buckle up. Put children in car seats.

Children under one year old and twenty pounds must have their car seats installed facing backwards (rear facing). Child car seats should be in the back of the car, especially if your car has air bags.

Children older than one year old and more than 20 pounds should be in a forward facing car seat, also in the back seat of the car. Make sure to raise the should straps to the top hole as the lower holes are reinforced to take a forward facing collision.

Children who weigh more than 40 pounds and are between the ages of 4 and 8 (unless the child is taller than 4'9") should be in booster seats. This will help the regular adult seat belt cover their chest and hips as it should in case of an accident.

Children under 12 years old should ride in the back seat, especially in cars with airbags.

But don't forget the adults! They should buckle up too. Remember that the seat belt should fit snuggly around your hips, not your belly (especially if you're pregnant).

For more information:

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Steps: 4577


Heat Wave Continues: 09/07/04

I feel sorry for our cat at home with no air conditioning. It's another hot day. Fortunately it does cool off at night and with the windows open the house cools down. It should cool down on Thursday.

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Who-Who Continued: 09/07/04

Sean went to bed hugging the owl last night and woke up this morning still hugging it. He wanted to bring it to day care but personal toys aren't allowed for obvious reasons. I finally convinced him that Owl had to stay home. I'll have to get a photo of the two of them to post on the site.

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Steps: 4345


How Hot?: 09/06/04

By four o'clock the temperature in our living room had reached 90 degrees. Actually it had pegged the high end of our thermostat so it could easily have been hotter. Downstairs it was probably 75 degrees but while Sean took his nap, I stayed upstairs to avoid waking him up.

Meanwhile Ian went to Berkeley to do his homework but the university turns off the air conditioning during holidays and weekends to save money. He and his office mate eventually went home as it was just too hot inside to work or think.

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Springtime in the Kitchen: 09/06/04

While Ian was making dinner I came across three springs. Two are nearly two inches tall and the third is only about 3/4 of an inch tall. We have no idea where they came from or what the go to but we both agree that they look familiar. We just can't place them.

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Steps: 2628


Crow Canyon Road: 09/05/04

Ian decided to do his studying away from home tomorrow rather than today since tomorrow is a holiday. Instead the three of us took a nice Sunday drive over the grade into the Dublin/Pleasanton area. On the way home we took the back way via Crow Canyon Road. It's an interesting road that goes from industrial park to horse ranch to hilly suburb to mixed commercial as it makes its way back to Hayward.

On the drive home, Sean fell asleep. Fortunately now he's easier to put back down for a nap when we get home. As a baby, if he fell asleep in the car, he wouldn't dare continue his nap when we got home regardless of how tired he is. Now though we have a routine for continuing his nap. We take of his shoes and socks, give him a diaper change and then tuck him in. Works like a charm.

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Steps: 2530


Pie in the Face: 09/04/04

We heard one of the silliest things on NPR this morning. Nina Totenberg learned how to throw a cream pie. There are pictures, video and the audio replay online.

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Animal Time: 09/04/04

We had errands to run on the peninsula so once we were done, we took Sean to the Coyote Point Museum which has a wonderful exhibit of native birds and animals. Sean's favorite creatures were the burrowing owls because he recognized them from his book Animal Time and from the Sulphur Creek Nature Center. He must have spent fifteen minutes hooting at the four little owls. On our way out we purchased a stuffed owl for Sean's collection of "buddies."

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Steps: 4800


I'm Popular: 09/03/04

My boss complimented me today on doing such a great job with the forum administration. After a week of doing this I apparently have fans. All I'm doing is editing out the stuff that violates the terms of service but I'm apparently "fair" and "cool." Thankfully it's making my job easier because most folks are behaving.

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The Calcutta Chromosome: 09/03/04

I'm currently reading The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh. It's a speculative science and historical fiction novel that jumps across points in history as it chases down the various themes and motifs. The cover art is supposed to be a mosquito but it reminds me the wasps we have in California. Plus my husband has been playing Metroid Prime (which he did get for me but I'm letting him play it first) and there are plasma wasps in the game. I'm usually reading Calcutta Chromosome while he's playing so the two diegeses have blended together in my mind, that of the book and that of the video game.

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Steps: 3606


Leave Early, Arrive Late: 09/02/04

Sean and I left the house fifteen minutes early and I ended up arriving at work ten minutes late! Besides the usual back to school traffic, which will lessen as college students start dropping morning classes, there were three accidents. The first was on B street. We had detoured off crowded D street to hope to avoid traffic — big mistake. The second was on Jackson Street just before the 92 becomes a freeway. The third was on the 92 just before Alameda de las Pulgas.

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Steps: 3261


Mothra Returns: 09/01/04

Monday night my husband screamed, "There's a giant moth in the bedroom." One of those alfalfa loopers like the one I rescued from our apartment in Pacifica was flapping around the light over our bed. Here's a man who bravely took out a entire hive of wasps but was hiding under the blankets from a moth. His reasoning was: "Moths are bigger than wasps and wasps are more predictable." So I scooped up the moth and took it outside.

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Hurray for the Counting Months: 09/01/04

September starts my favorite time of the year, those last four months that count down to the holidays. I really start to feel festive when September rolls around starting off the counting months. September, October, November and December are latin based and mean "seventh month, eighth month, ninth month and tenth month." Of course July and August (for Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar) were added into the equation which bumps those last four months to places farther down the line (9, 10, 11 & 12).

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Steps: 4188