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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



 


"It's a Mommy Thing": 01/31/06

Yesterday during our day out, Sean began to talk about all the nicknames he's acquired: kiddo, silly boy, and sweetie. He noted that Ian and I both call him "silly boy" (because he is often a silly boy) but only Daddy calls him kiddo and only I call him Sweetie. I asked him if he knew why I called him Sweetie and he thought about it a moment. Then he replied, "It must be a Mommy thing."

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Steps: 4000


New Shoes: 01/30/06

Over the weekend Sean told us that his shoes no longer "worked." He was having trouble keeping the velcro closed and so his shoes would sometimes come off when he was walking. I took a quick feel of his feet and realized his feet had outgrown his shoes!

Since I'm home with Sean today because of his day care being closed, he and I went to Payless and he picked out a new pair of shoes. He broke with recent tradition of avoiding cartoon inspired shoes and fell instantly for a pair of size 10 Thomas the Train shoes. He's now happily walking comfortably again.

We then had lunch out, taking a brief drive into Pleasanton. When we got to the restaurant, Sean said it looked like it might rain. I foolishly poo-pooed the notion but he was right. As we were walking back to our car after lunch, the heavens opened and it has been pouring since.

Now that Sean is napping, I've been watching three wet does eating young ivy shoots on our hill at the rain continues to sheet down.

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Steps: 5000


Castro Valley Park: 01/29/06

After breakfast I suggested to Sean that we try going to a different park instead of our local one. San Felipe park, while conveniently located two blocks from where we live, does not fair well in rain storms. It tends to turn into a giant mud puddle. Castro Valley Park, which I pass every day on my way to pick up Sean from day care, seems to have better drainage. I suggested to Sean that we go to Castro Valley Park. One might have thought I had told Sean he had one the lottery in how quickly he responded. He dashed around the house to find his socks and shoes. He ran to each room and turned off the lights. He then screamed goodbye to Ian and told him to have a good time at Berkeley.

Sean did have a marvelous time at the park and it was crowded with lots of other kids ranging in age from a year and half to maybe twelve. Most of the kids seemed to be about Sean's age. The playground area is about twice the size of our local park and Sean almost suffered from playground overload, dashing from one structure to the next. In the time we were there he never really settled on one favorite spot. Everything was so new and exciting for him.

I eventually had to drag him back to the car when he was falling down tired from more than an hour of non-stop action. While he wasn't happy about finding himself back in the car, once we got home, he was more than ready for a nice long nap.

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Steps: 8000


A Rainy Saturday: 01/28/06

We woke up to dark gray clouds today. The newspaper's weather section predicted rain and by late after noon the clouds had turned to rain. We spent our morning running errands. We finally returned Madagascar and volume four of El Hazard the Alternative World after having both checked out for one or two weeks. We've now checked out Condorman (which Sean now loves) and our old favorite, My Neighbor Totoro. Before heading home we also did a grocery shopping run at P.W. Markets.

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Steps: 8000


Smallville: 01/27/06

Last night was Smallville's hundredth episode and they used it to finally kill of Jonathan Kent. The whole tangent of him running for the Senate was just too much. If he had served a term in the Senate then later Clark would have gone to Metropolis as a senators son, not as a relative nobody. I hope last night's episode signals a correcting of course in the series althoug the upcoming merger of the WB and UPN into some weird Frankenstein's monster network worries me. I hope the new network doesn't mess with the series, or cancel it!

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Steps: 3500


Playing Puzzles: 01/26/06

When I picked up Sean from school, he and Dempsey were playing wood puzzles in the front room. Sean had a vehicle themed puzzle and Dempsey was doing the bird puzzle (one of Sean's favorites). Dempsey asked me what the different birds were, so she and I got to talking about birds. Sean decided he wasn't going to have any of this. Clearly if Dempsey didn't know her birds, Sean would have to help her with the puzzle. So he leaned over the table, nearly knocking over his own chair to show her how to do the puzzle: "This is an owl, this is an eagle, this is a duck," etc. We tried to convince him to do his own puzzle but he didn't listen to either of us.

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Steps: 4000


Ginsu Cat: 01/24/06

Last night the cat was once again sitting on my lap top and I went to gentle but quickly move her. She must have been off in la-la land, thinking deep kitty thoughts, because when I put my hand on her, she completely freaked. Out came all eighteen claws and about half of them went into both sides of my right hand and arm. There was blood everywhere and lots of pain. Soon I'm screaming like the wounded creature I was. The cat went flying downstairs to hide in Ian's hobbit hole office where she would remain until I picked her up and put her back upstairs when I went to bed. Ian then came to my rescue and helped me get all bandaged up. Fortunately freaked out cats with no practiced hunting skills aren't very effective with their claws. She drew blood but didn't get into the muscle so I don't need stitches. Unfortunately today my hand with all its bandages makes me look like I've been in a serious hand mangling accident. At least I can still type.

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Steps: 3500


3097 Books Later: 01/24/06

Those close to me know I've been keeping a list of everything I've read since the summer of 1987. I kept the list in a Holly Hobby mini-diary, writing each item on its own line. Each page held 18 entries. Now seventeen and a half years later, I've finished the book. The first book was To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer. The last book (number 3096) was The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler. Last night I started my second volume. I hope to finish it sooner than the last one. The first book I entered (3097) was Search the Shadows by Barbara Michaels.

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Monday Again: 01/23/06

I'm at work again. Sean's at school and Ian is finally at Berkeley, after an hour of frantically looking for his wallet. I even looked in my car to make sure it hadn't fallen out of his pocket during our trip to the store.

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Lazy Sunday: 01/22/06

We did more spring cleaning today. I expected Ian to head out to do his homework but he ended up working from home. Sean seems a little grumpier than usual so we expect he is either going through a growth spurt or he's fighting off a cold.

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Steps: 4000


Spring Cleaning and Grocery Shopping: 01/21/06

Today we went to the huge Rite Aid in Castro Valley to get some more bins for sorting out the stuff that has gathered in our living room and really should be stored away in our bedrooms. We got three bins, one for each of us. We have also taken out all the recycables and done a number of trash runs. The living room is looking much improved but it's still suffering from too many books.

After our trip to Rite Aid we stopped by P. W. markets, also on Castro Valley Boulevard. They had been advertising some nice choices of meat and poultry so we decided to the check them out. They have a wonderful butchers and delicatessen. They don't have the 2 for 1 deal on milk that the larger chains have so we will still go elsewhere for milk. Their produce is beautiful and they seem to be concentrating on selling fruits and vegetables that are in season locally so the selection is limited but the quality of that selection is higher.

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Submarine Shirt: 01/20/06

Sean's had a yellow shirt with a submarine design (no, not a Beattle's Yellow Submarine shirt) since he was about a year and a half old. He's finally outgrowing it and it has made him rather sad. He and I after a lot of discussion have decided the best thing to do is make a new one. I've found a site that sells blank shirts of any color in any size and style and I have all the material I need to make a new submarine. I will let Sean pick the color of shirt he wants and then I'll get to work on it. Sean is so excited that I'm making him a new submarine shirt. Isn't that sweet of him?

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Grocery Shopping: 01/19/06

Ian emailed me last night to remind me to go grocery shopping, not so much because we had to go but because Sean was looking forward to going with me. Often times after work and school, Sean and I go grocery shopping. He gets to hold the grocery list which he then puts in his pocket when we're done shopping. We have to say hello to the "sneaky engine" generator that is running one of the light poles still in the parking lot. He has to pick the shopping cart before we shop and put it away after we shop (with my help). The good news is that he's a very good shopping helper. He often remembers things that we need that I've forgotten to put on the list.

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Laptop Fixed: 01/18/06

Thanks to Ian's persistance last night at the DHL office at the airport, my computer is home! The logic board and inverter both had died and needed replacing. It took an hour of pacing at the DHL office plus a few angry phone calls to get my machine home but he did it! I'm so pleased to have it home and can't thank Ian enough for all the effort he put into getting it fixed and getting it home.

Meanwhile, Sean and I were at home. I fed him a peanut butter and apricot jam sandwhich and we watched Madagascar (a much better film than I was expecting giving the really lame previews) and the penguin short (originally shown before Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit). By seven thirty when Ian still wasn't home (but had called to announce his success), Sean was getting worried. I offered to give him his bath but he insisted on waiting for Ian (as it was his turn). Once Ian was home and Sean was bathed and put to bed, I made egg and spinach sandwiches for us for dinner and we shared a grapefruit for dessert.

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Steps: 6000


Only 23 Payments Left: 01/17/06

I'm in the final stretch of paying off my student loans. As of today I only have 23 payments left. Then it's paid off!

Expecting Rain Again:

We should be getting rain again tonight and given the nippy temperature outside I agree with the forecast. It feels like it did in December when the rainy season started. It's cold and gray although the clouds aren't as thick as they should be for it to rain yet. The winds tend to pick up around the time I go home and then the rains usually start just after sunset.

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Steps: 4500


No Holiday For Me: 01/16/06

Sean and Ian are home from school today for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I'm at work. They are staying home to keep an eye out for my now fixed computer which should be arriving today via DHL.

As I was crossing the bridge I saw a beautiful pink stripe vertical cloud in the western sky. As the sun rose behind me the colors began to separate better and I realized I was looking at a dawn rainbow. It was so beautiful!

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Sore Arm: 01/15/06

I didn't sleep well last night because my right arm was really sore. I think it was a combination of a huge bruise from having blood drawn on Thursday (the nurse couldn't find the vein and wiggled the needle around until she found it -- OUCH!) and a sore shoulder from Sean climbing a fence and then jumping into my arms on Friday. I eventually found the one position I could sleep in without my arm and shoulder hurting. Fortunately today the pain is gone although my arm is still a little stiff.

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Raining Again: 01/14/06

Last night it started to rain again and it has been pouring all day today. Despite the weather we headed to Pleasanton to do some shopping at the mall there. I stocked up on underwear and we also just looked around at the other stores. We toyed with having lunch there but decided to go home. At home I made "old cheese" sandwich (grilled cheese) for Sean and bacon, spinach and avocado sandwiches for Ian and me. Then we had a grapefruit for desert. Yummy!

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Steps: 10000


Friday the 13th: 01/13/06

We were expecting rain this morning but so far it's been a beautiful but crisp day. There are clouds on the horizon over the Pacific Ocean so it will probably rain tonight. Ian is working from home today. Sean will be staying home with him on Monday as it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I have to go to work.

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Steps: 6000


Nightmares? 01/12/06

Ian asked me this morning if I was having a bad nightmare. I was apparently making a lot of noise just before the alarm went off. While I had lots of interesting dreams last night I don't think I'd qualify any of them as nightmares. Perhaps I was trying to talk in my sleep. I do that sometimes.

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Steps: 6000


Ian's Computer: 01/11/06

Ian got a telephone call from We Fix Macs saying that the problem with his machine was only a broken wire and that the machine is now fixed. It ended up costing $100 less than the quoted price. Woohoo! Ian will pick the machine up this morning and then stop by work to have lunch with me.

BookCrossing:

We had our first meeting of the year last night. We all expected it would be a quiet meeting and then to our collective surprise lots of people showed up. It was one of the busiest meeting we've had in months. I managed to come home with two books on my wishlist and I left more books than I brought home.

One of the most fun books I picked up last night I've already read and shared with Ian. It's called How to Draw a Cup of Coffee by Joy Sikorski and it introduces basic drawing and decorating techniques through the creation of an imaginary house. The person who brought the book to the meeting described the book as the kind you can finish while sipping a glass of wine.

Owls are Nocturnal:

Ian taught Sean the meaning of nocturnal this morning, telling him that owls stay awake at night and sleep during the day. So before going to school, Sean made sure to tuck his owls into bed. He also asked if he should turn on the light so they could sleep better!

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Steps: 4500


Star Trek: 01/10/06

Last night while Sean and I were baking our first batch of chocolate chip cupcakes (this time with yellow frosting) Ian introduced Sean to Star Trek. He put on the episode with the salt monster ("The Man Trap") and although Sean first protested and did some fake crying he was quickly sucked into the show.

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Steps: 10000


Computers to the Shop: 01/09/06

Ian is taking both our laptops to be worked on today. Originally we were just going to do his as his advisor will be paying for the work on his grant. Last night though I tried to install Sean's Christmas gift on my computer and realized that my machine isn't talking to the CD Rom drive any longer. So now I've got half of Sean's Reader Rabbit game stuck in my computer and I'm afraid the CD will be mangled in getting it out of my drive and Sean hasn't even gotten to use it yet!

The turn over time is 72 hours. So I'll only be making updates and reading email at work until further notice.

Update:

The repair shop doesn't have the part needed to fix the screen. Ian is trying another place. For the moment the CD is still stuck in the drive. Argh!

Update #2:

Ian took my machine to an Apple store and they will fix it for a flat $300 fee plus $50 to back up my drive just in case it gets corrupted in the process. They will take out the CD and include it in the box when they mail the machine home in about a week. They diagnosed both problems as a logic board problem. I'm glad it wasn't anything I had done!

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Steps: 5000


Cleaning Day Part Two: 01/08/06

Today we tossed out a few more boxes that had escaped yesterday's cleaning and I tackled the laundry. We also cleaned our bedroom a little but it still needs help. Oh well.

Sean's Joke:

Last night it was my turn to give Sean his bath and tuck him into bed. When he was getting dressed he selected two versions of his pull-ups and asked me which one I would like to pick. I chose one thinking he wanted help selecting one. Then he laughed and said, "No. You wear underwear!"

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Steps: 4500


Cleaning Day: 01/07/06

We spent the day at home doing a serious cleaning after the holidays. Sean helped with the recyclables (one of his favorite chores). We mostly concentrated on the upstairs today. Tomorrow is the downstairs. It was a good day to clean as it was raining once again though not as hard as it has been raining.

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Steps: 4500


Owl Post: 01/06/06

When we made the drive home on the first, we forgot Sean's owls. Judy packed them up and sent them (and two books we had also forgotten) Priority Mail. The box's arrival yesterday made Sean's day. He went to bed with Owl under one arm and Floopy-Owl under the other arm. He got the best night's sleep since returning home.

Monster in the Clock:

For about a year now Sean has had a monster living in his clock and the bedtime ritual which I think I've mentioned before includes telling the monster to stay in the clock. Anyway, a few nights ago Sean finally described his monster to me. He's small and green. The green is the shade of Frankenstein's monster but Sean's monster doesn't look like Frankenstein's monster. Sean's monster has four legs (no arms), eight eyes, eight noses and eight ears. He's also apparently a quiet monster.

Sean then told me that Ian and I have a monster in our clock radio. Our monster is very different than Sean's. Ours is big and looks more or less human but has two noses, four eyes and four ears. Our monster is very loud and likes to stomp around in his socks and boots.

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Steps: 6500


Quiet Day: 01/05/06

Usually I have about a dozen legitimate emails in my in box when I check in the morning. Today my in box is empty. It's very odd and too quiet.

Coming For Help:

Last night was the first time Sean got up out of bed and woke us up because he needed something. It was much nicer to be able to help him before he got so uncomfortable that he started crying. Once he starts crying it is very difficult to get him to calm down enough to tell us what was originally bothering him. Last night though he just came into our room and gave me a strong nudge in the arm. While he gave me quite a start he and I were back in bed in half the time we would have been had he not woken me up so directly.

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Steps: 4000


Dry Skies: 01/04/06

We're having a brief break in the rain that has been pounding the Bay Area since mid December. I had another beautiful sunrise to enjoy as I drove to work this morning. Fortunately the winds I had to fight against on the way home last night had died out by this morning. I hate driving across the bridge when I have to fight against the wind to keep my car in its lane.

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Steps: 3500


Rose Parade: 01/03/06

Last night Ian, Sean and I watched the Rose Parade while dinner was cooking. Ian had taped it earlier in the morning for me. It was amazing to see all the rain and how bedraggled all those beautiful floats had gotten by the beginning of the parade. It was the first time in roughly fifty years that it had rained on parade day. The KTLA crew, the parade participants and the parade viewers were all doing their best to stay dry with ponchos, umbrellas, and whatnot but with sheeting rain and high winds, no one succeeded! This was one year I'm glad I didn't see the parade in person.

Caligula is Home:

Ian went to Shamrock Ranch yesterday and brought Caligula home. With the strong rain storm it took him three hours to make the round trip and then he had to spend a few minutes with the cat as she's always very clingy after trips. Last night after work I had the cat following me everywhere I went or sitting on me if I sat down. Sean got a little jealous of the cat and insisted on doing the same thing (following me around and sitting on me). So there I was with my little parade of my son and my cat.

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Steps: 6000


Our Trip: 01/02/06

We drove down on Christmas Eve to South Pasadena to spend the night with Ian's parents. We had an easy drive although the roads were busy with last minute travelers. We exchanged presents and had a lovely meal of standing rib roast and potatoes and veggies.

Christmas day after a quick breakfast we drove down to San Diego where we spent the first half of our week. Sean had fun cooking with my Mom, riding in John's old fire truck, playing ball with Eddie and going to the park and beach. This year was the first Christmas where Sean really understood the idea of giving and receiving presents and was actually interested in opening his gifts and playing with his toys.

On Alice's birthday we spent the morning at the beach and then a few minutes at Eddie's house before Ian and I left to spend the rest of the day with Alice and her family. We had birthday presents and Christmas presents along with birthday pie (something chocolaty) at her parents' house. Then it was off to Fashion Valley to see the remake of King Kong. While the film was a nice remake and clearly Jackson is a fan of the original, it is too long. I have to wonder if Jackson is capable of making a film shorter than three hours. After the film we finished off the evening at P.F. Chang's. The dinner was fun for the conversation but the food was nothing to write home about.

On the 28th we drove back up to South Pasadena. A trip that should have taken an hour and a half took three hours because of traffic from Anaheim up to the 710. Anaheim has turned into a giant cement canyon made up the 16 lane highway that is the I 5 there. The freeway is so wide that one can't see any of the city! The extra lanes only seem to have made the traffic conditions worse.

On the 29th we had some good Chinese food at Spring Gardens in Pasadena. Sean had fun trying out chop sticks but mostly ate rice. He got his own bag of fortune cookies and chocolate chip ice cream after the meal (on the house). Sean is the 4th generation of Ian's family to eat at this restaurant.

New Year's Eve was nice and quiet but with the good eats that we usually have at Judy and Charlie's on that day. It was only the five of us and it was wonderful. Outside it was pouring rain so we stayed in, watched the Twilight Zone marathon, made a fire in the fire place, read books and got to bed at 12:10 AM as Ian, Sean and I had to make the drive back up on Sunday the first.

A Surreal Mixture of Sight and Sound:

Last night Ian and I played Luigi's Mansion (thanks John!) while listening to the Best of Gordon Lightfoot (thanks Mom and Dad!). It may sound like an odd combination but they worked really well together and I highly recommend the two together.

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Steps: 4500


First Post: 01/01/06

We are home after a lovely week of visiting friends and relatives. We missed a week of rain at home although the wet weather welcomed us during our drive back up the state today. More tomorrow on our adventures in southern California.

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Steps: 3000