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May 2006

Rating System

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

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A Cat, A Boy and A Horn: 05/31/06

With summer coming, Caligula has been following the sun and napping late evening on the dining room table. Last night she was still there when Ian was trying to set the table. Sean came to the rescue, blowing his toy horn (a kazoo shaped like a bugle). I didn't get a chance to get a picture but it made for a very funny scene. Caligula opened an eye and rolled onto her back but otherwise didn't move. Sean tried again with his horn and she stretched her front toes at him. So he put the horn down and tried hissing. She curled back up and pretended to go to sleep! In the end she had to physically moved because she wasn't about to budge on her own steam.

Sore Right Hip and Leg:

After a four hour can-can solo, Harriet has been snuggled down in my pelvis with her body leaning against my right side. With all her weight against the bone, I've got sciatica. It made sleeping difficult (especially when trying to roll over) and walking awkward. The pain isn't unbearable; it's just annoying. I will be walking at my lunch break and hopefully that will convince her to shift a little.

Classic Car Show:

Every six months or so the building just across from us in the alley at work hosts a classic car show. Another one of these shows is happening tonight. Most of the cars shown are from the 1950s and 1960s, cars which I wouldn't consider "classic" but I grew up with cars from the first half of the 20th century. The show usually starts at five but the cars start to arrive just as I'm leaving at four. If there are cars today when I'm heading to my car, I'll take some photographs. Just don't expect me to label them correctly!

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Steps: 8000

Back to WorkBack to Work: 05/30/06

The three day weekend is over and now I'm back at work. Sean got up before I left so we had our morning goodbye hugs.

Later today my new cell phone should switch over to take my old phone number. Then I'll have to figure out how the thing works. I've had the other phone for six years but recently it has started to act weird. It drops calls and randomly decides not to dial certain digits. Since Ian wanted to switch plans and replace his phone (he's really hard on them), I opted to join him in a family plan where we would share the same bill.

Scars on my Right Arm:

I've been taking my blood pressure at home daily for almost two months now. My right arm now has track marks from where the cuff squeezes the flesh when it is filling with air. I don't remember this happening when I had to test daily with Sean. How long will it take for the spots to fade after Harriet is born?

Updates to My Digital Art Gallery:

For the last two years, I've been linking my most recent (a year's worth) large images at the 3DCommune. I will still be doing that but I will be redirecting them through my website for two reasons. The first is I want to see which images are my most popular, something I can't quite guage in the current set up. The second reason is to make the switch over to local images easier as the pages will already be built; I will only have to remove the redirect information from the headers. So far the August and September galleries from 2005 are built and live. I hope to have the rest done by the end of this week.

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Steps: 8000

Pop Bead NecklacePop Beads: 05/29/06

Yesterday after saying goodbye to Ian's parents we headed into Pleasanton for a little while. We decided to go to Bay Books but they were closed for reroofing. Instead we went to Borders and got four books: Harriet the Spy (because we've never read it), the fourth Artemis Fowl book (to be BookCrossed when we're done), the D, E, F mystries in one volume by Sue Grafton (to BookCross the separate books) and finally a book of pop bead creatures for Sean. When we got home Sean and I spent a good couple of hours playing with his new pop beads, making all sorts of creatures.

Sleep at Last:

Although I stayed up later than I wanted because I was both working on a render and reading Fluke, I did actually sleep. In fact, I ended up getting ten hours of sleep. Poor Ian, though, didn't get much sleep last night. For whatever reason he ended up awake until three something. Then Sean got Ian up early this morning and I blissfully slept through the whole thing, waking up at just before ten. It was a solid night of dreams and comfort (except for one time when I woke up trying to sleep on my belly).

A Fish Toy for Harriet:

NeptuneA week or so ago Sean found the perfect gift for his sister, a crib toy in the shape of a turtle. Inside the turtle is an aquarium that plays music, blinks lights and blows bubbles. Since we first saw it, Sean has been insisting that we get it for Harriet and that he'll show her how to use it. Today Sean and I bought it while we were running an errand to purchase two more row shaped pots.

Strange Dreams:

During my marathon sleep last night I had a number of strange dreams. Many of them have slipped my mind now but here is what I do remember:

1) I was detective Mack Taylor (C.S.I New York character) and was about to be part of a crime scene. The murderer had laced my coffee with paint. I took a drink and tasted what she had done and spat out the drink onto my shoes. Later of course we had to test my pants and shoes as evidence.

2) We lived in a condo on the bottom floor of a mostly abandoned skyscraper. Our front door led to the street but there was also a back door from the kitchen that led through the rest of the first floor of the building. I chose to go that way one day and realized that we had a horrible rat infestation in the rest of the building!

3) Still living in the condo of dream #2, Ian and I chose to walk to Sean's school. We are living in a big city, like the Manhattan bit of New York City except with hills like San Francisco. Sean's school this time also serves as a Saturday Chinese school. There are Chinese text books lining the stairs up to the front door. We pass one of the students. I try to say something to him. He laughs because my Chinese is so terrible. Ian does better at it.

4) I am looking at high resolution photographs of an awards ceremony (Oscars or some such). Then the people in the pictures begin to move and I am now in the theater. Next thing I know, I'm a dancer and I'm heading home for the day except that I don't have any clean socks.

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Steps: 10000

Round Two of GolfNo Sleep: 05/28/06

After a full day of fun with Judy and Charlie, Harriet didn't want to sleep. Ian and I had stayed up late anyway to play a video game but then Harriet decided to try for an all nighter! She could hear Ian snoring and decided he made a very interesteding noise. She kept rolling over to get a better listen. In the process she jammed her head into my bladder and her feet into my stomach. So I was then awake (in part from the snoring and from caffeine) and uncomfortable. I gave up and went upstairs where I spent an hour reading Fluke by Christopher Moore. I finally got Harriet settled down at three in the morning. It took me until three-thirty to finally fall asleep.

Back Home:

After breakfast Judy and Charlie headed home. They will be back in August for an early birthday party for Sean. I think next time Charlie might want to play mini golf too. He and Ian will also put together the crib if Ian and I haven't gotten it together before then.

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Steps: 5000

Round Two of GolfRound Two of Golf: 05/27/06

Judy, Sean and I had a lovely time playing the castle and dragon course at the mini golf course in Castro Valley. As with our last time we didn't keep score and from the other families we saw playing they weren't keeping score either. It's a very relaxed atmosphere!

When Ian, Sean and I played it must have been eighty or ninety degrees outside. Today there was a nice breeze and some clouds. While it was hard to see sometimes with my hair blowing in my eyes, the temperature was wonderful. Our game took two delightful hours.

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch:

While we were playing golf, Charlie and Ian rebuilt the shelf that got knocked down during the wall reconstruction. They have made it wider and have hung it half a foot lower so I can reach it better. Yay!

They haven't gotten the crib out from under the house but Ian reminded me that the crib pieces are rather light. He can get them by himself from under the house and I can easily drag them from the trap door to Sean's room.

I think the last project that the two plan to together is to rehang the doorbell. They drilled holes and ran the wires through the wall when they rebuilt the wall last time. They just need to have the actual device and reconnect the wires.

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Steps: 10000

Three Day RenderRender Complete: 05/26/06

Finally at eight-thirty last night the render finished. It ended up being a three day render. Sean has been eagerly watching the the line "make big boxes into smaller boxes" as it renders. He's recently become fascinated by the process of making 3D models and renders. I suppose soon I'll be teaching him how to make his own.

I've also noticed that more and more of my artwork has been influenced by his likes and comments. He has a good eye for composition and many opinions which he shares freely. Since he likes this city picture so much I will probably include it in next year's calendar.

Lunch With Ian:

Ian was staying home to work on his code but he popped over to San Carlos for lunch with me. We had lunch at Carl's Jr and we somehow beat the lunch crowd. I guess everyone else was working late. While we ate, Ian showed off a new set of pens he bought. They are Uniball Vision Elite pens (note: they look much prettier in real life) but I can't find a picture of them online. They are the most beautiful disposable pens I've ever seen. They come in a pack of different colors and have the shape and design similar to a 1920s Waterman (but in plastic). The pack costs around $15 and I am seriously thinking of getting a set for myself.

In-Laws Visit:

Tonight Ian's parents are making the long drive up to visit us. They will probably get in after Sean's bed time but I plan to keep him up until nine in case they get there by then. Tomorrow Judy, Sean and I have plans to get vegetables at the farmers' market and then play mini-golf. Sean is very thrilled about tomorrow's plans.

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Steps: 4500

Pictures Tonight or Tomorrow Morning: 05/25/06

Last night I took some cute pictures of Sean and his newest school project: a sail boat made from a votif candle, a straw, some play-doh and construction paper. There are also photographs of our ever growing garden thanks's to Sean's enthusiasm and green thumb. Unfortunately my computer is still grinding away at a big render and Bryce and Photoshop don't play nicely together. The render, which I will also post tonight, is at 86% complete for the final stage (anti-aliasing).

Sean has learned how to bring up the pictures in the camera to preview them on the back screen. I think pretty soon he'll be taking photographs himself. He could probably do it now if I let him but I'm worried about the camera being dropped.

Don't Try to Open 270 Files at Once:

Last night while I was waiting for the render to finish I was working on fixing a set of text files that had somehow gotten their numbering really scrambled. Since each file is only 4K in size, I selected the whole lot to open and hopefully batch fix. A few 4K files are no problem but 270 files at once lead to an hour of slowly opening files. They never did all open. I could hear my computer seriously thinking about crashing to avoid doing whatever harebrained task I had planned for it. I decided to give up and go to bed. So I forced quit the process and let me poor computer rest. Mind you, this was more than an hour past my bed time!

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Steps: 4500

Caligula on the tableNap: 05/24/06

By the time work was over my late night of reading had caught up with me. As Ian was picking up Sean again I was able to crawl into bed for an hour or so of nap. I didn't fully fall asleep but I did feel rested when I got up at six-twenty.

Meanwhile Ian had cooked dinner (even though I had said I would). He barbecued a lovely tri-tip, made mashed potatoes and heated up some spinach. Yummy! Tonight it will be my turn to make dinner; I'm making homemade spaghetti sauce again.

Daily Phone Calls:

Now that I'm twenty-four weeks along I get called daily by the Kaiser nurses down in Santa Clara. I also have to test for protein in the urine each morning. So far the blood pressure and everything has been normal but I'm stuck doing this until Harriet is ten days old. Oh well.

The part that bugs me the most is the waiting for the telephone call. I should get the call between seven-thirty and eight at night but lately they haven't telephoned until closer to nine. I either have to wait for the call or have Ian talk to them if I'm giving Sean a bath. I would just like to get it over with at a consistent time and then be able to get on with the rest of my night.

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Steps: 3500

SnowcrashSnowcrash: 05/23/06

The last couple of nights I have been kept up past my bed time reading a great cyberpunk novel: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I liked the near future vision of California (especially Los Angeles) as being divided up by a series of corporate and religious run city-states. The question at hand is what is "snow crash" beyond a typical all out computer crash and who is controlling the distribution of it? Unfortunately the book loses some of its momentum near the end as the story moves to the ocean. The long bit at sea on the pirate ships, yachts and lifeboat seems out of place compared to the fast paced scenes on the roads of Los Angeles and the fights in the Metaverse. Some of my favorite bits of the book were Hiro's lenghty discussions with the Librarian over the nature of language, religion and viruses.

Carport Painted:


The weather coöperated with the painters and they were able to make a good start on the two carports on our tier. They need to finish some of the light color and all of the green trim. As the weather seems to be holding out today (although rain is predicted) they should be able to finish; I hope they do.

Besides the carports being painted today, our front stairs are getting a new coat of paint. They tried two or three times laster year just as the rainy season started. Unfortunately they hadn't realized that the pre-primed stairs had been done with oil based paint but the top coats they've been using are an acrylic based spray. Acrylic and oil don't play together nicely. The acrylic will eventually peel off the oil as our stairs have done over the last nine months.

Our Smart Son:

Sean received two wonderful compliments from his teacher. She called him brave for handling his bloody nose so well yesterday and she also said that he's very bright. She only has to tell him something one time for him to learn it!

I have to thank my mother for a great piece of parenting advice: always talk to your children and avoid baby talk. That's what we've done with Sean from day one and of course we don't expect him to always understand us and often times we end up having to run through a long list of similar words to finally get him to understand but things do stick.

Of course it sometimes leads to funny public encounters. Once when Ian an Sean were in a public bathroom and Ian asked Sean how he was doing with going potty, Sean responded with: "Don't worry about me; worry about yourself!" (something I had said to him once when we were going potty in different stalls). Sean's quip had the other men in stitches.

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Steps: 6000

CarportWill the Carport be Painted? 05/22/06

After a weekend of rain we woke up to blue skies again. Does this mean the carports will be painted today? I hope so. Right now we have these funny blotches of paint from where the painters were testing out the new scheme on the carport last summer. It will be nice to have them fully match the rest of the complex.

I did get up early on the assumption that the painters would be here at eight. I have to get up early to get Sean up for Ian so that they can get to school before they are blocked in by the painters. Ian will then be coming home to work since the school year is over. He'll be working in his hobbit hole office. He will also be picking up Sean from school some nights (like tonight) because I commented that I haven't really gotten a moment to myself this year so far. With him picking up Sean, I can have two hours (really one hour driving and one hour free) to myself before arriving home for dinner: that will be a nice treat.

Bloody Nose:

The school just called Ian and said that Sean and one of his friends crashed head first into each other. Sean ended up with a bloody nose but it has now stopped bleeding so he can stay at school. I'm sure Ian's hair is now standing on end. I had to chuckle given how many times my brother was falling over and bleeding from his nose, his mouth, his head. We even had to take him to the ER once or twice. My little brother cured me of panicking over little boy antics.

Painter Update:

Ian just reported in that the painters have arrived and are painting in front of our home. He's inside "fiddling" with code and making breakfast. That reminds me; I should have breakfast! He'll be stuck inside the house until they leave at three.

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Steps: 4500

Ian and Sean play on the Sun.Berkeley in the Rain: 05/21/06

Ian and I adore a series of chick-lit parody books by Louise Rennison. The latest one I'm reading is Startled by His Furry Shorts and I'm reading it as a book ray via BookCrossing. As book rays (and rings) are shared by a group of members, I prefer to keep these special books at home while I'm reading them. Ian didn't know this book was a ray and took it to his office in Berkeley. He left it there on Friday and today the three of us went to bring it home.

We had hoped to have lunch on campus but it was Commencement and most things were closed. We did manage to share a bowl of gelato and have some water before heading on our way. Our next thought was to try to get a pot or two at Ikea but the rain and the Commencement traffic made getting across Berkeley take an hour. By the time we got to Ikea we were more hungry than interested in standing in line to buy some pots. We tried the Denny's near the store but it was also closed!

We decided that Berkeley and Emeryville were closed for business for anyone named "Sammis" and decided to go home. It was nearly dinner time. Ian had a headache and Sean was asleep in the back of the car. We crawled home on the 80 in traffic and a driving rain. At San Lorenzo we cut east to the 580 and stopped for dinner at the Denny's that Sean and I go to for our "dates."

Watering the Fairy GardenFinally Home, Time for Play-Doh:

Ian is still recovering from last week's long hours and high stress. When we got home he disappeared for a three hour nap while Sean and I played with his Play-Doh. I made some animals out of yellow and purple dough and Sean made yellow worms of various shapes. Sean asked me to take some photographs of our handiwork.

While we played, Caligula watched it rain from her favorite seat by the kitchen windows. She doesn't like the rain, although she has gotten less frightened of it as she has aged. When she was a kitten she would howl and hide every time it rained. We think her fear comes from when she was a kitten and was left outside the Pasadena Humane Society with her siblings during a rain storm.

Fairy Garden Update:

This morning before it started to rain, I noticed that the grass in Sean's fairy garden has started to sprout. It must have grown over night because I didn't see it in his pot yesterday. Once things dry out, I will take a picture of Sean's grassy fairy garden.

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Steps: 10500

Why is the hill muddy?Rain in May: 05/20/06

Yesterday on my way home my boss told me to drive carefully because it was raining. I couldn't believe it. Where did this rain come from? Wasn't it in the high eighties yesterday?

It was raining and it had been raining for long enough and hard enough to fill up all the usual puddles in the alley.

The rain also meant a drive home that usually takes forty minutes took an hour and fifteen. I was so flustered when I finally picked up Ian. We then scurried as best we could to Sean's school and got there just as three other mothers had shown up so the driveway was nearly full of cars.

Fortunately for our drive to Chevy's, we didn't have to take the freeway. Instead we took Castro Valley Blvd. and Eden Canyon Road. We arrived before the worst of the Friday-night crowd and were seating within minutes. Sean was perfect and we all had a good time. I ended up over doing on the eating and was a little short of breath at the end of the meal. I had a pair of feet in my tummy that were pushing it into my lungs. Ooof!

On the way home the rain started to clear. It made for a difficult drive because of the sun reflecting in all the puddles on the road but we got home safely. As we were approaching Fairview we saw a lovely rainbow. I managed to get some nice pictures of it from the car as Ian was driving.

Watering the Fairy GardenOur Garden:

We finally manged to get all the things we needed today. At Target we got new socks for Sean. It turns out he's like me and doesn't like anklet socks. He prefers the longer tube socks that don't slip down into his shoes. So we found some nice red and black striped socks for him. He now wears a size 3 to 8 sock. We also splurged on a new finger painting set for Sean (as promised from earlier this year). He was thrilled!

At Home Depot we got the toilet repair kit we need. New toilet flushing mechanisms don't use a float. We also got the Gorilla glue to fix the chair. I found a regular sized heirloom variety of tomato plant for the garden called "Mister Stripey." It grows red with yellow stripes here and there. Sean also decided he wanted to try growing pumpkins and picked out a set of pumpking seedlings. Tomorrow I will go get two pots.

When we got home I took a look at our post-rain garden. I mostly wanted to check on the fairy garden to be sure it hadn't drowned. It was fine and the beans are still growing. I also noticed that Sean's sunflowers have all sprouted. I will take photographs when they get a little taller.

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Steps: 10500

Watering the Fairy GardenGardening: 05/19/06

Sean likes to help me water the plants in our balcony garden. I do most of the watering except or the fern and the parsley plant. I also have to promise not to touch Sean's fairy garden. He now waters it with his fish watering can. He does a very careful job to avoid getting the frog and mouse muddy.

Since Sean has taken over watering the parsley, it has grown twice its size and has started to go to seed. I'm leaving the parsley to do its thing because it looks so pretty.


Today is Ian's last day for the semester. We are all looking forward to tonight's trip to Chevy's. As he was up very late last night, he will be taking BART to school. Hopefully the BART ride home will give him plenty of time to get home so I can pick him up first. Sean prefers having both of us pick him up if we are doing something different than going home. If we go home, he expects to stay home. If we both pick him up, then it's okay to go somewhere else, like out to dinner.

An Invitation to Mini-Golf:

A week from today Ian's parents are coming to visit. Charlie has plans to help Ian with a few more projects around the house. Judy, Sean and I will be free to do something or go somewhere. Sean has the perfect idea: we should go minigolfing! So Judy, if you're up to a round of minigolf, you're invited to join us a week from Saturday.

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Steps: 4500

Almost Done: 05/18/06

As of Friday afternoon, Ian will be done with the semester. Before getting Sean from school, I will pick up Ian at home. Together we will get Sean and then go to dinner. We're planning on Chevy's in Pleasanton as a belated Mother's Day and happy summer break celebration.

On the way home we will stop at Target to get new socks for Sean's feet. He has outgrown most of his socks. I guess this means he'll need new shoes soon.

On Saturday we have a busy day of errands to run. We need to finally get the supplies to fix our downstairs toilet. I want to get tomatoes for planting. I already had them planted by this time last year.

More Painting:

Now that the rains have stopped and things have dried out, the painters have returned. Our carports will finally be painted. They will either be starting tomorrow or on Monday. I will have to check the posted sign when I get home. I will of course take pictures when the painting is started.

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Steps: 4000

On (Not) Pumping Gas: 05/17/06

I knew I needed to refill my car's gas tank this morning. I got dressed and out the door ten minutes early. Normally ten minutes is all I need. There is a gas station en route to the freeway. Today though the whole process took thirty minutes!

The gas station is heavily trafficed and gets a lot of use and abuse over the course of a day. Unfortunately some "patrons" take their frustrations out on the machines making it more difficult for the rest of us. Today the first pump I pulled up to said "out of order" but I would later learn it wasn't broken. The one behind it appeared to be working but the internet connection to check credit cards and debit cards was timing out. The problem was either a software glitch (the reader being just about ready to crash) or a connection problem (too much traffic to the company that checks these payments). Either way, it just wasn't going to accept any card I gave it.

I went inside to tell the man who is taking cash payments that the reader on pump 2 wasn't working and to see if I could pay via credit in person. Apparently he couldn't activate the pump with a payment while the card reader was in this funky state. He followed me outside to see exactly what it was doing. When it was clear that it needed to be rebooted, he told me to use the pump in front. I told him about the "out of order" sign and he said it shouldn't be there. I guess some previous prankster had put the sign up. The pump and reader worked fine. Unfortunately a five or ten minute trip to the pump took half an hour and I would end up being fifteen minutes late for work.

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Steps: 4000

Great Prenatal Appointment: 05/16/06

This morning I had to take Sean to school which worked fine at first. He had no trouble getting dressed and we were out the door by 8 AM. But fifteen minutes later when we had arrived at school, he suddenly melted. I just wasn't as good as Ian at the dropping off bit (even though I used to do both). I wasted a good ten minutes trying to drag him into the school. His teacher finally came to the rescue.

Anyway, I did manage to get to my appointment on time. My blood pressure was lower than it has been at previous appointments but higher than it is when I take it at home: 131/72. I have gained one pound, one ounce since last month which means that I've lost more weight and Harriet has gained the weight she needs.

The doctor said all my results from the last round of tests came back normal. Harriet is measuring tall for her age (just like her brother). She has a good, strong heart beat although she did sleep through the appointment (too much late night dancing).

I have some lab work to do on June 1 (or as late as June 3 if Ian has jury duty) and my next appointment is on June 13. My regular ob-gyn will be on a summer vacation so I will be seeing a different ob-gyn (but one I've met before).

Dragon Keeps the Monster Away:

Remember the monster that lives in Sean's clock? Apparently he's scared of Sean's recently fixed musical dragon. The dragon sings at night and keeps the dragon in the clock.

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Steps: 6000

My Bladder the Ottoman: 05/15/06

From eleven o'clock when I went to bed until three in the morning, I was having to get up every half an hour to run to the bathroom. At first it was because of all the water I had drunk over the corse of the day: it had been in the high eighties. Then it was because Harriet had decided to rest on of her feet on my bladder. She's large enough now that I could feel that it was one of her feet!

So today I am very sleepy. I'm hoping tonight she'll find somewhere else to put her feet so I don't have to get up so much. I really want some good sleep tonight.

Dragon Fixed:

When Sean was a baby he was given a dragon or a dinosaur (not sure which) that plays five different songs (one per foot and the tail). Not a month after he had it I tripped over it and the thing stopped playing songs. As it's a stuffed dragon I figured I would have to destroy it to fix the electronics. We put the toy away but it resurfaced last month when Sean was exploring "Narnia" (under the stairs). He saw the notes and quickly realize that it must be meant to play songs and has been nagging me ever since then to fix it. In our family I am the go to person for toy and clothing fixing. Sean has complete confindence in my abilities to fix any broken toy, ripped piece of clothing or torn book.

Dinosaur or DragonI explained to Sean numerous times that this dragon required some major surgery and that I possibly wouldn't be able to fix it. The end result may be a "Frankenstein's monster" dragon. He still insisted that the risk was worth it. So yesterday having nothing else to do while he napped, I decided to finally (after nearly 4 years of fretting over it) attempt fixing the dragon.

I quickly realized that I could do most of the surgery through the yellow bag behind the Velcro pouch that holds the battery pack. I ripped out the stitching of the yellow bag and took a few stiches out of the tail as it's right behind the pouch. From there I found the speaker and electronics that are the brains of the music player. I had to remove the stuffing to get at the wire in the tail as it is the longest piece of wire. In the process I cleaned out some fluff that had gotten tangled up in the button for the tail. I also unscrewed the back of speaker and gave a quick cleaning to the wires. I didn't see any signs of a broken wire or one that had fallen off the board so I screwed it all together.

Before putting the whole thing back together and stitching up the small hole in the tail, I found some new batteries to test my work so far. I was shocked when the thing started to work! I quickly restuffed the tail, put the pieces back together and into the dragon and sewed him up. Other than a small bluge at one end of the pouch, one would never have guessed that I had done surgery on the dragon.

I placed the now fixed dragon by Sean who was napping. When he woke up a few hours later he was all grins. I think I received an hour long hug from him for fixing his "musical singing dragon." Of course now he probably thinks I can fix anything!

Appointment Tomorrow:

Tuesday morning I have my next prenatal appointment. I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow's appointment. I just want to get it over with. Since Harriet is so active I'm really not worried about how she's doing. I know we'll hear her heart beat. I know she's growing as the lump of my belly is sticking out even more and it's not my belly fat. Oh well, only about six more appointments left.

Before that, I have to take Sean to school because Ian has an early morning final to take. Sean is very excited to have me taking him to school rather than Ian. Then in the afternoon we're swapping and Ian is picking up Sean.

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Steps: 6000

We make a fairy gardenFairy Garden: 05/14/06

The weather is finally perfect to put together the fairy garden that my mom gave us for Christmas. Sean did most of the work which included painting the pot, putting the dirt in the pot, planting the grass and beans, placing the rocks for the house, making the path and putting the animals and shells down. I helped here and there but mostly had fun watching him and taking pictures.

More Grading:

Ian is at Berkeley to finish grading the finals for one of the classes he taught a section of. They had done most of the grading on Friday but decided it would be best to finish the last third today.

Blueberry Muffins:

We still had a box of blueberries so Sean and I decided to make blueberry muffins rather than biscuits for breakfast. It was our first time making them but the were really easy to make and they turned out perfectly. The recipe said they should bake fully in twenty minutes but our batch needed thirty minutes. That was the only goofy thing.

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Steps: 3500

Sean plays mini golfOur Day in Castro Valley: 05/13/06

This morning we all went to the Castro Valley farmers' market. What we didn't realize is that it's rodeo season again and Castro Valley was hosting the parade to welcome the start of the rodeo. Nor did we realize that the staging ground for the parade floats and horses was in the same BART parking lot as the market. Traffic and parking was trickier than usual but we did manage to find a spot and get our vegetables.

Afterwards we had to go back into Hayward and cut across to the backside of Castro Valley boulevard via Grove and Foothill. Even with the traffic congestion due to the parade, the mini golf place was very busy. There was one or two birthday parties going on as well as a dozen or so families with children around Sean's age. Nonetheless we had no problem signing in.

The course was one of the hardest ones I've played. Ian and I were out of pratice and Sean had never played. Also, I quickly found that being pregnant makes putting difficult. I couldn't align the putter against my hips as I should have because Harriet was in the way. We decided not to keep score, to let Sean place his ball where ever he wanted on the course and to do light tossing of the ball when necessary. We dubbed this version "Hyper Mulligan Rules." Not keeping score made for a stress free and fun day.

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Steps: 15000

Date Night: 05/12/06

Tonight is my date with Sean at Denny's after work and school. Sean is so excited about our date that he woke up at six-thirty this morning. He normally sleeps until seven-thirty on week days. All his excitement woke up Harriet and she started kicking happily when she heard Sean giggling in our bed.

On weekdays when Sean wakes up this early, he likes to see me on my way. I give him a goodbye hug. He stands with the front door open (but screen door closed) to watch me get into my car. He shouts sweet things to me like "have a good day at work" and then once I start to back the car out he closes the door and goes back downstairs to Ian.

Sunday is Mothers' Day:

I'm sure most readers in the States know that Sunday is Mothers' Day but it completely slipped my mind. I have been so concentrated on Ian's semester ending and making sure I can help with Sean to keep him from stressing too much that the holiday just wasn't on my radar. We never really do anything special anyways for the holiday but I've completely forgotten to get my mother a card. Sorry Mom!

Best on the Web:

I just received the nicest compliment for my Bryce freebies section.

What a brilliant freebie site, I have looked everywhere for content like you have on your site, superbly excellent and loads of it - the best on the web!

It's nice to receive feedback, especially positive feedback.

Baja Fresh:

A coworker treated us to lunch at Baja Fresh. It was a really nice treat. The last time I had Baja Fresh it set off a bought of morning sickness. Fortunately this time it tasted normal and Harriet seems to have enjoyed it. She's woken up and is now kicking away.

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Steps: 4500

A Friday Date: 05/11/06

Friday night Ian will be helping proctor and grade a final exam. He won't be home until after Sean's bed time. That means it's "date night" for Sean and me. Sean's idea of a perfect date is dinner at Denny's, so that's what we're doing. He'll be having "old cheese sandwich", bears and apple sauce and milk. I will be having a club sandwich and a drink. We will be sharing a plate of French fries. He is thrilled to be having another date night with me; it's all he's been talking about for the last couple of days.

Sunday is Mothers' Day:

I'm sure most readers in the States know that Sunday is Mothers' Day but it completely slipped my mind. I have been so concentrated on Ian's semester ending and making sure I can help with Sean to keep him from stressing too much that the holiday just wasn't on my radar. We never really do anything special anyways for the holiday but I've completely forgotten to get my mother a card. Sorry Mom!

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Steps: 3500

Sean the flirtSean the Flirt: 05/10/06

I let Sean water the hill again when we got home. With being pregnant, my first concern getting home was getting to the bathroom. I told Sean he could play by himself as long as he stayed put and was careful. It worked great and he was happily watering the rocks and ivy.

Unfortunately I think is five minutes of unsupervised play gave him some ideas. While we were out there, some girls a little older than him were on their balcony with their father who was barbecuing. Sean took a little time off from watering to flirt with them. Later after I had left for my monthly BookCrossing meeting, Sean heard a different set of girls outside and decided to go outside to flirt with them but he didn't tell Ian! This is the first time Sean has ever let himself outside like this. Ian understandedly freaked out and gave Sean a stern talking to when he found him.

I think the leason of don't go outside without asking permission first has sunk in. When I got Sean up this morning he was worried that he couldn't go to school because he was still in trouble for going outside last night without telling Ian. We reassured him that he wasn't in trouble any longer and could go to school. That cheered him up but he did promise to ask permission the next time he wants to go outside.

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Steps: 3500

Up the hillSean the Mountain Man: 05/09/06

A couple months ago the gardeners removed the juniper hedge by our stairs to give more visibility to stairs. Our next door neighbors work odd hours. At least one of them is a local security officer and so she's often working the graveyard shift. She didn't feel safe going up and down the stairs with the big bushes there.

Now that they've been removed, there is a nice solid dirt hill that is tempting for Sean. He loves to run up and down it. Yesterday I caught some photographs of him playing on the hill after we'd gotten home. At the end he also took some time to cool off by playing with the hose. I didn't get any photographs of him playing with the hose.

Sean has learned how to turn the water on and off because of the toilet with the broken float (to be fixed after Ian finishes his semester). Sean decided to see if the hose spout would turn on the same way. It did and he was quickly splurted with water. Sean looked nervously at me to see if he'd get in trouble. The look on his face was so funny that I started to laugh. My laughter made everything okay and so I let him play with the hose for about five minutes before herding him inside the house.

BookCrossing and Pregnancy:

Tonight is our monthly BookCrossing get-together in Dublin. Last year (or was it 2004?) I purchased a tie dye shirt from the site that sports the site's logo. Two months ago the shirt was too tight because of some initial bloating with the pregnancy. Now that I've been eating much better (not perfectly but still much better), the shirt fits again, even with my huge baby bump. By this time with Sean, I was already in maternity clothes and I'm not with Harriet. I can tell from where she can kick and punch me that she's not much different in size from Sean; it's just that I'm in better shape.

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turtleFour Months: 05/08/06

Friday marked four months old for my coworker's baby. It also marks the remaining four months to my pregnancy since we know Harriet will be born on September 5th. Then in a year, I'll have my hands full with either a crawling or crusing baby if Harriet takes after her brother. Of course Sean never bothered with crawling or crusing. He went from sitting to standing to walking to running. He was walking competantly by ten months. I think part of that was peer pressure at day care.

Sean's Cold:

Sean slept well last night and was up before I was even dressed this morning. He is now coughing but his nose looks better. I'm half expecting a call to come pick him up today. As Ian is in the final crunch at the end of the semester, I will have to be the one to pick him up today if he needs picking up. I really hope though that he can stay in school because he enjoys it so much.

It's now two hours before I leave to pick Sean up from school. I'm taking the lack of telephone calls as a good sign. Hopefully Sean can keep his cold under control for the rest of the week because things are going to get a little crazy here at work for me and at Berkeley for Ian.

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Steps: 6000

pikachuHome Again: 05/07/06

Sean is still coldy so we had another "rest-a-day" at home so he'll be well enough for school tomorrow. We spent much of the day rewatching volume 14 of Pokémon: Sean's current obsession. He's also now claimed my Pikachu toy as his. I bought Pikachu back in 1999 or early 2000 when we had just moved up to the Bay Area. We were still living Daly City and I was working contracts. When I was between contracts I had the habbit of watching Pokémon in the afternoon as I sent off my resumes.

Dance-dance Baby:

I didn't sleep well last night even though I needed to. I knew that Ian would be getting up early and I would have to get up with Sean to keep him out of Ian's hair. I would also need to bake biscuits (Sundays are my day to make breakfast) early enough for Ian to get to Berkeley to meet his advisor.

I did get up early but I didn't get the good sleep I wanted. No; Harriet had other ideas. First she tickled my scar. Then she gleefully kicked my bladder. Later rolled around, pausing sometimes to kick my stomach. When she finally fell asleep, she was nestled against both sciatic nerves. On top of that, she must be growing because my ligaments were aching all night. At one point I ended up screaming when trying to roll over: there was no comfortable way to do it.

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Steps: 3500

calico toyWhere I Work: 05/06/06

I've been at my current job for two and half years but until yesterday I've not taken an photographs. It just feels strange taking pictures at work as if work is a more private space than home. However, I do have some nifty things in and around my desk, so I've taken pictures of them to share.

No Farmers' Market Today:

The Castro Valley farmers' market is now open but Sean's cold is still bad and he just didn't feel like going out. I couldn't leave him with Ian because Ian is in his last days of this semester and needs time to study and work. If Sean is feeling better tomorrow, he and I will go to the green grocers around the corner.

Big Pot of Turkey Stew:

As this will be a busy week for Ian, I have made a big pot of turkey stew that should take care of most of the meals this week. I've been slow cooking it since two this afternoon.

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Steps: 3500

prickly pearBlue Berries "Better than Sliced Bread": 05/05/06

After lunch with Sean and Ian at Carl's Jr. yesterday, Sean decided he did want his french fries after all: he never eats them at Carl's. Of course we had thrown them away. While he was in the restroom at work for a potty break before heading home, I put together a snack cup of fresh blue berries and some dried berries. He loved them and I was asked to get more on the way home! As I already had to get milk and some other items, I opted to shop at Trader Joe's rather than a more traditional grocery store. When I got home with a bag filled with Sean's favorite fruits (bananas, blue berries, and various dried berries) his whole face lit up.

New California Photographs:

My parents just got back from what seems to be becoming their annual camping trip to the desert. Mom sent me two lovely photographs which I've added to my California photograph page.

"You have a Harriet":

Sean has gotten used to the idea that there is a baby sister growing inside of me and that her name is Harriet. He's gone from reminding me that I "have a baby in my belly" to saying that I "have a Harriet in my belly."

Now that Harriet is just as active as Sean was, she's fairly easy to feel through my skin. Ian got his first change (beyond the kick he felt once while hugging me) to feel Harriet. She happily kicked his hand for a few minutes before settling down. Ian was thrilled.

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Steps: 3500

Out to Dinner: 05/04/06

Last night both of us forgot to go to the grocery store for a few needed staples and Sean was hungry due to an on-going growth spurt (insisting that he never gets fed at his new school). We decided to go out to dinner instead. We went to Baker's Square.

Sean and Ian Home Again:

Sean's nose is on the attack again and Ian's been called to fetch him from school. On any other day I'd be able to get him and let Ian finish his day at Berkeley but these last two times that Sean has gotten sick I've been stuck at work for very important and time critical projects.

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Steps: 8000

Fatherhood: 05/03/06

Every morning I check out the Big Head Cats blog to see if a new painting has been posted. This morning I was delighted and amused with the current piece: Fatherhood. In it, a large blue tom looks out from the canvas, doing his best to hold back his annoyance as a young kitten (I'm assuming male), smiles as he bites on his father's tail. The painting captures perfectly the daily loving "abuse" that Ian puts up with as Sean climbs on him, tickles him, bounces on him and generally uses him as a jungle gym.

Up at Five:

Ian got up at five in the morning to finish some grading. Harriet heard him get up and started dancing. I lost about an hour of work and fell asleep briefly again at six before the alarm went of at half past. Now I'm at work at she's still dancing.

More Stress Over Totoro:

Sean is still freaking out over the Disney version of My Neighbor Totoro. The problem is he's been rather a jerk about how he's complaining and I just don't feel like caving in to see if we can buy an older Fox version. I think for the moment we will just have to declare the house a Totoro-free zone.

Blueberries for Breakfast:

Blueberries are in season and I'm enjoying a handful of fresh berries on my shreaded wheat cereal. They are such a nice treat!

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Steps: 6000

First Pictures: 05/02/06

The new camera is very easy to use and the images it produces are eye popping. I have yet to try the advanced features. In the meantime I need to load up on lithium batteries and find a camera case for it.

Frustration for Sean:

Last night the Disney rerelease of the Totoro DVD (originally a Fox release) arrived from As far as Sean was concerned, it was a completely different Totoro and it wouln't be as good. He burst into tears twice and threw himself on the floor a few times for dramatic effect. Eventually though he did watch enough to realize it was the same and he did like the fact that it was now in Japanese like his other anime favorites. Will showing new things to Sean ever be any easier? He's so happy go lucky with trying new things at school but at home it can be so traumatic!

Sean the Mathematician:

When I picked Sean up from school last night his teacher complimented him on his advanced math skills. They've just started learning basic addition and Sean already knows all of his numbers and some simple addition (of the 1 + 1 variety). It's nice to know that he's already got a head start on his academic studies.

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Steps: 5000

Arms and Legs: 05/01/06

Let me start first with Harriet. The last couple of nights just as I've gone to bed, she has decided to practice rolling over for the big head-down turn she'll have to make at the start of the third trimester. She's ended up breech once and her second time, I'm not sure which way she ended up pointing. All I know is that I felt two hands and two feet and a good strong kick, like a swimmer doing a flip at the end of the pool for the start of a return lap.

Now on to my arms and legs. I've been having trouble sleeping due to hip pain. Last night I found a few comfortable positions for sleeping without hurting my hips. Unfortunately, these positions put my arms and hands asleep!

Sean's Belt:

Two weeks ago I ordered a black leather belt for Sean's new pants because while the pants are the right length, the waists are for a much rounder child. Most chain stores do not sell belts for boys but do sell them for little girls (in gastly pastel colors). Fortunately I found a place online that sells nice clothing for children, including belts for boys.

Anway, the belt should have shown up last week but I made a wee mistake on the address and put my work address as an avenue, rather than a street. UPS refused to deliver the package on Friday because the street address was incorrect. Good grief! UPS makes at least one delivery to our place every day (sometimes two) and there is only one Laurel of any variety in San Carlos and therefore only one place with the street number I gave. I sent them a curtly wordly email with a link to Google Maps and they took the hint and delivered my package this morning.

Good grief number two! I just got a phone call from a 734 area code saying UPS sill couldn't deliver my package. Um, hello, it was delivered an hour ago! WHY DO PEOPLE INSIST ON PAYING TWICE THE AMOUNT OF THE USPS FOR CRAPPIER SERVICE? I love the USPS. They don't jerk me around. They hold my package at a convenient location if there is a problem with delivery and their prices are cheaper than any other package delivery service!

The Digital Camera:

The new digital camera arrived today -- five days early. It came via USPS. They didn't get lost. I will post new images tonight after Ian and I have had time to play with it.

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Steps: 6000

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