Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ear Infection

It was just another ear infection. I went and got the pink medicine.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Disaster

A tree falling over would be too easy.

EJP is on his way to the emergency room. Again. He's been feeling sick the past couple of days and complaining about his ear, and we took his temperature this afternoon and it was 101 degrees. So, rather than a catastrophe on Christmas Day, RCP decided to take him in today. Since it is Saturday, his doctor isn't around, so off to the hospital.

I will update as we learn more.

Friday, December 15, 2006

EJP's Prayer

I wish God had a spider costume. And I wish I had a spider costume. Amen. And I wish Jesus had a spider costume. Amen.

I'm Funny

While dressing EJP this morning, he said "I'm funny." Then he put his hands in his armpits, and said "Squirt, squirt, squirt," while moving his elbows up and down. "See, that was funny." Apparantly, he (and some other kids) do this at school regularly, and think it is very funny.

It is clear that he wants to be the class clown.

Anyone have advice for the class clown?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

EJP Speaks

Mom, I want a French manicure!

Person to Person

We spend a lot of time driving. Sometimes, we have intersting discussions.

Recently, we were talking about the telephone system from days of yore. Dad mentioned a concept that is completely alien to me: The person to person call.

Here's how it works. I call the operator and tell her I want to talk to RKCP at a given number. She would call the number and ask for RKCP. If she was there, I'd be connected and pay a higher rate. If she wasn't there, I'd pay nothing.

I will leave it to the reader to determine if this was an interesting conversation or not.

Hey, you can still do this! Why can you still do this? When would you use it?

The charge for a person-to-person call to another state is $1.15 a minute with a $12.50 operator service charge.

For your reference, here's what you do:
  • Dial '00.'
  • Enter the 10-digit number you're calling, starting with the area code. (It is not necessary to enter 1 or 0 before the area code.)
  • You will then hear prompts telling you to say "person-to-person."
  • The operator will come on the line to assist you in reaching the specific person or department.

Dividing Line Restored

Madera County is the geographic middle of the state; it is halfway between Mexico and Oregon. To mark the spot where north meets south, someone planted two trees in the median of Highway 99, a few miles south of the city of Madera. The northern tree is a redwood, and the southern is a palm tree.

Last winter, the redwood fell down during a storm. Southern California appeared victorious in the eternal struggle.

Now, the North will rise again: CalTrans has planted a new redwood tree.

(Who would have guessed that CalTrans would be party to something that this? Do they have a personality, or even a soul? I never would have guessed.)

First Trip to the Dealer

I took the Hyundai to Smitty for its second oil change. He noticed that something needed to be smoethinged, at the dealer. Its not a big deal, but it makes me feel like I don't have a new car anymore. *sniff*

That Permanent Smell

When we were getting into my car today, SKGP said that my car smells permanent. When asked for an explanation, she said it smelled like a permanent marker. And, she was right -- it did smell like that.

Christmas Party

Last night, we had a Christmas party at PaceHouse 2.0. It was fun. There was lots of good food, some tasty drinks, and lots of fun conversation. And it showed that Trader Joe's in Morgan Hill is a very good thing.

We experienced the offical drink of South Africa (with a name I've forgotten), which is amarula (marula fruit cream) and creme de menthe. It was a very yummy gold and green shooter.

The attendees were:
  • Andrew and Tammi
  • Arielle and Catalina
  • Erik, Sheryl, and Dylan
  • Faith and Pierre
  • David and Rebecca
  • Pallavi
  • JEP, RKCP, SKGP, and EJP
I used the Champagne Sabre on a bottle of Kirkland Champagne. What else could you ask for in a party?

Christmas Fun

"While the bagel's cooking, I'm going to play Baby Jesus."

Yes, the Fisher Price Nativity Set is the getting the most play of any toy in a long time.

Trader Joe's Mania Hits South Valley

Ripped from the headlines:

Gilroy Dispatch, December 9, 2006
Big crowds show support for specialty grocer

Much to the delight of many, Trader Joe's is finally open. After years of longing by residents and eight months of plans and construction, the specialty food chain opened it's doors to loyal South County shoppers Friday morning.


"Obviously it's very popular," said [RKCP], a Gilroy nutritionist, who added spinach and curry sauces to her cart. "I was amazed to pull into the (117-space) parking lot after 9am and see it was already packed."

I expect a letter to the editor asking for a correction: She is a dietitian, not a nutritionist. I'm a little worried that I have spinach to look forward to soon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Injustice of Youth

"Why did I only get $1 for my tooth? Emily's sister got $20."

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Another Tooth

SKGP lost another tooth today. One of her top, front ones.

All together:
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth.
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you "Merry Christmas."

It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle."
Gosh, oh gee, how happy I'd be
If I could only whistle.

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you "Merry Christmas."
OK, she's only missing one at this point.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Christmas Disaster '06

My family has a couple Christmas traditions. We always watch A Christmas Story at least once. We open stockings as a group in the morning, and all sing "Ri-Co-La" when the cough drops arrive. We also have an annual Christmas disaster.

Once, we put the turkey in the little dorm fridge. The little door to the ice area was open, and so the turkey was found frozen solid on Christmas morning. A scouting party eventually found a turkey at the bowling alley restaurant.

Once, the garbage disposal got clogged up, and the sink filled up.

Once, mom was taken to the emergency room, just in case.

Tonight, our giant tree fell over as we ate dinner. The stand we have might not be able to handle a tree this big. So, I'm off to Target to see if there is a stand that can handle something this big.

I hope that this counts as the Christmas disaster for 2006.

Family, please post comments of the other disasters that I've forgotten....

Christmas Time Is Here

Tis the season!

Christmas Parade, where On Friday, RCP wrapped the staircase banister with lights and put up various holiday thingies. Yesterday, EJP and I put up the exterior lights. Then last night, we saw the Gilroy Christmas Parade; SKGP and RCP marched with the Brownies. We also got to take some pictures with Santa.

Today, we went and picked our Christmas tree. The place where we got the tree last year didn't grow Douglas Firs, which we have decided is our official tree. So we found the Uvas Tree Farm (11370 Watsonville Road, Gilroy, CA 95020. Phone: 408 842-3746). Here's how they describe their operation:
We have unique and individual trees for the unique individual. If you are looking for a tree that looks like it was shaped in a pencil sharpener you will not find it here...we have no two trees a like. What we do have are healthy well cared for trees in a friendly environment and customers that keep coming back, once they have been here. We might not look like much from the outside but it's what's inside that counts.
We found the place, and the guy sent us down to a cow pasture / forest. The cows were gone, but they left mementos of their time. After wandering around for half an hour, we chose a tree. It is very big, and it definitely doesn't look like it was "shaped in a pencil sharpener". It has character.

We made it home, loaded it into the stand. It falls over a little, but that'll just add to its charm when it drops on us during presents opening. With Gramzilla's newly arrived help, we rearranged the furniture a bit and brought it in.

Now we're listening to Christmas music, with a fire in the fireplace. And drinking wine and eating yummy appetizers. And RCP is wrapping lights around the tree.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Today is the end of an era. We just discovered that Greg is leaving the Wiggles. He's the good one; he wears Yellow and drives the (toot toot chugga chugga) big red car. Plus he's the lead singer.

From the article:
Page, 34, said he had been diagnosed with a chronic condition called orthostatic intolerance. While not life-threatening, he said it caused his heart to fail to pump enough blood around his body when he stands up, making it difficult to keep up with the band's strenuous performances and global touring schedule.

"This emotional decision was one which was very difficult, as I have dedicated almost half my life to the Wiggles," he said in a statement. "I will miss the other guys very much, as well as seeing all the children in the audiences."

How do you tell your kids that their childhoods are over, that innocence is lost?

For the younger, more easily tricked children out there, they are replacing Greg with some second stringer who isn't fit to wear the Yellow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Want Our Highspeed Rail!

According to this article, we Californians might have to wait another couple of years to decided if we want to think about having a high speed rail system from LA to SF. For anyone who spent last weekend (like we did) slogging across the state (and you must have been there; the roads were packed), it should be obvious that this rail line would be a good thing.

(And this, coming from a card carrying libertarian, [if not a completely dedicated one].)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Science has murdered sleep

This article shows a future where sleep becomes more and more irrelevant. The world the kids are growing up to is going to be so different, with their jetpacks and flying cars.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

You Ruined My Life

EJP said that just now.

Good Lord, how am I going to survive?

Our Tiny New Friends

For the past couple days, SKGP has been itchy. Because a friend had a bout of head lice last week, we were suspicious. This morning, I was sent to the store to pick up some special shampoo. As we combed her hair with the special brush, our fears were confirmed. Infestation.

We think we killed them.

Now my head itches. And the other areas of my body that are covered with hair. I've got a lot of hair.

DMP is going to read this and freak out. We may not get a lot of work done together this week.

Mouse is to mice as louse is to lice. So, what does that say about spouses?

A Fun Day

Yesterday, we had a nice family day.

We got up and lounged about for a while. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We went to SKGP's gymnastics. We came home and had lunch, and EJP took a nap. There was a minimum of fussing, yelling, and screaming, which makes any day a good day.

We went to the 4:00 PM showing of The Jungle Book, performed by Children's Musical Theater San Jose. The kids, aged 6 - 13, were very good and the sets and costumes were high quality. This production was the exact opposite of a Little Mermaid show (which completely blew -- we were very happy SKGP chickened out of joining) that we saw earlier this year put on by a Gilroy group. Both troupes ensure all the kids have a part in the play, so it must be the adults who make the difference.

After the show, we went to our favorite restaurant Aqui for dinner, which was excellent. They are opening a Campbell restaurant next spring, so watch for it. I just sent an email to them asking them to open a Gilroy restaurant -- A man can dream, can't he?

After dinner, we went to Sweet Retreat (which I found when RCP was convinced I was going the wrong way) and had really big ice creams. Then we drove past our old house (which is still a work in process), and home, listening to a song about a skunk over and over.

Let's do that again sometime.

World's Greatest Song

The following song, by Lucas Miller (the singing zoologist!), seems to be the greatest song my kids have ever heard:
Stinkle, stinkle, little skunkie
Tell me why you smell so funky
Lifting up your tail so high
You're so stinky, you make me cry
The fourth time through, they were still laughing like maniacs.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Travel Tip: Security Wait Times

If you're worried about how long its going to take to get through the airport, TSA has a website that shows the average and maximum wait times at security at each airport.

Better yet, I recommend flying in chartered planes, since you then bypass security altogether.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lifehack: Flipping the Mattress

The people say that you're supposed to flip your mattress regularly in order to minimize lumps and sagging . I've always had the problem that I don't know which way to flip. As the "strong" one in the relationship (ha!), it's always my job to do the deed, and I worry if I'm doing it right.

Last time I had to do it, I thought for a minute how to make sure I didn't mess up. I came up with:
On each of the 4 possible mattress positions, use a Sharpie to write a number 1 through 4. When it's time to flip, add one to the current side, and make that side be up. After 4, go back to 1.

This post suggest one way to do it based on time of year, but I think I'd forget what season meant what. They suggest flipping every 3 months, which seems like a good interval.

American Scientist Online seems to have the same system as mine, but it's buried in complex math, and they count from o to 3, so my system is obviously better.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Knights in Shining Armor

Congratulations SKGP, you are hereby recognized by Rod Kelley School for your overall academic improvement or exemplary academic performance. We applaud you for what you have accomplished and look forward to hearing even more great things about you in the future.

Incidentally, with this honor, the child gets a pizza lunch with the principal. However, since we found the award and letter tonight (after the pizza) on the floor, she still doesn't know what she missed. When RCP was picking S from school, the principal helped load her in the car and he said "Hey, weren't you on the pizza list for today?" to which she replied "No!".

When We Soa A Tiger

I saw a tiger... as fers as can be. I was so skard I theroo my hands in the air and I sartid to screem. Me and my fierend Jazzlyn whent on a hont on are way there was a tiger we war so scard we ran away and started to screem. The next daye thot we soa a nother tiger but it was the same tiger.

(There are also pictures to go along with the story.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

iRobot II: This Time It's Personal

Our Roomba has been acting up recently. It would move about slowly and jerkily. For a bit of research on the net, it was getting clogged up. I did my best to clean it with canned air and at a tire fillling station, but it still moved crazily.

Since we had bought it at Costco, which has the greatest return policy, I returned it today. I've had it for a month and a half and they didn't bat an eye to give me a full refund. I love Costco. Then I went into the store and bought a new one.

Which brings us to the contest: Name that robot!

We're looking for a name for the new robot. The first was called "Roomba." A little family discussion yielded "Cinderella", "Snow White" (but the robot is not white), "Rosie" (from the Jetsons), or "Alice" (from the Brady Bunch).

Leave comments with your votes or suggestions. The kids will probably be the final say. Thanks for the help.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Sloane Manuever

SKGP invented a technique for getting onto the swings at recess and starting to swing. She grabs the chains, and then jumps and gets into the swing, which starts swinging becuase of the jump. Now all the other kids are doing it too. She's quite proud of this.

Ha ha ... He Said Ballcock

As I mentioned, our toilet was running.

Last weekend, I went down to OSH and picked up a new ballcock which I had decided was the problem. Why did I think that? I looked in one of our home-repair books, and that seemed a likely candidate.

I went with the Korky QuietPlus. Sure, it costs a little more, but why be cheap with your toilet?

Halfway through the installation, I realized that I had done this before, a couple times at PaceHouse 1.0. So, things went smoothly.

Once the part had been replaced, I turned the water back on (then tightened the dripping hose) and flushed. Everything worked well, except it still ran.

So, it was the flapper. I sent RKCP to get one (another fine Korky product!), and we've been flushing just fine ever since. Except the othe leaking hose, which I fixed that night.

Touched By The Hand of God

At Mass this evening, we'd gotten through the part where we're supposed to hold hands and then the part where you shake everyone's hands. As the service moved on, I noticed the couple next to me discreetly squirting Purell hand sanitizer and rubbing it into their hands.

It seems to me that this violates the Spirit of the occasion.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

 Posted by Picasa

Student of the Month

She's done it again.

For the month of October, 2006, SKGP is one of the Students of the Month at Rod Kelley School.

For your unfailing willingness to regularly go above and beyond for others, we hereby recognize SKGP as an example of citizenship worth of emulation by us all. Congratulations.
Yay for her! We are very proud and lucky.

The Honeymoon is over

We've had a good run, but it was going too well to continue forever.

Our new house isn't as new as it used to be. The toilet is running when it isn't supposed to. I now have to remember how to fix things around the house, and run to OSH to buy the thingamajob I need. Luckily, I still remember how to curse.


Saturday, October 21, 2006


EJP: I'm hungry. I want some breakfast.

What do you want?

EJP: Waffle ... or cereal ... or quesadilla.

You don't want a quesadilla.

EJP: I want a quesadilla.

No one eats quesadillas for breakfast.

EJP: Except me. Dad, I want a quesadilla for breakfast.

PostScript: EJP: Dad, I don't like quesadillas. Can I have cereal?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Google Rocks

I've got a Palm Treo 650 and it's pretty handy. Being able to access my contacts and calendar is invaluable, and being able to surf the web and play backgammon is nice.

Today, the device became a lot more useful for my job. Google release Google Maps for Treo which give you real time access to maps and driving directions and traffic and aerial photos. If you have a Palm (and a good data package with your phone provider), you need this. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sad Day

One of SKGP's classmates, Julio, was killed walking to school yesterday. He was walking across the street with his brother, and a pickup hit him. It happened at the same time I was driving her to school -- just a block away.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We're Back

We have returned from our cruise. Among the highlights were the rock wall and skating rink on the ship, and the careening through the treetops in Jamaica. It was also great to see some of my long lost family.

The lowlights mostly center around children not making the right choices.

Pictures and videos in a bit.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Freedom of The Seas

Tomorrow the family is flying to Miami, FL to board the Freedom of the Seas (the world's largest cruise ship) to tour the Caribbean for a week. We are having a family reunion of sorts; there will be 17 people in all. Aside from the locals, we will be joined by some of my Canadian relatives, who I haven't seen in a long long time.

And with EJP being potty trained, we get to hand the kids over to the daycamp style service they have for kids, which SKGP enjoyed a bunch on our last cruise.

(Please no hurricanes; please no hurricanes)

Amazing Phone Tricks

Everyone must play with This is the coolest bunch of phone tricks.

You sign up for a free account, and pick a new phone number in your area code. Then you configure your other phone numbers, such as cell and office and home. Then people call you at the new number and the appropriate phones ring.

The ultra cool stuff includes recording the calls, and listening to the person leave voicemail. Just like screening with an answering machine, you hear what they are saying to your vmail, and can jump in if you decide to talk to them. You can have different ring sounds based on who is calling.

Play with it. Love it.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Dad's Day

We had a corporate holiday yesterday, I believe due to Rosh Hoshanna. As usual when I have a seemingly random day off of work, RCP has to go to work that day and SKGP has school, so we don't do fun stuff; I get to be the parent in charge.

My day went something like this...

7:00 AM - Get kids ready to go. Luckily, RCP helped.
8:20 AM - Get SKGP to school
8:30 AM - Get EJP to school

Come home, make a couple work calls, get the library books, return them, go to Costco for batteries and antivirus protection (and a new TV). Bring stuff home and unload the car. TVs are heavy.

11:30 AM - Pick up EJP from school

Feed him lunch (quesadillas and milk). Put him down for a nap. Spend some time fitzing with my iPod (great invention -- you should have one). Process some work email. Watch some TV with EJP, post-nap.

2:20 PM - Pick up SKGP and Kiley from school

Bring the trio of kids home and give them a cookie or two. They play for a while, until EJP hits Kiley, which forces me to bring him down with me.

3:30 PM - Drop SKGP and Kiley off at religious education

Drive to Morgan Hill to pick up my dry cleaning and get gas. EJP falls asleep in the car for a bit.

4:45 PM - Pick up SKGP from religious education

Go home. RCP is home. We have dinner and go for a walk. We fight with SKGP about reading. They go to sleep, we watch TV until sleep.

Now, I'm up at 4:45 AM to go to a 9:00 AM meeting in Bakersfield.

All in all, it was fun but very busy.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


EJP is potty trained.

Last week, he had a doctor's appointment. Dr. Pitts told him that he shouldn't have any more diapers or pull-ups.

We've had some accidents, but we are definitely seeing results. Today, he went #2 all by himself unprompted. He has been dry for 36 hours or so. If he make it 3 days, he gets a cool new dinosaur. Yesterday, we got him some Power Rangers underwear, which he loves.


Back to School Night

We met with SKGP's teachers at back to school night.

For the most part, I was right that the combined program is a hack to get around attendance requirements. However, there is some advantage, too.

She arrives to Ms. Johnston's (combo 1 & 2) class in the morning, then after roll is sent to Mrs Osborne's (1st grade) class, where she stays until 1:30 or so. At that time, she regroups with the combo class for enrichment. The enrichment programs include PE, math, creative writing, and social studies. They do two day programs (MT or RF) and then rotate to the next teacher.
(Therefore, she spends about 2 hours with Ms. Johnston every 3.5 weeks.)

So, for the most part, she's a first grader, but she's doing the enrichement programs with second grade teachers and working at the second grade level for an hour four days a week.

She also gets to go on both first and second grade field trips, which sounds pretty good to me.

Swab the Decks!

It was at Costco. So, of course we had to get it. (I wanted the Kirkland Vodka, but some people just don't believe in the miracle of Costco and its brands like I do.)

We now have an electronic slave scrubbing our floors for us. That's right, we're the proud owners of a Roomba. And it is awesome. It is picking up tons of cat hair (a truly frightening amount of cat hair) and other detritus that is filling our house. One might think the Roomba was just a toy, but it really does clean up, and leave the nice vacuum lines on the carpet (in a completely random order).

It is driving the cats nuts. Especially Garbanzo -- He tries stalking it, but flees at the slightest provocation. I hope he adapts to our new friend.

Monday, September 4, 2006

How to Teach Bike Riding

This guy details how to teach a child how to ride a two wheeler. So, now I know.

A Couple Milestones When Dad Is In Charge

RKCP had to work today, so I was left to fend for myself with the kids. Things went pretty well -- perhaps I'm capable of dealing with my spawn afterall.

We started the day with a bunch of TV. (So, I'm not a great parent..) The usual faire of Dragon Tales and Aladdin, plus the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Johnny Depp version). Then we went to McDonalds. (OK, I'm a bad parent.)

After lunch and a trip to Target (where I bribed them with candy and princess junk), we came home and put the Boy down for a nap. While he slept, SKGP and I played Aggrevation and a little catch.

Then, I took the training wheels off of her bike. I don't know how to teach her how to balance on a bike, and she didn't pick it up instantly. But she did pretty well; we had a 3 second run where I didn't touch the bike.

Eventually, RKCP came home and we went out to dinner at Mamma Mia's.

We came home, and as part of the bedtime ritual, EJP sat on the potty. He's pretty good at going pee, but tonight he got some poop out. Hooray! I hope this is a major step forward.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

School Tricks

We have come up with a theory on this combined first and second grade scheme. In order to appease parents, classes are capped at 20 students each. But they have more students than allowed. So, they put a couple kids into a second grade classroom for a bit then shunt them to one of the now overcrowded rooms.

The Plan in Action

In the morning, SKGP goes to the second grade class for about 15 minutes. Then she is sent to Mrs Osborne's first grade class. She's number 22 in that class.

At the end of the day, she goes back to the second grade class in order to pick up her backpack and go home.

So, this is all just a hack to get around this limit on class size. Too bad; I had hoped this would be a real opportunity for her to stretch.

I wonder if this is legal.

SKGP: Plans for the future

"I'm going to be in the Olympics when I grow up. I'm going to do bars."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wild Kingdom

We had a nice visit in southern California.

On Saturday, we went to the La Brea Tar Pits, and the (world famous) Farmer's Market. It has been a long time since I've done the tourist thing in LA (other than Disneyland), and there really is some cool stuff. The tar pits are impressive. We got to see some volunteers actually digging out a pit, which was very cool. Someone tell me why we shouldn't clone some of those long gone mammals.

On Sunday, we went to Orange County to be part of Baby Eva's dedication (sort of a baptism / christening thing without water). Eva was a great performer and it was a nice ceremony, with a mighty fine lunch afterwards.

We drove home. It wasn't fun, but we made it back by 9 PM. SKGP survived the last stretch even though she really had to go.

Which brings us to the wild kingdom.

A cricket was lounging in the foyer; over the kids objections, we put it outside.

In SKGP's bedroom, we discovered that a cat had exploded. There was vomit in three separate piles on the floor. In one of the piles was a swarm of ants. Why had the ants decided to avoid the kitchen and go upstairs to feast on cat puke? It just doesn't make sense. I hate ants.

There was another cricket in our bathroom downstairs.

(Are we living in the next Coalinga?)


Act I

On Wednesday, a couple of us went to Sinaloa in Morgan Hill for a margarita after work. Then I met the family at the new restaurant Ragoot, also in downtown MH. I've never been impressed with Sinaloa's food, but everyone told me that you go there for the margaritas. Well, the margarita I had sucked. Their chips and salsa isn't very good either, but that never stops me from eating ton of it. Ragoot's is the right restaurant for Morgan Hill -- its pretty good and hip, but still casual. I had a nice salad.

After I went to bed, I tossed and turned for a long time. I dozed for a while, but I was feeling worse and worse. Then I made the mad dash to the toilet.

Act II

Thursday passed with me in bed. Friday I returned to work. After work, the family drove to La Canada to spend the weekend with RCP's family.

After a brutally tiring drive, we arrived around 11:30 PM. After a struggle, we got the kids into bed. We fell asleep.

At 2:30 AM, SKGP yells for us. We go to check on her, and EJP is swimming in a horrible white mucousy sludge.

We change the sheets and go back to sleep.


3:00 AM. Another yell from the kids room. Another change of sheets.

We bring SKGP in with us so she can make it through the night undisturbed. An hour or so later, EJP comes in and squishes in with us.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The New School Year

We got a notice in the mail today that SKGP will be in a combined First / Second grade class this year. That's all we know.

Hopefully, it isn't the second graders who can't hack school. It seems unlikely they would be a good influence. However, this might be a nice opportunity to challenge her, which I think would be beneficial.

Does anyone know anything about the successes and problems with combined programs?

An Amazing Idea

"Let's make Merced County a national park."

I overheard this call to action at a recent meeting.

Perhaps you aren't as familiar with Merced County as I am. It is located in the Central Valley, north of Madera and Fresno Counties, south of Stanislaus County, and abutting Santa Clara County on the west side. It includes about 2,000 square miles of land.

It is home to the cities of Merced, Livingston, Atwater, and Los Banos as well as Dos Palos and Gustine. Merced has the new UC Merced campus. You may have heard of the other cities, but maybe not.

It has lots of swamps or sloughs or wetlands (or whatever they're called in this case) where the San Joaquin River flows. Duck hunters love it. It's got rugged, barren hills on the west which burn regularly. It goes east toward the Sierra foothills.

I'm sure its a great place to live -- good old fashioned small town life and rural atmosphere.

Who do I talk to make the dream come true? Are you with me?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Daisy Troop 103 - Family BBQ

Daisy Troop 103 of Gilroy, CA spent some time at Christmas Hill Park on 8/12/2006.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Mysterious Cake

See, it's a sandal. Like, you know, beachware. Hawaii, man.

The kids (and others?) couldn't figure it out, until I gave a pretty big hint and pointed at my foot.

I think it was creative and fun. Posted by Picasa

Baseball Game

RKCP's company had a Giants outing two weeks ago. We loaded up SC* and headed to San Francisco.

In the parking lot, we got to experience a "tailgate party". There were no cars or tailgates involved, but lots of good catered food and drink.

For the game, we were seated in the bleachers, behind right field, near the giant mitt. We watched the game for a while; Barry Bonds got homer number 721. Then the kids wanted to go and experience the neat kid friendly stuff. The picture shows EJP running the bases after getting a hit at the kids' diamond. SKGP also belted one. We went down the slides.

On our way out, they let kids run the actual bases. What a neat idea! As we stood in line, I wanted to touch the grass to experience a professional field, so I did. Boy, did I get yelled at -- they don't kid around about the grass. The kids rounded the bases, and we drove home.

The game didn't end well for the Giants, but we had fun.

*SC = Suck Chin, the car.  Posted by Picasa

Fan Mail: Another name that translates poorly

That's right, her name is PorntipPosted by Picasa

Thursday, July 27, 2006

EJP Quotes

(Time warp)

I found a note dated 7/27/2006 with a couple quotes from EJP:

"Hey watch out lady, I'm making mud here." (To Gram, I believe)

"I can't do a somersault, but I can look at bugs."

The Fog

It's here! Finally, the fog has rolled in and saved us from the oppressive heat. Hooray! The Garlic Festival might not be an oven.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Last Saturday, we celebrated SKGP's 6th birthday. Months ago, she had chosen to have a Hawaiian theme.

The guests were:
  • Emily
  • Kiley
  • Olivia
  • Audrey
  • Meghan
  • Jake
  • Noah
  • Noah's brother
  • EJP
We began with lei making (or hat decorating for the boys). We moved on to a limbo contest, which was a big hit and its pretty amazing how flexible little girls are. Lunch, presents, cake. Since it was about 108, we did a little slip-n-slide and water baloon toss and sent the kids home.

The cake was shaped like a flip flop.

It was a lot of fun and I think the kids enjoyed themselves.


As I drive to and from work, pondering life's mysteries and hearing the news of the world, I consider the fencesitters of the world. As I cruise, I see them everywhere. They are small and furry, with big fluffly tales.

Along the chain link fence on the side of the highway, squirrels relax and watch traffic go by. They're cute. On a typical drive, I see as many as 15. Look for it next time you're between Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

Now That's Hot!

As we dropped out of the mountains into Imperial County, the Mercury's thermometer began to rise. Three grown men were driving through the desert with their eyes glued to a little green readout on the dash.

We started in the 90's. When we hit the valley floor, it was 105. As we crossed the desert, it inexorably ticked away the numbers. It plateaued at 115 for a while, then continued ever higher. Finally, we crossed into 118, beating my personal record of 117. A few minutes later, we hit 119 briefly, then back down. Then 119 stuck.

We stopped at the rest area and experienced the heat without the air conditioner protecting us. It was like a sauna. Not the metaphorical "like"; the "like" that means it had all the characteristics of a sauna.

We continued our drive. We figured we had hit the top, since we were leaving the raw desert and entering agricultural land that has lots of water to cool it. Unexpectedly, as we got close to El Centro, the little digital readout suddenly blipped and told us it was 120 degrees outside. A shout of triumph went up in the car.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's Hot

This afternoon, Suck Chin told me it was 117 degrees out. This ties my personal record, from an Imperial Valley trip. Tomorrow, I'm going back to the Imperial Valley, and it seems likely that this record will be shattered.

Another tooth

Already? Yup, yesterday after dinner another tooth dropped out of SKGP's head. She has been paid off.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


SKGP lost her first tooth and the Tooth Fairy took it away. 3 more are loose right now.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Gymnastics Camp: EJP's Obstacle Course

.. and EJP had a nice routine too. :)

Gymnastics Camp: SKGP's Bar Routine

Last week, the kids were in gymnastics camp all week. On Friday, they did a program to show off their talents. Here's what SKGP was able to do on the bars. We are incredibly proud of how much she has learned and how diligent she is.

I wasn't able to make it, but I hear she did the best show. Judge for yourself.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Fatherly Lesson #1: Sleeping with boys is dangerous

We agreed to let SKGP and EJP sleep together tonight. They like to do that sometimes, especially when I'm not getting back until late. On those nights, it helps RKCP since she doesn't have to be in two places at once.

I read a chapter of Stuart Little and the book Caps For Sale to them, cuddled them for a bit, warned them that if they monkey around they would be separated, and left.

A few minutes later, SKGP came down with a bloody nose. Apparantly, her finger was "near" her nose, and EJP (accidentally?) hit her arm.

Die Spammer, Die

Here is a very entertaining story of giving the spammers a taste of their own medicine. You've all seen the Nigerian scam, where they need your help transferring money out of Nigeria and they'll give you 10%. This guy gets one of them to do all kinds of fun stuff.

My Idea to Fix Highway 152

It's the 4th of July weekend. That means everyone in the entire Bay Area is fleeing. Many pass through Gilroy on their way to LA and the Sierras and wherever else they are going; most take Highway 152, which connects 101 to I-5.

As I've mentioned before, traffic in Gilroy on a good weekend isn't fun. Today is horrible. 101 South stops a little after Masten Ave and doesn't really go again until after the 152 / 156 Y intersection. The problem is twofold (at least): 152 is a two lane county road from Gilroy to Casa de Fruta, and the intersection of 152 and 156 is at grade. The latter means that people going to Hollister have to cross the people fleeing. Even though the fleers have no stop sign, they try to be nice and let the Hollister-bound people go. This stops traffic.

Can this be fixed? Of course. Add more lanes to 152, which may or may not mean re-routing it. Put a real interchange at the intersection so no one has to stop. These solutions are obvious, but they haven't been done because no one has stepped up to get CalTrans to do something.

So, here's my big idea. Put large signs every mile along 152 from Casa de Fruta to Gilroy on the big holiday weekends. Each sign would say something like "10 miles of traffic ahead. Call [insert polititcian who should be doing something] at (XXX) XXX-XXXX and tell him how you feel right now."

I think a couple thousand people who have been stuck in traffic for two hours to go 10 miles calling the right politicians might have some impact.

Comment Spam

Wow, I must be famous. People I don't know are commenting on my blog. I rock. Oh wait, that's comment spam -- random comments with a link back to a spammer's site.

To combat this menace, I've enabled comment moderation. So, if you comment, the system sends me an email, and I have to approve your stuff. You won't get the immediate gratification of seeing your pithy commentary on my life, but I'll get it posted the next time I check my mail.

Let me know if you have problems.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Creating the Last Mile

I create communities for a living. We do our best to make them cool and well designed and places people will want to live for a long time. We don't create subdivisions, we create communities.

To make these homes more appealing and sustainable, we've been negotiating with AT&T to put fibre optic cables to each home. This would give the people a big honking internet connection, so telecommunting would be a viable choice in the more remote areas.

AT&T's lawyers seem to have put the kibosh on that particular deal. Unsurprisingly, they are not the most flexible corporation in the world. There are other, smaller companies that have similar deals, and now we have to go find them.

Interestingly, this week's I, Cringely topic is about the people taking back the network infrastructure and having the communities control the last mile of internet connectivity. That sounds a lot like what we might be doing if the telcos and cable companies don't step up.

Under Attack

I used to be a computer geek. Really, it's true. I always wanted to be a unix kernel hacker like my friend Special K. But alas, it was not to be.

I keep some remnants of my previous life. I try to stay hip to what the kids are doing nowadays. I've got accounts on pretty much every Web 2.0 site in the world. I've got my own FreeBSD server dishing out pictures.

But my powers are waning. I use Windows as my primary operating system; heck, I even use Outlook to read my work email. I'm using Flickr more and gallery less.

Which brings me to tigger. tigger, my network server, has been under attack for months. Every morning I get a security report, and typically I have several hundred failed logins to my SSH server (which would get them real access to the box). They come from different addresses each day, so I can't just block one net.

I've spent a little time trying to stop it. I read the man page for sshd_config many times, and tweaked some options. I messed with hosts.allow to keep out foreigners. I've spend hours working on my ipfw firewall rules (which I totally have lost control of). All to no avail. I'm considering just disabling sshd altogether. This would keep the bad guys out, but would also prevent me from being able to remotely get to my system when I need to.

I don't want to give up, but I don't have time and I'm out of ideas.

Do any of the remaining geeks out there have any suggestions?

Bonus points to anyone who can improve my wifi range -- I have a terrible connection in my bedroom, which is where all the wireless client devices hang out. Are there secret ifconfig ath0 options I can tweak?

Candle Power

Here is EJP blowing out the candles on his Dinosaurus Rex cake.

Thanks to Google Video for the new toy!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sad Dog

Gilroy has some good restaurants that we have enjoyed exploring. We've had very nice experiences at La Hacienda, Victoria's, Ninja Sushi, and Black Bear. It's nice to patronize the small businesses, I think. We also spend our share at the chain restaurants -- we really enjoy Famous Dave's.

Old town Gilroy is quaint, but struggling. There are big renovation plans in the works, but in the meantime there are several antique shops and not much else. Of the restaurants in that area, we have some amazingly bad choices. The gaudy Chips N Salsa will be skipped, in the hopes that it will go out of business, and something less horrible will appear.

Tonight, we went to Happy Dog Pizza Company. This is a refurbished fire station in downtown with a lot of charm and great potential. Unfortunately, we have tried it 3 or 4 times, and we just can't find anything on the menu that is worth eating.

Tonight, RKCP and I shared a margarita pizza and a beet and goat cheese salad. The pizza was bland with a couple basil leaves on it; and the salad was a bunch of lettuce with a couple clumps of cheese and cut up canned beets, with a tasteless dressing.

I think we will skip the Dog next time.

Update: A friend tells me that the Even Cowgirls Get the Blues salad and the Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto pizza are good, but I'm not sure I can eat a salad with a name that stupid.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Transfats are bad

I recently came across this study.

It shows that monkeys on a subsitance diet -- this is, they were given only enough calories to live -- that included foods with transfats in them, got fat. Monkeys with the same caloric intake but no transfats did not get fat.

That's pretty frightening.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Moving Day

I remeber, from when I used to play D&D, that Baba Yaga's Hut was an artifact that had more room on the inside than the outside, and walked around on chicken legs. It settled down in Los Gatos, and Baba lives in a bungalow in front. DMP rented the shack and filled it with his stuff.

DMP is now the proud owner of a place in Gilroy, so we got to move him over the past two weekends.

We filled my minivan three times last weekend, and got the majority moved, including the large bookcases. We left the 4000 lb television, the mattress, and the large framed artwork, plus the cats and their apparatus.

This weekend, he rented a U-Haul, and we finished it off in one load, with the help of one of his old high school friends and his sweetie. Luckily, John isn't a wuss like us, and we were able to get the monstrous TV out and in.

Dead Bat

I was doing some cleaning in the garage this afternoon. All of the sudden, in the middle of the big empty part of the garage, I noticed a dried up bat. Where did that come from?

I picked it up with a paper towel and threw it across the street. That way, if I come down with some strange illness, they'll be able to find the bat and devise a cure. If I threw it in the trash, no one would be able to find it.

Seemed (sort of) logical to me.

Net Neutrality

An effective vlog on why the Net should remain neutral.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dinosaurus Rex Party

EJP is three.

Last weekend, we had a dinosaur party for him. RKCP make a dinosaur shaped cake, with authentic dinosaur colored frosting.

EJP invited some of his friends. This is the first time he's ever had friends over. Emily and Jake, from his school, came. So did Brendan and Claire. Plus he had lots of family -- all the grandparents, and Uncle DMP.

The kids ran around for a while. We opened presents. We ate cake. We teetered - tottered (the present from Nana and Granddad). We sent people home. It was nice.

The family stuck around for a barbequeued turkey dinner, which was yummy. Posted by Picasa

The story of Suck Chin

Once upon a time, RKCP was pregnant. To prepare for the coming child, a baby naming book was bought; to prepare for the coming child, it was the cheapest baby naming book we could find.

There are lots of stupid names.

I didn't want to participate in the naming: the name was given to me in a vision. She wanted me to participate; she didn't want the name I had.

I looked through the cheap book. I highlighted, among other names, Ulf and Suck Chin.

The child's name is Sloane.

Suck Chin, which is a Korean name, seemed appropriate for my Korean car.

Hooray For Me

I got a new car. It rules. It was cheap. It goes fast. It is plush. It gets cold fast. It plays MP3 CDs. It smells good. It looks black, but it secretly is blue. It has handles to hold on to. It feels solid when you close its doors.

Its name is Suck Chin. It is my car.

(Look, the old car is in the background. Poor Caddy.) Posted by Picasa

You're not from around here, are you?

As seen in the May 25, 2006 edition of The Progress, a newspaper for Holtville, CA:
Last week I watched a man step out of his red Hummer and put on a sports jacket before walking into a city planning commission meeting. Perhaps he should just carry a giant placard stating "I'm not from here".
The foreigner in question? None other than my brother, DMP.

Call Box 8 - 691

When you're driving westbound on I-8 from El Centro to San Diego, between Jacumba and Boulevard, keep your eyes peeled for Call Box 8-691. I recently spent some time here, and it's no garden spot.

I walked up into the boulders on the shoulder a bit, and was amazed at the amount of detritus strewn about. Clearly, people vacationing from Mexico have been known to camp there. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 16, 2006

Want a Hertz Donut?

My day began in El Centro. It was hot; it was probably 90 degrees. The top on the rented Ford Mustang was down, and I was cruising through the desert. I scaled the mighty In-Ko-Pah Mountains.

I was approaching the summit, between Jacumba and Boulevard. The temperature gauge was rising fast. I turned the heater to max. The overheat light came up; I stopped at the next call box.

Hertz has a roadside assistance program. Luckily I had cell coverage, and I called. There were problems because she couldn't figure out where I was just based on the interstate mile marker. She kept asking me to locate myself; she didn't like the middle of nowhere reply.

Hertz would dispatch a car from San Diego, and it would be there in 2 to 3 hours. This did not please me. In 3 hours, it was going to 110 in the shade and I had no water.

I called AAA. They arrived within 30 minutes, and towed me to the Hertz place at the airport.

They gave me a significant discount, but I'm not too pleased with them. And this serves as yet another reminder (and I didn't need another) that Fords are not the car for me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Generous Friends

SKGP raised the third most money in the entire school at the Rod's Trod. She got a certificate; Number 1 got a bike. Her class raised the most of any class, so they got a pizza and ice cream party today. She's very proud of her accomplishment.

Thanks to all of you that donated so generously. (If you haven't paid up, then get on it, you slacker!)

Nothing's Easy

The car we want may not exist.

While we were assured that they could get a car the next day, they can't seem to find an LX in Deepwater Blue. The Gilroy dealer said it will take 30 to 45 days to get one. It would have to come from Korea; of course, the car is made in Alabama.

We've called a couple other dealer in San Jose to see if they have better luck.

Otherwise, we've got to pick a new color.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


It looks like we're going Korean.

Our new car selection is the 2006 Hyundai Sonata XLE (with the sunroof and leather upgrades). It is about $8,000 less than the comparable Toyota Camry. It has a 10 year warranty.

We're going with Deepwater Blue with beige leather interior.

Details and review to come, I'm sure...

We drove the Camry Hybrid, and it was nice. But, it is only 4 cylinder, so it didn't have an abundance of power. Picking between the hybrid and the V6, it came down to a guts vs. glory decision. Either way, we were looking in the $30,000 range. We were not impressed with the Honda Accord.

I imagine our next sedan will be something cool like a hybrid; a lot will change in the next 10 years. It occurred to me that the car I buy now may very likely be the car SKGP gets when she turns 16. That's an amazing thought.

PS. If you are looking for a car, Costco has a nice way of financing. They send you a blank check, which you fill in at the dealership. It should save some time with the evil financing people who lurk in the dark on car lots. Another great thing is the Costco auto purchasing program. They have a flat rate, no haggle deal. For the Hyundai, simply add $100 to the Invoice price of the car. This makes me happy. (For the Toyota, add 5% to the invoice.)

Terrible Twos

If someday you hear me say that EJP was never much work, point me back to this entry.

The terrible twos are terrible. Since his birthday is next week, I worry that they may last longer than they are supposed to.

He willfully disobeys, he throws tantrums, he screams, he fusses about everything. He makes horrible noises, much like a pterodactyl must have.

His sister sure does a lot of fussing too. She's turning 6 next month.


SKGP's walls have fairies on them. She and I were going to name each one, and have a little story about what they were doing. We were naming in alphabetical order.

Here's what we came up with:
  1. Alice, who is flying home to see her cat, Tiger.
  2. Barb
  3. Caty
Then we stopped. Perhaps this post will inspire us to resume.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Best and Brightest

... Do not become car salesmen.

It appears that no car salesman has been in his job for longer than 4 months. They have little interest in explaining what differentiates their cars from anyone else's. In fact, for the most part, they know very little about their cars. Monosyllabic responses are a common response to questions.

Do your own homework before car shopping.

Friday, June 9, 2006

A Simple Hotel Room

I'm at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

I'm on the 34th floor.

The room has two and a half bathrooms. It is about 900 square feet.

Nice digs, I tell you.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

He's Dead, Jim

The Cadillac is finished.

The past couple of weeks, things have felt a little flaky. On the way to the Selma council meeting that was so ill fated, on the way over the Pacheco Pass, I almost pulled over since I felt I had no power. On another recent trip, with DMP and GMP, there was some strange shaking and more feelings of power loss.

I scheduled an appointment with Smitty, our mechanic, for today.

Last night, I was driving home from another Selma council meeting. It was around 10 PM when I reached Santa Nella, things were feeling sketchy. When I got to the big uphills, things went wrong. Pushing the gas pedal revved the engine, but it didn't go to the wheels. I downshifted to see if that would catch, but it helped little if any. I continued moving forward, but speed was slow and slowing. I turned on my hazards, and kept going.

I reached the top of the mountain (safe back in Santa Clara County), and decided to keep going. I picked up a bunch of speed going down, but not enough to fix the problem. When the road leveled off again, I was back at 30 MPH. I reached Casa De Fruta, and decided to keep going.

At this point, the road drops to one lane in each direction. So, I cruised at 25 MPH for the 13 miles of one lane road. About 10 cars were stacked up behind me before I pulled to the shoulder.

I got home a few minutes after midnight and went to sleep.

This morning, I started the trip to Smitty's. 25 MPH to Morgan Hill, but I got there eventually.

$3000 to replace the transmission. The Blue Book value of the car is $2000. Math dictates that I get a new car.

An Invitation

SKGP invites her teacher to her birthday party.

The translation:

Dear Mr. S,

You are invited to my birthday. If you can go to my birthday, wear a Hawaiian shirt. You can have a piece of the boy's side [of the cake].

The map shows the gate, and Jake's house (up the street), and our house, with the new lawn.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 4, 2006

A New Car

I want a new car.

We went looking today. We went to the Toyota dealership in Gilroy.

I really like the Camry Hybrid. It costs more, but its got cool stuff. I should test drive one.

Another Trip To The Hospital

I think I've used that title before.

Nana took the kids down to Santa Barbara to see Aunt M. This is the first time Nana has gotten out in many weeks, due to her foot surgery. She picked the kids up on Friday after the Rod's Trod, and they are scheduled to return on Monday, since neither has school on Monday.

They arrived Friday night without problems.

The kids called us on Saturday afternoon to say hello. They went to the beach. EJP wanted to touch the water, but I couldn't tell if he did.

Later that evening, as RCP and I were relaxing on our new porch, my cell phone rings. It's Nana. EJP had gotten into her medicine. They couldn't tell if anything was missing. EJP said one of the medicines tasted bad.

We advise they call poison control. Poison control advises them to go to the hospital for observation.

At the hospital, they give EJP activated charcoal mixed with apple juice. He liked drinking black apple juice. He was worried that it would stain. They have him on a couple monitors to make sure he's okay.

At 3AM, Nana calls to tell us they are going home, after 6 hours of observation.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Seven Miles

Yesterday was the Rod's Trod. This is a walk-a-thon benfitting SKGP's school. For the past couple weeks, she's been drumming up sponsorships, and I've been impressed by how much she has gotten people to pony up.

Yesterday was the walk. It was hot and sticky.

She walked 7 miles; 21 laps around the field. We found out later that her shoes were too small, and a sock slid down and the shoe was rubbing her heel. What a trooper; we're very proud of her.

From now on, she should be able to walk to the clubhouse without whining. We hope.

Friday, June 2, 2006

It's Not My Fault

We had an update from the FAA this week. It appears that there was a mechanical problem with the plane.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Traffic Jam

We are driving home from LA right now. thw trip has been uneventful and things have been flowing fine.

until we got on 152. we got ober the mountain ok. but at BELLS STATION, stop and go traffic began. that's a couuple miles east of casa de fruta

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Sad Saga of a Cheap Airplane Toy

Tomorrow is the Regatta. I need a boat. I'm thinking something airplane themed, due to my recent airline adventures.

We went to BigLots! and found a cheap plane. It cost $1.99. There were other planes that looked better, but they were $3.99. We bought the cheap one. It had a spring loaded laucher. You put the springy pole through a hole in the fuselage, then pulled the trigger and it would lauch.

Once it was paid for, I opened it. It was far cheaper than I imagined it could possible be. The fuselage was a thin layer of plastic over nothing. The nose had foam to protect it during rough landings. Underneath the foam was nothing. The wings were thick paper scotch taped on. So was the tail.

I shot my hand a couple of times in the car. It didn't hurt, so I shot RKCP from close range. I wanted it to go a little farther, so I extended my arm and took aim.

I have bad aim. RKCP's window was open.

The plane soared majestically into traffic.

Now what am I going to do for a boat?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Right and Wrong

Since we started flying and I've discovered more about the amazing program that is Google Earth, I've been carrying along my GPS.

After a trip, I can download the info into Google Earth and see exactly where I went. That can be useful in the real estate business.

In this exhibit, the blue line is the landing from a trip to Sacramento earlier this week.

The red line is last night's return to earth. I must have had the GPS in my pocket when walking back to the terminal, so you don't get to see our meanderings. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My First Flight

I drove a plane for the first time last week.

It's probably not called driving, but what do I know? The real pilot let me take the yoke. I wagged the wings a bit, but mostly didn't do anything interesting. My passengers probably would not have looked favorably on more entertaining maneuvers.

On that flight, coming home from Phoenix, I learned a bunch about the mechanics of flying. It was very interesting and enjoyable. I might see about taking some flying lessons, so I can fly for real. It has real appeal to the geek in me -- lots of buttons to push and thinking to do.

I was crying, Mom

I was crying, Mom.

When were you crying? I dont know.

Why were you crying? I don't know.

I was crying because I wanted you, Mom.

Miss Esperanza told me "Shhh!"

Was it rest time? Yes.

Were you making noise? Some of my friends were making noise too.

Mom, tomorrow, you tell Miss Esperanza not to tell me "Shhh", ok? I didn't like it.

That's A Good Hole

DMP dug his first hole.

We had a tree that needed planting. DMP was here, and we started digging. The soil around here is very thick clay, which is a real headache to scrape through. But he used pick-axe, shovel, and muscles to make a large hole.

That's a good hole.


There's a frog on our bedroom window. It's small and cute. And its attached to our window.

That kind of thing didn't happen in San Jose. Well, except for the opossum.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pik 'n Save Nuts

We were saved by Pik-N-Save, again.

The company is now called Big Lots! (with "!", of course). But that's not important.

I spent an hour wandering around Lowe's today, trying to find the right bolt and nut to attach our new Target headboard to our bed. I found some nice 1/4" diameter 2.5" bolts, and the corresponding stop nuts.

Well, it turns out I had no idea what a stop nut is. For those of you similarly uninformed, this is a nut that goes on the bolt a little way, then stops. It doesn't screw down tight.

Rather than going back to the store to try again, I decided to see if I had something appropriate in the garage. A couple hours of tidying and organizing later, I uncovered an old package of miscellaneous fasteners in a yellowing Pik-N-Save package. RKCP's grandmother had several boxes of random stuff like this, and they are now in our garage.

In it were some square nuts. Square nuts. What the heck? They fit my bolts. So, how do you hold a square nut to tighten? I found a socket that fit over it, and turned. Good luck to me when I need to detach the headboard.

The headboard looks good, especially with our new matching bedside tables.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Front Page News

SKGP has reached the pinnacle of fame in small town California. She's on the front page of the Valley Sun.

The Easter festivities included a bonnet parade, and she was one of the winners.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


We visited the in-laws for Easter. There was a fun Easter brunch with lots of family. Then we left the kids and went home.

Spring Break!

Last night, we had a date.

We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in San Jose. I can easily imagine a future where I never eat there again. They really put the factory in their name. Our name was lost for the waiting list, and then we were put in a table that felt like a cafeteria, with people immediately adjacent to us on both side (and they weren't interesting conversationalists).

We then went to see a movie. It costs $9.50 per person; and they don't take credit cards -- Grrr. The film was Thank You For Smoking and it was very good. Go see it; it'll make you laugh.

It was nice and relaxing to act like adults, without having to keep someone in line.

The kids are driving home tomorrow.

Thanks for the vacation, Gram and Pop.


We have scheduled our house warming party for the anniversary of moving into PaceHouse 2.0. It's an open house on April 29 from 2 to 5 (or something like that).

Where are the RSVPs?

Finally, some people responded, once prodded!

Friday, April 7, 2006


It started around 3. I wanted some pie. I described some of the potential pies I wanted. Heaping fresh strawberry; sweet peaches; pecan. A la mode. Heated, so hot it burns.

At 5, we found that Red Robin doesn't have pie. They have Mud Pie. We could go to Denny's or Harris Ranch. We didn't.

At 10, we pulled into McDonalds. They only had one apple pie left. I wanted two to share with my brother. They only had one. I took it.

While waiting for DMP to eat his chicken sandwich, I looked over the receipt and noticed they charged me $1 for the single pie. The deal is Two Pies for a Dollar, and I was unhappy.

The clerk tried to tell me that they were $1 each.

My point was that since I wanted two pies, and they were unable to deliver on the bargain, the "sale" price should still hold. I was willing to uphold my end of the deal, but they couldn't hold up theirs. Why should I pay for their mistake?

Eventually, the manager stepped in and gave me $0.50 to make me go away. DMP thought I was crazy.

We shared the pie, and drove home.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Broken Window

We've had our first broken window.

Sometime, and we have no idea when, SKGP was standing on a stool jiggering her radio, and she must have slipped and ran into the window. We found it last weekend when looking at some deer on the hill.

Only the inner pane broke, but it broke into several large jagged chunks. Fortunately, they stayed in the window and didn't cut off her arm.

I would've bet the Boy would have been the first to break a window.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wild Blue Yonder

We're getting a plane.

The other week, my company's principal suggested we get one. Dad has always been reluctant to do something like this, since it might crash. But, we've been driving around this state a crazy amount, so it makes a lot of sense.

The plane is from Cirrus and it is very high tech. It has a built in parachute for the entire plane and airbags and all the latest radar and avionics stuff to keep us safe.

Ours should be here around the end of the month. DMP and I will begin working towards our pilots' licenses soon, too.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


It's snowing at the PaceHouse right now!

I hope that it will stick around until morning, so that the kids can play in the snow for the first time in their lives. Even if it isn't here, it'll be at my parents for sure.

I can think of two other times in my life when it has snowed in the Valley, and the paper claims that the last time it happenend was in 1970.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

MRI music

I had an MRI the other day. It is very loud in the tube, even with earplugs. The noise is regular. My brain tried to turn it into something ordered ... I was hearing music and chanting.

that's real industrial music.

Now this is a much better use of an MRI...

Friday, February 3, 2006

Things to Remember

EJP named his giant giraffe Tico, after a character on Dora the Explorer. Hearing him recite Brown Bear, Brown Bear last year was one of the cutest things ever. His teddy bear is named Bear Bear and his elephant / blanket is Ella, as in the book Ella the Elegant Elephant. He talks with his hands. I like reading Go Dog Go by PD Eastman with him; we used to read Giggle Giggle Quack all the time, and he'd say "It's for you, Bob."

In the family room of our house in San Jose before EJP was born, SKGP and I used to build cool towers out of those big legos. She used to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all the time, and one day she sang Someday My Prince Will Come in the van and it was stunningly adorable. Her beloved dollie was named Rosie, but she was lost at Target in east SJ. Her favorite TV show is Dragon Tales on PBS. Sometimes I would fall asleep on the floor by her crib when putting her down on Mondays, when RCP was at choir. Before E was born, we would watch Jeopardy! most nights. SKP started to answer"What is a giraffe?" to many questions. She was right once. She also got some Disney questions right. I would say she was about 2 at the time.

the snappi, the elastic clip to hold cloth diapers on with claws on the ends of its three arms. taking out the bag of diapers, in a big blue bag with holes in it and throwing out the front door.

the first time skgp got out of her crib (when I was home alone with her) -- thump. getting my little ponies at toys r us in sunnyvale.
say what I say everynite.
Please add other stuff.

Hawaii Bound

We're off to Maui tomorrow. Hooray!

Completed Book: A Short, Sharp Shock

I just finished reading A Short, Sharp Shock by Kim Stanley Robinson. It wasn't a great book, but it was short. (2/3/06)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Student of the Month

SKGP was one of two kindergartners at her school to get the Student Of The Month award. She is also consistently in the top three weekly point champions in her class, which gets her a little bag of junk each week. Earlier in the school year, she was a Knight, which got her a pizza party with the principal.

We're very proud of her.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Inside View

DMP is buying a house in Gilroy. It's under construction now. We visited it the other day. I went inside and looked around; he didn't. What's up with that?

It's Called A Bridge

Gilroy, my new home town, seems to have missed the days at planning school when learning about traffic flow. Nothing goes from point A to point B the way it should. Major freeway offramp dumps into residential neighborhood. Big streets go nowhere.

And when it rains, a major route from east to west is blocked off. The road goes through the creek, and when the creek rises, they shut the gates. I hear bridges are useful for solving this sort of problem, but alas Gilroy doesn't seem to believe in them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

twenty first century man

I have now joined the new century. for xmas I got tivo and a treo 650 smartphone.

of course both devices were rendered obsolete the next week at CES.


I picked up a hitchhiker crossing the hoover dam. I didn't let her smoke in my car.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm an uncle

Eva Marie Stone was born on December 27, 2005. This is my first experience with uncle-hood, and I chickened out when the chance to hold her presented itself. I guess I don't want to break someone else's kids...

I'm excited about this. She's soo small and cute.