Monday, December 13, 2010

Meet Ruby Pancake

The long dog search is over. Six weeks ago Elise and I went to the Camarillo animal shelter and temperament tested two dogs (out of the over 100 dogs that were there, only two passed my initial cage inspection). One of the two we took out was a beagle basset hound mystery mutt mix. The shelter didn't know how old she was but I guessed a year and half based on how clean and sharp her teeth were. She seemed wonderful and passed our battery of tests (interested in people, highly social, affection seeking, no food aggression, more interested in people than playing, etc., etc., etc.) with flying colors. We adopted her on the spot but she had to stay at the shelter another week to get spayed. We brought the girls to visit her and make sure she was good with the little people. She did fine with them although they were terrible (fighting, ignoring the dog, knocking dog training appparti on top of one another, getting a bloody nose).

We brought her home five weeks ago and despite her tendency to escape out the window, chew up random objects, and bay/bark when overly excited, we're keeping her. She is cute, loving, extremely tolerant, loves, loves, loves people, plays well with other dogs, is fine when left alone, house-trained, good with the cats, and very trainable. She is also very funny. Here are some pictures of her. Now that I'm not spending all of my time searching for dogs on the internet (and am instead spending lots of time exercising and training the dog), I have more time to update the blog. So more blog posts later.

Welcome Ruby!

HippieKindergartner Thanksgiving

Hippie Kindergartner Thanksgiving involves:
yummy potluck (we brought cornbread. Parents and teachers barbequed many turkeys).
playing hand drums
hearing a Chumash Elder tell stories
Making butter
Making cranberry sauce
Playing Predator and Prey freeze tag
Singing "Imagine" by John Lennon as well as other similar genre songs
Being thankful for the green and growing things (from LuLu).

Piggy Gets Invited to a Party

If you read Mo Willems then you know what I am talking about. If not, just enjoy the photos. I imagine that this is what the girls would wear if they were invited to a fancy costume pool party. Fabulous!

Jo-Jo Fashion Queen

Here's Jo-Jo wearing my new french scarf that Seth and Elise brought back from France for me. Doesn't she look nice?

I love snails

Well I don't really, but Lucy does. I don't because they eat my lettuce and they are non-native and they are kind of slimy. But they are o.k. I guess. They do have cute antennae and their slime trails are shiny and some of them have attractive shells. And the ones in our fish tank are eating the algae that was building up on the walls. So they aren't all bad.

Lucy really loves snails and periodically does nutty things with them, like brings them inside (against the rules!), carries them around in the bucket of her tricycle, builds houses for them, and takes pictures of them on our coffee table. We always let them go before they are harmed so they can go and eat more of my lettuce. Here are some of Lucy's snail pictures.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lemonade Stand

Foster Dogs I Have Known

Birdie was such a sweet and soulful dog...
Tiffany and Birdie really hit it off.

We fostered two dogs over the summer - Lola a dachshund pit bull mix who we almost kept forever until she started growling at the girls - and Birdie a lovely lab mix who we took camping for a week but didn't keep because she wanted to chase all small creatures and seemed to be aggressive towards other dogs on leash. Tiffany and Birdie fell in love and Tiff and Jason and Seth and Elise helped take care of Birdie. Both Birdie and Lola have now found their forever homes and we are still on the search for the perfect family dog for us (good with kids, good with cats, can be left alone without incessant barking, good with other dogs, no food aggression, no toy aggression, not aggressive to other dogs...).

What's a Pirate's Favorite Letter?

Arrr! The girls love dressing up as pirates. Here they are on two different days. The elaborate costumes were for Owen's pirate birthday party. The other pirate bandanas were more your regular every day pirates.

Lucy's Birthday Bike

Lucy had her birthday a couple months back. I am pretty far behind on the old blog so I'm just going to post some cute pictures that I found on our digital camera. Here are Lucy and Josie riding their new push bikes (called park racers) that Mitch got off Craigslist. Grandpa Tom and Grandma Sue sent Lucy some money for her birthday and we used it to buy the girls these bikes. They love them! Lucy is doing great on hers and we are getting close to taking the training wheels off her strawberry shortcake bike. Josie can actually stand and push with hers now (in this picture she is a little too short and has to stand on tip toe).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Starting the Narration of Her Life

Today Josie said the following to Mitch:

While climbing on top of Mitch:

""This is my hideout" said the Pirate as she climbed up"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Vacation in Santa Cruz

We're on vacation in Santa Cruz with Jim and Barbara. It is always fun to visit Santa Cruz because there is so much to do here. We've been to Loch Lomond and rowed boats, built sand castles on the beach, and today we went to the boardwalk. Josie and Lucy piloted some little boats in a little kid ride. Josie was captain of the Crabster (quite appropriate I think as she can be occasionally crabby). While Lucy steered Little Charlie. Josie couldn't see Lucy's boat from where she was as the central pillar of the ride (a lighthouse) was in the way. She spent the whole ride craning her neck and asking where her sister was.

Being in Santa Cruz makes me miss our friends Tiffany and Jason even more than ever. They lived here for several years and we always had fun visiting them here. I agree with Tiff's assessment though, the many people here who ride their bikes on the sidewalk despite a plenitude of ample bike lanes, are annoying. This town is also very serious about its recycling. Amazing that you can't go more than ten feet without encountering a recycling bin.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I did last weekend - Santa Monica Mountains Science Festival

This is what I did last weekend

It was AWESOME. We spent months preparing although Lena Lee and Cathy Schoonmaker did most of the work. I designed some of the science activities for kids, called community centers to arrange buses, and helped put up flyers. On Friday I ran 32 fifth graders through a hands-on science activity comparing native plant diversity in native and non-native plant communities. I even had them make and analyze bar graphs to draw conclusions. On Saturday I staffed the nature illustration table having kids draw bugs as accurately as possible and took a two hour shift at the story telling booth.

It was GREAT! Over 2000 people came on Saturday and all the kids had a blast. The event was incredibly diverse with a ton of first time park goers. We really fulfilled the mission of an urban park with this event, introducing thousands of people to THEIR national park.

A news article on the event can be found here
A few more photos here

Little House Update - New Deck to Connect to the Big House

I think we are finally in the home stretch on the little house. Here are some pictures from two weeks ago when Mitch finished up the deck to connect the little house to the big house. The color of decking that we used on the deck several years ago when we made put it in so we picked a color that would look good with our original color.

Since then, Mitch and Seth installed the hardwood floor. I kept asking Mitch if he wanted to rent a nail gun. Finally the bending nails annoyed him so much that he did rent a nail gun. The compressor crapped out at first but once he got a new compressor, they had the floor done lickety split. It looks great. I'll take some photos this weekend.

Remaining tasks: paint trim near roof; finish metal siding; fix door stop; put back in door locks; put in window sills for outside upper windows; touch up paint on doors and inside; put in molding on hardwood floor; install fancy plywood under eaves.

Maybe two more weekends? Maybe three. Then, finally, fix up the yard!


This morning I took some time off and hung out with the girls. They decided to paint in the back yard. You can tell their age differences and maybe a bit of their personality in their paintings and also how their paint trays looked when they were done. Lucy is so neat these days she didn't even get any paint on her clothes. It cracks me up that she now draws more of your stereotypical little kid pictures. She loves drawing hearts. This is the first time that I have seen her draw one of those classic kid sun pictures. I don't where they get the idea to draw a sun like that. This is also the first time I have seen her draw a rainbow.

He's not trying to cause any trouble...

JoJo reading one of her four different versions of Peter Pan.
LuLu still loves princesses. Here she is with her Easter unicorn.
My little princesses....

Lucy still loves the princesses. She wants to have a princess party for her birthday and recently went to a princess tea party at Barnes and Noble with Mitch and JoJo. Josie also likes the princesses and likes to dress up and wear one her 30 princess dresses and 4 tiaras. BUT Josie's real love these days is...Captain Hook. She has talked to his family and reports that they say that they are all "good pirates" She told Mitch that Captain Hook is not a bad guy, he's not trying to cause any trouble. When I asked her why she likes Captain Hook so much she said that he is a little bit scary and she likes to be scared.

Mitch is convinced now that in high school she will date tattooed smokers and will be convinced that they are simply misunderstood...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Loving the Baritone Guitar

Mitch loves guitars and plays lots of them. Many of them, when played, are loud and involve lots of distortion and although Mitch does a really good job of trying to play loud, distorted guitar very quietly, it isn't always my favorite thing. Sometimes a person doesn't want the rock and roll gods in their living room at 9 PM at night when they are trying to read their book and drink their tea.

Periodically, though, Mitch makes a guitar purchase that brings me fully back into the 100% all the time fan of Mitch's guitar playing (while regularly I am more of a 85-90% of the time fan). About ten years ago that purchase was a complicated electronic delay pedal thing that resulted in Mitch spending hours with melodious noodling that was great to listen to any time. Similarly, Mitch recently purchased a baritone guitar. The purchase process actually sucked severely and involved multiple trips back and forth to the guitar store and technical experts and trying to get it fixed and being insulted by the purveyor of the guitar store.

But now that the guitar actually works, when Mitch plays it, it is AWESOME. It is super mellow and sounds really beautiful and I could listen to it any time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What Happiness A Dollar Can Bring

Lucy and Josie got easter cards from Grandma Jo and Grandpa Jim today and surprise of surprises, they each contained a dollar! Mitch took the girls to our new dollar store which is a cut above our old dollar store and actually has a carpeted floor. Thank goodness for the patience of Mitch because I've been to the dollar store with these girls and it is hell - they spend 45 minutes agonizing and going back and forth over what little plastic chotsky they really, really, really want and somehow they end up getting mad that they can only each get one thing.

BUT Mitch did great and he and the girls had a FABULOUS time picking out their treats (great idea Grandma Jo!). You can see that Lucy selected a wonderful bargain of three miniature pinwheels for $1 while Josie selected some fine dental hygiene products which include not only a yellow toothbrush but also a pink one (both with Snoopy on them). They are both extremely pleased with their purchases. Mitch let them each pay by themselves. He said Josie couldn't see up to the counter and stood there saying, "Hey Person, hey person" while she waved her dollar in the air as the conveyor belt went by over her head.