Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It’s All Perspective, Part II

More Scandinavian colleagues in town this week, this time after a harrowing set of delays due to de-icing at the airports on their home turf.

To cheer them up, I told them about my friend who had flown out of our local airport over Thanksgiving on an usually cold day. He too had to wait for de-icing on the tarmac . . . by waiting for the sun to melt the ice.

P.S. We all have a lot to say about Pillow Pets, don't we! Good thing they don't have an octopus.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Be Very, Very Frightened

Remember that story that Amalah told about her sons and the Pillow Pets? Jodifur wrote about her child somehow acquiring EIGHT of them, whew.

At Target last week, I ran across this aisle.

Good Lord, that’s a lot of Pillow Pets. As I was readying my phone to take a picture, a family walked by. Both kids immediately went over to the shelves and laid their heads down on ladybug pillows, while the mother snapped, “Oh, stop it!”

One must admit they market these things brilliantly.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Calling Home Decorators

We moved into our house almost three years ago, so it seemed about time to hang up a few pictures. I pretended I was some type of arty person who reads design websites and cut paper templates to tape to the walls to judge where to place them. I scrawled the subject of the photo(s) and marked which ones have multiple images.

Q-ster came by to examine the wall shortly after we taped up the papers. He was was distinctly unimpressed. “Did you draw these?” he paused, looking for something constructive to say. “Maybe it would look better if you used some color. Yeah, why don’t you add some colors.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Most Realistic Video Game Ever

It's that time of year again to figure out which charities I've missed during the year and make donations before the year is up. We've been at my parents' house this week, so I haven't been able to look through my records, but we've browsed through the websites of the usual suspects, like Livestrong and Child's Play.

One fundraising team for the latter organization calls itself Desert Bus for Hope and managed to raise almost $200,000 this year by playing the video game Desert Bus for five days continuously and doing stunts while donations poured in. What is Desert Bus?

Courtesy of Wikipedia (which is probably another target for year end donations):

The objective of the game (Desert Bus) is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph. The feat requires 8 hours of continuous play to complete, since the game cannot be paused.

The bus contains no passengers, contains little scenery (an occasional rock or stop sign will appear at the side of the road), and there is no traffic. The road between Tucson and Las Vegas is without exception completely straight. The bus veers to the right slightly; as a result, it is impossible to tape down a button to go do something else and have the game end properly. If the bus veers off the road it will stall and be towed back to Tucson, also in real time. If the player makes it to Las Vegas, they will score exactly one point. The player then gets the option to make the return trip to Tucson—for another point (a decision they must make in a few seconds or the game ends). Players may continue to make trips and score points as long as their endurance holds out. Some players who have completed the trip have also noted that, although the scenery never changes, a bug splats on the windscreen about five hours through the first trip, and on the return trip the light does fade, with differences at dusk, and later a pitch black road where the player is guided only with headlights.

Anyway, somebody in gameland has a good sense of humor.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Feeling blessed to be surrounded with loving family in the sunshine.

Happy Thanksgiving to fellow Americans, and wishing a wonderful day to our international friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Redefining Activities When Accompanied by Small Children

Trip to the park = Eating snacks on the playground
Trip to the grocery store = Buying snacks
Trip to the zoo = Eating snacks in the vicinity of animals

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hockey Kings

The boys got a chance to tackle an air hockey table at a birthday party last weekend and played a pretty reasonable game against each other.

At first, I held Buster so that he could lean over the table, but he soon insisted on standing on his own two feet, barely tall enough to see over the edge.

I ran for my good camera as soon as I saw the game in action, but I find that the blurry iPhone pics that I snapped first actually capture the action better.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It’s All Perspective

We were showing a mechanical device to our Scandinavian colleagues who were in town for the week, when one of them asked to take a photograph to better explain it to the team back home. The camera didn’t go off, so he fiddled with the settings to locate the trouble.

“Ah, the self timer was on. We sat outside on the patio for breakfast this morning, so we took a photo,” he explained.

None of us really reacted, so he tried again. “Breakfast. Outside. In NOVEMBER.”

“Right, right!” We Californians nodded and agreed, yes, that was a miraculous thing indeed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

First Piano Recital

Q-ster had his first piano recital today. Here he is, practicing at home beforehand.

Buster contributes by doing acrobatics, yelling "Look at me!" and drumming while his big brother plays.

A dramatic final note.

His piano teacher cleverly arranges a series of recitals at different retirement homes in the community, and everyone signs up for a few that are convenient. Q-ster's experience with performance unaffected by distraction came in handy today, when a resident absently started singing the "ABC song" to his rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The boy was note and rhythm perfect for both his pieces, the only one of the cast of performers to hit it exactly. So proud of my little dude!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Buster hasn't quite gotten the hang of blowing bubbles himself, but he's happy to hold the wand for anyone who wants to assist.
The ants were apparently impressed with the bubble technique as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today in Pop Culture

Yes, Princess Diana's life wasn't a fairytale, but I was always fond of her. It's lovely to see her son give that ring to his fiancee, and I wish them happiness!

I've always loved that picture of Diana with her two boys. I'm unlikely to ever get both of mine in ties, but I think Buster is close enough to bribing-age that I'll be able to get some cute huggy shots, perhaps even in time for Christmas cards.

In other pop culture news, I expect all of you to vote for Jennifer Grey (go, Dirty Dancing fans!) next Monday night, because it would be a travesty for Bristol Palin to win Dancing with the Stars. Yes, she's a trooper for enduring her mother putting her in the public eye as a pregnant teen, but she's no dancer.

Photo credit: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters/Landov; A.G. Carrick/Camera Press/Getty

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Bandz, They Arrive

I thought the fad would pass before Q-ster was old enough to pay attention, but he came home with his first Silly Bandz today, a gift from a friend.

The first hit is always free, isn't it?

At least this is a fairly cute trend. (Collective groan from those of you who have been monitoring Silly Bandz trading rules for years . . .)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wedding Dress, Twelve Years Later

I need to wear a white ballgown for an upcoming concert, and fortunately, my wedding dress is in the style of an 1840's gown. And it fits!

At least it fits for standing around. I'm not sure how well I'm going to last wearing it for aerobic activity. My body is not the same dimensions as it was before having two children (I seem to have increased the Pamela Anderson-type attributes), so I'm not sure just losing a few pounds will make enough of a difference. We shall see.

In any case, for you costumey types, my gown is silk organza over silk dupioni, with champagne-colored hand embroidery and ribbon-work. In keeping with period character, the waistline is cartridge-pleated and the bodice is closed with hooks and holes, instead of my usual quick-change velcro secret. That means I need help getting in and out of it, unlike the big red dress, which I can manage entirely by myself.

P.S. If you're in the Bay Area and need a costumer, I'll send you an intro to the wonderful woman who made this gown, the red one, and many others.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Second Careers and More Travel

Loved this image of retired NFL champion Jerry Rice in his new career, hot glue gunning sequins to a mirror ball (in the Dancing with the Stars segment parodying Sports Center.)

Total non sequitur theater today:

Enjoying a shoe shine at the airport earlier this week. Yay for new-looking shoes!

Other thoughts - I purchased entirely too many bottles of water at the airport this week. Pricey.

My business trip was entirely airport-hotel-conference room, so I didn't actually see anything interesting enough in Chicago to get some kind of treat for the boys. And they didn't notice the lack of gifts when I got home. Yay for huggy boys!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Someone Has Been Reading About Wolverine Too Much

Q-ster met me at the door this evening as I came home from work.

"All my dreams came true! Spikes came out of my hands!"

Ok, dude. Whatever makes you happy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Just What I Needed

Pictures of me on the internet in my underwear.

Fortunately, 1840's-style underwear isn't all that scandalous. We're doing a show with a local symphony, and they used an odd photo from a previous concert for their publicity (above, sorry about the mis-scaling.) The image on their lovely, glossy brochure is cropped wider, so you can see both my legs in their stocking-ed, bloomered, petticoated glory. SwingDaddy, of course, is looking dapper and very blond.

Other photos from that same concert, in case you were wondering what the top of the gown looks like:

It's fun to be dancing with friends again!

Photo credit

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Secret Garden

The wedding location had these fantastic hedges, probably 15 feet tall, surrounding the garden. I saw a staggered row that looked like the opening to a hedge maze (dreamy!), but was just a clever way of concealing a stairway.

I was consoled by this charming gate to their playground.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Boys and Toys

We had a whirlwind weekend at a family wedding, flew home this afternoon, and now I'm at my third airport of the day, awaiting the red-eye for a business trip.

The boys had a splendid time, playing with their grandparents, meeting cousins for the first time, getting to play with iphones at the airport, and eating extra snacks. I miss my boys already.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Found 'Em

All cotton, non-chemically treated Star Wars Lego pajamas in size six for the little dude. Hooray for Kohl's!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Indomitable Ms. Burke

Finally, we're caught up with this season of Dancing with the Stars. My favorite is Jennifer Grey, both because she's a great and appealing dancer, and because the movie "Dirty Dancing" was a huge high school fave.

On a side note, I'm really impressed with Cheryl's work as a pro. She's a fantastic choreographer, but we've always felt her Argentine tango was distinctly lacking. During the off-season, she went down to Buenos Aires to study tango! She's never flaunted flexibility before this season either, so she's definitely investing in herself and her skills. Go, lady!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Trekking across Rohan

My little hobbits on a long journey.

Ok, not really. The rest of the family is just outside the frame, checking out the extensive prairie dog community.

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Last Moment Before Bedtime

After we read brush teeth, change into pajamas, and read bedtime stories, Buster gets to watch a mini video on my iPhone. Current favorite - Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. Former favorites - the music video for "Life is a Highway" and the song clip for "The Boys are Back" from High School Musical 3.