Bucket o’ Lizard

The boy is at it again . . . pet for a day. This one he caught himself and was so very proud. He played with it for hours after school and cried when the lizard had to be set free . . .

G took very good care of his little lizard as shown by the fact that the lizard managed to hang on to his tail in spite of being handled so much. I’m thinking this was especially nice for the lizard because it appeared he had already lost his tail somewhere along the way and was still busy working on the replacement. G even showed up in the kitchen with the lizard in hand wanting to help the rest of us can meals. The lizard’s invitation to the house was quickly rescinded. The boy opted to hang with his buddy on the patio.

Happy lizards to you,

Sunday Night Entertainment

We had friends over for dinner Sunday night and being good hosts we made sure there was a lot of fun stuff to do.

The evening’s entertainment started promptly after an especially yummy dinner when G went across the road to retrieve his soccer ball and then calmly returned and informed me that there was a rattlesnake on the sidewalk . . . right in front of the giant retaining wall his sister likes to sit by when she reads. (shiver)

He wasn’t kidding.

C quickly dispatched the snake . . . because with the number of children and dogs in this neighborhood we really don’t welcome venomous biting creatures. We are picky hosts. It’s true.

The rest of us stood around and watched.

G had to have the rattle.

The head had to go in the storm drain.

This is what was left.

And that was just the evening’s opening act, albeit a difficult one to follow for sure.

Earlier in the day C built a giant cardboard scope of sorts so we could watch the eclipse (because he does really cool stuff like that). We hauled it out into the road and chased the sun around. We started in a neighbor’s driveway.

And then moved it up the hill.

Where random people and their dogs stopped by to check it out.

It was pretty neat to watch the sun take on the shape of the moon.

A nice finish to a lovely and exciting Sunday evening.

The end,

“National Emergency! National Emergency!”

That is what the boy came in the house hollering at the top of his lungs the other day.

It took me a minute to tear myself away from the book in which I was engrossed because I felt relatively secure in the knowledge that it wouldn’t have taken my son alerting me to a national emergency if one were actually occurring on our doorstep.

I looked up to see a freckle-faced little boy whose dark brown eyes were resembling saucers beckoning me with his short little fingers.

“Come on, Mom. You gotta see this.” His voice and face were very solemn.

I followed him out the front door and this is what I found:

A poem about what little boys are made of comes to mind.

“Wow, G!” I’m sure overwhelming enthusiasm positively emanated from my being. G quickly shifted gears from serious to delighted.

“Look, Mom! Snail poop!” (Big laugh.)

(No close-up. Sorry. Try to contain your disappointment.)

G brought the snails food and said, “It’s a group hug, Mom!”

Prior to that moment I don’t think it ever occurred to me to put the words ‘snail’ and ‘hug’ in the same paragraph much less the same sentence.

“Awwww – a baby! Isn’t he cute?”

Ditto for cute and snail and sentences.

G was very proud of his collection.

His mamma was slightly repulsed but managed to kept it to herself.

Is it possible to be incredibly proud of your children and delight in their enthusiasm and be grossed-out at the same time? Because if the boy wants to study bugs I will do everything I can to keep my skin from crawling off my body and encourage him. This is evidenced by the fact that the snail collection ultimately wound up being stored in a yogurt container with a custom viewing port designed by our little malacologist . . . on the counter . . . in the kitchen.

Still trying to avoid passing my phobias on to my son,

The Boy & His Trap

Leprechaun trap that is . . .

Design by G, future engineer. Or architect. Or stylist. Mamma and Daddy don’t do the kids’ projects for them in this house, by golly.

The leprechaun climbs up the gold coins and follows them until he falls in the can – the lid, of course, remains off until the leprechaun falls into the trap.

(Like the eyes? The child can make his giant eyeballs appear entirely white if he is so inclined. Creepy.)

Before building the trap G and I had this little exchange:

G:  “Does the trap have to be really fancy to catch a leprechaun?”

M: “Depends on how smart the leprechaun is.”

G: “I hope I get a dumb one.”

And just to be obnoxious to all of my friends and family living where winter involves snow, this is what we do after school these days . . .


P.S. As I’m in the office writing this and G is volunteering to read books if it means he can play a game on Daddy’s new iPad and R is trying to figure out what she can do to earn game time it occurs to me that our children talk just as loud as I do. Poor C.

Presidents Day 2012

A little recap of our very busy Presidents Day (note I wrote ‘day,’ not weekend) . . .

We did a little sewing . . .

The kids are making book covers. If they are ever finished I’ll share pictures of the finished products.

And a little painting . . .

And attempted to make it a little more difficult for Chewy to jump the fence . . .

We planted strawberries . . .

And ollas in the herb garden (so very, very cool) . . .

Played foursquare . . .

Did a little stove repair . . .

Unearthed a potato bug . . .

We took out the remnants of the Ficus tree that fell victim to the December windstorm . . .

We made chicken pot pie . . . 1) how can something so ugly be so yummy, 2) yellow food should never be served in a yellow bowl . . .

And we buried a hamster . . . and placed a cross in memory of the one we left behind in Alaska who died two weeks ago . . . Hazel and Nibblet. We are now a hamster-less family.

Today we’re recovering.


Griffith Park & Things

We finally managed to make it to another of the places on our “Must Do While in L.A.” list this weekend.

Griffith Park . . .

We biked along the Los Angeles River . . . .

Water by G-d. Cement by man. Growing things by miracle. Chris’ comment was, “I don’t know if I should be appreciative or appalled. It is a place to bike . . . ”

Freeway on one side, cement river filled with litter on the other . . .

I have to say it never occurred to me that the giant culvert with water trickling through it that we had driven by a half dozen times was a “river.”

We (we being the three of us who don’t puke at the very sight of a merry go-round going around) rode the famous Griffith Park Merry Go-Round.

The Merry Go-Round was built in 1926 and has been in Griffith Park since 1937. The horses are beautiful . . . each one is hand carved.

They are also quite old . . . some of them more than 100 years old actually. Which means every horse has lost it’s tail. It is a little disturbing.

It is amazing to think of all the people through the years who have brought their children and grand-children here . . . all of the people from all over the world who have ridden this merry go-round.

The weather was incredible and the skies exceptionally clear so we also went up to the Griffith Observatory.

Which gave us a nice view of the Hollywood sign.

And downtown L.A.

We learned a few things and saw cool stuff from space.

And for good measure we drove down Sunset Boulevard on the way home.

Oh, and it wouldn’t have been a day in L.A. without driving past at least one movie shoot . . . which you can only see evidence of via the white trailers way in the back in the parking lot because I’m a little slow with the camera on a drive by.


Lights Out

Last Wednesday a local internet site was warning us about high winds in the area . . . high wind advisory, 40 mile an hour winds expected, etc., etc.

“Whatever,” I thought, “Anchorage gets much stronger winds than that a dozen times a year. No big deal.”


I spent half of Wednesday night listening to the trees pound the house and windows and the other half of the night sleeping on G’s bottom bunk because I was quite certain our bedroom windows were going to come sailing into our bedroom in a thousand pieces.

At about 2:30 a.m. I discovered the power was out.

Somewhere in all of this I figured out that 40 miles per hour was a serious underestimation . . . or positive thinking.

The next morning I woke up and went downstairs to let the dogs out and found this . . .

The doors open out. The dogs had to hang out with their legs crossed while I figured out how to let them out of the house. The other door had a Ficus tree in front of it, too.

When I looked out the front window I saw this . . .

Half of the neighbors were milling around in their pajamas inspecting the damage.

And there was a bit . . . this tree had a power line in the midst of it.

We lost this big in ground Ficus tree . . . and our backyard privacy right along with it.

One of the pots containing a smaller Ficus tree didn’t make it.

But being good Alaskans we whipped out the duct tape and fixed it right up . . . looks so purty now . . .

The night we had wasn’t nearly as exciting as our neighbor down the block. See that wound in the tree – the one on the underside of the branch right there at the corner of her house? That is where a branch broke off of her Sycamore tree. That window, by the way, is right above her bed, which is where she was sitting watching TV when the branch broke.

This is the branch. It is difficult to appreciate the size and scope of the branch that broke. Just know that you can’t see the top half of it because it is in the neighbor’s yard. Part of it to the left and part of it to the right.

Here is the view of the top break site from her back porch. The bottom break site is on the backside of the branch to the left by the leaves.

This is the view of the neighbor’s yard across the street from our house.

Of course this whole event gave Chris an excuse to buy a new tool.

I find it rather ironic that we spent 11 years in Alaska without a good chainsaw and then within six months of moving to California we are now the proud owners of one.

Anyway, we spent a few days camping in the house . . . grateful for our heavy duty sleeping bags because it was in the 30’s at night and when half the house you live in was built a zillion years ago the lack of insulation is evident . . . grateful that the neighbors do not have a tankless water heater and let us shower at their place when we couldn’t take it anymore . . . grateful we had a really nice camping lantern and kid beads and card games . . . grateful for a sixty year old gas stove that has not one single electric part . . . and grateful we were here without power for three days instead of in Alaska.

And then . . . late Saturday night and into Sunday morning we gratefully watched a whole bunch of linemen and three bucket trucks in our front yard and on our street . . . making repairs to the five damaged lines and poles on our tiny little block.


Really, really appreciating hot water,

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