Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another book

I just finished Gone Girl. I thought it might be a good read, thought it might be a bit of a thriller, a page turner. A little bit different from what I've been reading. It was some of those things. It was definitely not what I expected. It's the first book I've ever read where I hated the characters. I mean, I started the book and I really couldn't stand either of the characters at all. I am unsure why I kept reading the book, except to say that I was interested to see how the characters got out of the situations they put themselves in. I do have to say that it does make you appreciate your life and what you have. But overall, don't read this book. It will only make you angry and it will kinda make you dislike yourself for keeping reading it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wknd wrap up

This is what happens when our smoke alarm goes insane
We went to a kids museum on Friday
Fun stuff!
Construction stuff in La Honda - Mana, lemme show you something cool - STEAMROLLER!
Garfield made me think of my Dad

D was off Thurs & Fri so he went to the beach with Dada on Thurs and D & I got donuts & hit the PA kids museum on Friday. Saturday, we hit the farmers market in HMB then headed to a pool party by Alex's boss. Sunday was a chill at home day with Alex riding his bike and me getting ready for the week. We watched Wreck it Ralph (super cute!) and called it a night.

First day of preschool!

In his big new classroom!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Shell Seekers

I've been reading a lot lately. Books, I mean. This year has been beyond stressful, and books can be so comforting and such a lovely escape. I've recently notices that even my usual reading material, namely Facebook, the NYTimes and science news has become incredibly stressful. FB is hard to read because of the sheer numbers of people who post things that I just cannot agree with. I also see too many things that I don't want to see - the bad far outweighs the good on FB these days. I think reading the NYTimes is also stressful - this election, shit blowing up, people being batshit insane - it's just too much. And science, well, I'm stressed out about publishing, finding a job, etc, etc, so it's stressful to see cool science published when I know I have so much on my plate to deal with.
So I started with Harry Potter, naturally. I love that series and I've read it about a hundred times. It was nice to visit the world again, I always notice something new or forgotten. It's like returning to your childhood bedroom again, after all these years.
At my mom's house, I raided her library - always a good idea. She had had these books by Rosamunde Pilcher for years and years. I remember seeing them on our shelves when I was a kid. I hated the way they looked - all flowery and pastel colored. But my mom called them "gentle", which was exactly the type of book I was looking for. So, I came home with a bunch and I've just now finished The Shell Seekers. I'm not actually sure what this book was about. Family, I suppose, is the easiest answer. But it was so much more that that. The book follows Penelope, at the beginning of the book, a grandmother who has just had a heart attack, is returning home after being in hospital. As cliché as is sounds, this book is like an onion. It's only until you reach the end that you see all the ends tied together and all the stories come into one. Penelope's father was an artist, and his art is experiencing a resurgence in the market. She has only three of his works, and two of her children jump on her to sell the works, mostly because they want the money. Only one child, her daughter, Olivia, tells her to do what she wants with the paintings. Olivia is well off, a career woman with no family, and has made her own way in the world. The reader then gets taken on a journey of Penelope's life - her upbringing, her marriage, the birth of her children. She lived through WWII in England, raised children in London. Experienced the Bohemian art scene and the horrors of war. She really is an amazing character. Her children and their stories intertwine with hers, as well as some new characters that she meets along the way. In the end, Penelope herself decides what to do with her paintings, and the whole story ends quite satisfactorily.
Once I got into this book, I couldn't put it down. But I can't exactly tell you why. What the characters do in the story is quite mundane. Penelope is a retired grandmother and had almost always been a home-maker, so all the "action" of the story is the mundane of life - making tea, having a drink, putting the wash out to dry, gardening. The characters, both good and bad, make this story. They are so interesting and mostly likable, that I wanted to sit in a kitchen with most of them and have a cup of tea. The scene descriptions were beautiful - the sounds, the smells, the ambience. It was a lovely read, and just like my mom said, very "gentle".

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wknd pics (2)

My kiddo, the doggie
Sunset at my house, longest day of the year
La Hobda fair - aka hippie party
Watching the Phils beat the Giants - a real treat
Here we are
They win!
Sunset walk

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What have I been up to?

So, it's now nearly 6 months (!) into the new year - where the heck have I been, you might be asking?
Well, here's a little recap:

January: I spent the month mostly trying to recover from too much Christmas spending, and preparing to teach a course at San Jose State University. The class officially started at the end of Jan, so I was struggling to prepare lectures, get the syllabus on track and make sure I understood what the heck I was supposed to do. It was eye opening, to say the least.

February: Man, that month was rough. I started teaching two days a week, MW from 9-10:15. It's a 30 min (at least) commute from Stanford, where I was still working my real job. I re-worked and re-submitted my first first author paper from my current Stanford job. I prepared lectures, quizzes, and group work, wrote an exam, and tried to get the hang of teaching. My class was great - I loved the students and I got a ton of energy from them. But man, it's hard. I also had a miscarriage. That really sucked. A lot. Actually, words don't really do it justice. I dropped my phone in the toilet. I lost all the pictures from Christmas in CO, and everything from Jan. And I had to buy a new phone. There goes $700 down the drain. Literally. I also went home to celebrate my Dad's birthday and little Christa's bday (they share the same bday). It was so nice to see family and just hang out and chill. And we stopped off at Madonna Inn on the way home, which is really spectacular. You should go.

March: March was mostly hunker down and survive mode. It rained a ton. D got a big boy bed. We worked a lot. My first first author manuscript from Stanford was accepted. My manuscript from my graduate work at Penn that took 10 years to get submitted was reviewed and resubmitted. We worked a lot. We went to a lot of Easter Egg hunts. My parents came to visit for Easter and it was nice and mellow. The best Easter Egg hunt we went to was in the forest near our house. It was in a big field with lots of grass. Real eggs were hidden. The volunteer fire department was there, including a bunny in firefighter boots. D got to shoot water out of the fire hose. We took Grandma and Grandpa to the Santa Cruz boardwalk, and it was a blast. D loved the rides and the beach. It was perfect. I wrote another exam. I had Spring Break from SJSU.

April: April was continue the hunker down and work mode. D was starting to get irritated with the early mornings and long days. He started to act out and be upset more and to express his opinion more and more. His eating got more picky and his sleeping got more unstable. He likes to snuggle a lot. He started singing all the time. I gave more lectures, more quizzes, more group work and more exams. I got to know the students more and I actually met with some of them for coffee and encouraged them to pursue the things they were interested in. We went to a birthday party for the kid of an SJSU colleague. My paper from my grad work was accepted and published, officially ending any ties to my old boss and making my resume look pretty nice with two papers in two months. We sent our car to the shop, and they kept it for 2 weeks. We were so nervous that they would charge us a ton of money, but it ended up being only $300 and we breathed a sigh of relief (and it's fixed - hooray!).

May: I continued teaching, writing one last final exam and giving out extra credit points like candy. We went to the SF zoo, which was pretty cool. It was the first time D went to the zoo and I think he really liked it. D barfed one morning on the way to school, so we ended up going home. He actually helped me hose down his car seat and was a really helpful boy to me. Hard to believe he's growing up before my eyes. He's getting more used to our crazy odd schedule. He sleeps better, and kinda eats better, at least at school. He's still clingy and doesn't want me to leave when I drop him off. He wants to wear underwear, but has yet to go on the potty. He just holds it. I am hoping this is temporary. I take him to SJSU one day and then to the Children's Discovery Museum, where his greatest delight is either the full (real) fire truck in the entrance, or the empty dancing room playing lots of different kinds of music. He runs and dances and plays in that room for a long time. We went to the beach, watching people ride horses up and down it. We fed the ducks at the pond. We baked brownies. Last week, we went to the airport to pick up Uncle Taylor and Cousin K. D absolutely loves K and followed her every move. We went all over SF - Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, Hard Rock Cafe, Ghirardelli Square, Chinatown, cable car. It was a fun day. We spend two days at the beach, checking out a really good seafood place and the warmer lagoon in Half Moon Bay one day and then the real HMB beach another. We showed them the redwoods and the cliffs and the beach and Stanford. And our house drain clogged, so Alex and Taylor got to play fix it kids. It was a nice visit, but a little exhausting. And now, here I am - last day of the month. I still need to post grades, but the semester is over. I'm exhausted, both physically and emotionally. And I'm so glad I don't have to make that commute down to SJSU anymore. I am looking forward to a few weeks here in lab, writing and doing experiments to hopefully getting out two more papers this year. Keep your fingers crossed. I'll try to post some pics of our adventures.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Some cute pics

This is one of our neighbors' decorations. Yes, Santa is on a toilet on water skis
Making cookies
Climbing on mama
Naturally my husband on the roof
Checking out the monkeys at the zoo
His first ride!
On the carousel
Destroying the house per usual 
Waiting for the airplane 
I got to run on Christmas!
Tackling pop-pop
Goofing with Uncle Taylor

That's all for now...more later