Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Important Comic about BEER

I was scanning a big pile of Nimue art this morning, and ran across this comic Nimue drew last winter. Something about the juxtaposition of the escalating animals a la typical kid book with the all-important beer cracks me up. Plus her simple line drawings have a lot of character. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Time at the Climbing Gym Too

Nim's been taking a rock climbing class at the gym for the last couple of weeks, and quite naturally, loves it!

Good Times for Nim Last Week

Good Time with Gramma

Good Time with Dabby

And yes, Good Time with Ma
(not pictured)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Watercolor Fun

I painted a picture of a mouse on a serpent ship called Mouse Rana.
The mouse's name is Olive.In the story,Olive and the rest of his family are
house mice and pet mice.There are many cats around.The mice are very scared
of the cats.Olive makes a plan.The plan is that they would all run away to the
harbor,somehow.When each mouse arrived,Olive waited for them in a tiny ship
named Mouse Rana.When they started sailing,many of the mice were worried
about cats,but Olive told them to get used to it.In the ocean,they were greeted by
catfish,orange fish,and more.They were washed onto shore a couple days after
onto a peaceful place called Igneaus.In Igneaus,they met a girl named Giku who
was very nice.Giku kept them as her pets,but loved Olive most of all.Now the
mice didn't have to worry about cats any more!

I also made a picture of a menace robot.The menace robot features;2 squeaky wheels,3 rockets,
1 extra loud beeper,1 thing bopper,2 laser eyes,2 menace boxes,2 fast blazers,1 grabber,
1 sheet tier and window opener,and 2 rocket arms.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Clean your Room in 15 Minutes or Less

Nimue has taken p. 36-38 of "The Girls' Book of Excellence: Even More Ways To Be The Best At Everything" to heart, and is faithfully following the room cleaning instructions -- including dusting and vacuuming. ????? Too bad she doesn't do this on command, but I'm sure enjoying it this week.

Lest you be horrified at the title of the book, be assured that Nim also checked out "The Boys' Book of Greatness: Even More Ways To Be The Best At Everything" version of the book from the library as well, and happily had Chad help her power an LED with two lemons, a couple of nails, and some copper wire last night. Well...still be horrified at the book titles -- but this excellent kid is quite happily gleaning useful stuff from both!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Too good to be true?

On the way home from school today, Nim and I noticed that there was a crossing guard posted at at the intersection of Mary and Knickerbocker.

This is a Good Idea. I've often wondered why this intersection didn't have one. Many kids live in the neighborhoods to the east of Mary and go to schools just on the other side; Knickerbocker is a great bike and pedestrian route but Mary is fairly busy during commute hour. I typically see kids streaming through this intersection heading toward the middle school on my way home after riding with Nimue to the elementary school.

I commonly use the intersection as a "Which car might make a mistake and mow us?" training exercise as we're waiting for the traffic signal, as there is so often a demonstration of the bad car behaviors that I try to teach Nimue to watch out for: right turners not looking out for kids in the crosswalk, left turners not yielding to through traffic (particularly bikes and peds), red light running, etc. While this is a useful exercise, I don't particularly like having Nim have to go through it twice a day, every day. It's the one intersection that would prevent me from letting her ride all the way to school by herself this year because I just don't trust the cars to behave themselves.

Really really really hope this isn't just a freak trial and that it stays. Please please please please please!

Back Side of Beyond

Over the weekend, Chad and I were actually able to go for a bike ride together, as my mom was in town and was willing to watch Nimue for us. Stephan had proposed doing Mt. Hamilton (he was free as Susanne and the kids were still in Europe), so we joined up with that crew for the assualt up the front (west) side of the hill. It's interesting to note that the collection or riders in Stephan's group of friends all seem to have babies and toddlers at this point and have slowed down a bit as a result; I am a couple of years ahead of them down the process and am on the upswing of being back in pre-kid condition after escaping toddler purgatory. Riding so much with Nim on the back of the tandem does a lot to increase strength! Chad and I had a nice relaxed ride up to the observatory and enjoyed the view while waiting for everyone to regroup.

After making it to the top, everyone else rolled back down toward their cars while Chad and I rolled down the back side so we could climb that side of the hill too. I hadn't been back there in years; the shorter but steeper climb on that side proved to be quite enjoyable in the September sunshine. It's amazing how empty and rural it seems back there, a mere 20 miles from San Jose.

Wildlife spotted in the road included a taratula, vultures, turkeys, and assorted rodents. It's easy to imagine that the circling vultures are just waiting for a dehydrated cyclist to topple over and provide sustenance; we took plenty of water and avoided that fate.

Just shy of 50 miles and 7000 feet of climbing.

Drowning in Books

This morning's email brought yet another reminder from the Sunnyvale library that I have books due within three days. Thank goodness for these automatic reminders, lest we drown in the veritable sea of reading material that the stems from the combination of Nimue's and my voracious reading habits with the presence of multiple good local libraries.

On investigation of the library book situation I found no fewer than 8 receipts from different batches of library books hanging from the refrigerator. Probably 3 dozen library books of various types and in varying degrees of done-ness are strewn about the house. That doesn't include the vast quantity of free stuff I've sucked onto my kindle. Perhaps the addiction is a tad out of control? Nope. Not possible.

Lest you think anyone in the house is left out, Chad happily piggybacks on the spoils of the library pillages, as well as being yet another route for books to sneak into the house.

Thank goodness for automatic reminders and online renewal systems. And online book reservations, links to request books from other libraries, and the fact that the Sunnyvale library seems quite willing to purchase anything I put on their "Please buy this" list. Oh, wait -- those last three lead to more books in the house...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finally finished the last birthday present

 I finally got around to finishing Nimue's fleece vest -- it was supposed to be a birthday present, but all I had to wrap at that point was bag full of supplies. The final result, while not perfect, is not bad for having been made with no pattern and an under $2 remnant. (Nimue likes it, at least.)


On Friday, September 4, 2009 I got my hair cut --AND I got bangs.I think my bangs make me look prettier.

Beginning of school bike follies

So one would think now that school has started that I would have more time on my hands. I do, in fact. However, there is so much pent up energy and need to get out on my bike that I haven't been getting much of anything else done for the last week.

All this pent up bike need stems from only having ridden a scant 300 miles in August. Yes, you should laugh at me -- once again, I've diverged enough from the mainstream to be what Nimue classifies as "Odd Ma". Fortunately, I see this as a good thing :)

This urge to get out and ride in my newfound free time has intersected with the end-of-summer bike ennui that stems from having ridden all the usual hills many, many times this year already. It's clearly time to go out and explore!

So explore I have done. Recently you could have spotted me:

1) on the Dumbarton Bridge. I intended to do just a short ride to Shoreline and Palo Alto Baylands, but got carried away because I could, and it was nice out. After going over the bridge I got distracted exploring some dirt trails in Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, then got a little lost over in the East Bay, got mooed at by what sounded like some very disgruntled cows under a bridge, and eventually found my way back home having added substantially to my mental bike road atlas of the area. It's very fortunate that one can't get all that that lost following the edge of the bay.

2) on Sanborn Road. This is a dead-end stub of a hill off of highway 9 only a few miles from the house that climbs through sun-dappled trees up toward a county park. There's not much up there besides the park, so it was delightfully quiet. Amazingly quiet. Quite a nice little climb including a steepie bit at the beginning. I can't believe I had never bothered to check it out before.

3) going mountain biking from home without having to use the car -- at Fremont Older Open Space Preserve. Between the new Mary Avenue bike bridge and a patch of dirt along the railroad tracks near Bubb, I can get up to the preserve pretty painlessly, even on the mountain bike. Plus, I discovered another nice short road climb on the way up to the back entrance of the park -- Regnart Road is another delightful, deserted, rural-seeming, shady, short climb. Yay for avoiding boredom! Mountain biking at this particular park is fun for me, as it doesn't require much in the way of technical skills but still provides some good climbing. I zoomed out the other back way through Stevens Canyon County Park and rode straight to Nim's school to pick her up, dirty and hungry. The other moms probably think I'm nuts. Probably a good thing.

4) exploring dead end streets off of Montebello Road. I found a weird neighborhood of multi-million dollar homes with stunning views... of the working gravel pit below. Unfortunately most of the other little side roads I wanted to explore have forbidding "Private Road" signs on them. Grrr. I rode all the way up and took the dirt road to the top of Black Mountain instead, and then followed some relatively mellow singletrack along the Old Ranch and Bella Vista trails on my way down to Page Mill. (yes, it's at least sort of reasonable on a road bike)

plus the usual get Nim to school, ride to work, ride to the library, grocery store, etc. I've been heartened to note that there appear to be many more kids and kids+parents riding to school this year than last, at least so far. There seems to be an especially large number of dads with kindergarteners on trail-a-bikes, which is good to see. I've even seen (gasp) a private school student riding her bike to the Challenger school down the street from our house. This school was a bastion of car-infested woe all year last year. What is the world coming to? Something good, it seems!