Friday, March 31, 2006

Willow just tried to feed me one of her boogers. She almost got it into my mouth before I realized what she was trying to do. When I asked her why, she replied:

"It's tasty! It's for dinner!"

Not much I can add to that.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Okay, now I feel sick too. I'm not as sick as Jen, but hiking all day in the rain and then expending enough energy during our campfire program to keep 180 kids laughing for an hour and a half has really wiped me out.

It's a good thing there's a warm bed behind me right now.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

See-Saw Guffaw

See-Saw Guffaw
Originally uploaded by Corbie.
We all went to Woolfcamp 2 (a somewhat informal blog-writing workshop) on Saturday, in a beautiful house at the end of a winding road in the foothills somewhere up the peninsula. I mostly ran after the kids on the deck or down around the impressive play structure in the yard, while upstairs discussions were had and laptops were abused. Every so often I'd peek my head in to see what was going on and to eat some more of the good cheese off the tray on the counter.
I really liked all of the people I met, but due to my attention being split between the girls, didn't engage in many conversations. A few of us did manage to get out for a walk on a nice little trail that tried its best to mimic the nearby creek. Willow, in due course, became quite muddy and giggly.
She liked the see-saw too, as you can see.
I must say it's nice to meet some of the people who lurk on the far sides of distant computers. There is some great creative energy out there.
At some point I mentioned that I was in danger of losing my luddite credentials, but had an almost simultaneous realization that I have, or take part in, multiple websites. I guess I'm really not a luddite any more. It's so easy to have websites now though. Oh, and not to mention, free.

Today, with no social engagements on our schedule, we dealt with things around the house. Jen feels sick. Hopefully not for long.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Several days into Spring and it's still raining. There is an acrobatic squirrel on the fence outside right now, but the sky is still and grey.

The money faery delivered some much needed relief this week, so Jen went out, stocked up on supplies, and got me a couple of new tires. This week was a bad one for vehicles though. My tire blow-out was the third staff incident in the last two weeks, and they all occurred while people where commuting to work. The first one involved a minor collision at an intersection. The second involved a sandwich of cars on the freeway - followed by the staff member's dad getting in an almost identical accident a couple of days later. Creepy synchronicity. Nobody got hurt though.

Got to go change a diaper now. More later...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My right front tire, already threadbare and leaking, burst on the way to work this morning. So now I'm driving on one of those spare tire doughnuts. This experience also reminded me that it's time to clean my trunk. It's no fun digging through junk to get to the spare when you need to be at work in ten minutes. The machine-tightened bolts attaching the wheel are also amusingly hard to unscrew. I had to stand on the wrench to get the last one off.

Other than that, it's just another average day. I'm tired and fighting off the beginnings of a cold. There is clutter everywhere. Earlier, we saw a dead fawn, lying untouched beside the trail. A coworker mentioned seeing another that appeared ill. Perhaps there is a disease spreading through the deer population. There is something especially sad about seeing a dead baby animal, regardless of what killed it.

Later there will be a night hike. The kids will most likely not be as quiet as they are asked to be.

A guy representing a local teacher's union stopped by yesterday. He talked about organizing the part time teachers and substitutes to take advantage of some legislation likely to be passed in the next few months. Apparently the legislation involves taxing corporations more heavily, with the money being freed up for education. I'll have to look into it, especially since it could mean a step closer to actually getting health benefits.

Health is important. None of us are getting any younger.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ceanothus Silk Moth

Ceanothus Silk Moth
Originally uploaded by Corbie.
The Ceanothus Silk Moth caterpillars are often found around Douglas Fir Trees, but since they aren't found in large numbers, the damage they inflict is minimal. Some smartass at camp once referred to the adults as Nike Swish Moths due to the white pattern on the wings. That does them an injustice though. Corporate icons have no place in the natural world.

This particular moth was clinging to the side of the dining hall in an attempt to avoid the rain and hail that pelted us all day at camp. The kids got pretty cold on the hike. We passed a Youth Science Institute group consisting of younger kids who looked like they were borderline hypothermic. Everybody survived though. I got pretty wet myself due to my rain pants being quite tattered and my shoes not being waterproof. Not that I care. It's just water.

Every week each field instructor gets information on any medical or behavioral concerns pertaining to kids in his or her group. My list this week contained such comforting words as, "kleptomaniac," "defiant," and "dangerous." Oh, and "liar." Should be an interesting week, to say the least.

At home, poor Willow threw up a couple of times today. Jen doesn't feel so hot either. Hopefully it's one of those 24 hour things.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

M and I went to see the new Central Works play, Shadow Crossing, in Berkeley last night, first stopping at Amoeba to trade in surplus cds for new, more desirable cds. I picked up the just released documentary on Townes Van Zandt, Be Here to Love Me, for Jen (for both of us, really) as well.

Shadow Crossing was excellent, with G behind the curtain providing the sound (songs by people like Calexico, Lila Downs, and Lhasa, which fit the mood and locale nicely). The play focuses in on the plight of illegal immigrants and reasons why people leave countries behind. Well written and skillfully performed, it managed to be hilarious and touching at the same time. Somewhere on the floor above there was a small water leak, so the audience was asked to ignore the small, plastic bucket placed center stage. The actors did a great job of not stepping in it too, and they are to be commended for this. The play can still be seen next Thursday through Sunday. Follow the link above for more precise information.

When we got back home, we all stayed up until 3 am watching the Townes Van Zandt documentary. Beautiful and tragic. He had most of his childhood erased from his mind when he underwent shock treatment. Hard to imagine living like that. Of course that's only a small part of the story. See the film.

I did a party today and got tipped twenty bucks, which will go to offset costs from yesterday's visit to Amoeba. I'd better go check on the girls now. They're potato printing in the other room with a couple of potato halves, one carved into a spider and the other carved into the crude likeness of a cat.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I got a skeleton inside me!

I got a skeleton inside me!

What if my skeleton comes out of me?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The weather continues to be cold and rainy, so the science campers this week are getting wet and muddy. A lot of the creek came back to camp inside shoes and socks. This kind of stuff doesn't really bother most kids though. I noticed that a couple of boys arranged it so that their shoes were in a puddle when the group stopped to do journal work. One of the boys deliberately touched scat too. Later, I heard that he also touched the small pile of animal guts we found. His classmates didn't seem to surprised by his behavior. I'm sure his parents would be less than pleased.

We saw a couple of turtles in the pond today, lazily crawling along under the surface. A bit cold for turtles.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sporadic Snow

Sporadic Snow
Originally uploaded by Corbie.
There is still a bit of snow on the ground up in the hills, seen here through mist, rain, and car window.
I haven't been able to upload pictures through blogger lately, so this marks my first attempt at photoblogging. If you are seeing this, then I have succeeded. If you can't see this, then my words and picture have been sent off into a black hole somwhere. Black holes in cyberspace! Maybe that's the immense gravitational force that sucks so many people towards their computer screens and forces them to waste so much time. We'll never know for sure. It's all very theoretical.
On Friday, during the weekly end-of-camp closing ceremony, snow started falling. It was only a few flakes, but it drew cheers from the kids. It wasn't until after they'd left that it really started coming down. Granted, most of it melted the minute it touched the ground, but there was enough to make a few slushy snowballs with. I did so, and had fun throwing them too. It's not something I often get to do. In fact, I don't think I've seen it snow since I was in the second or third grade. I've been in snow since then, but it has always been after the fact snow. Because of this absence of snow in my life, I just kind of sat and marvelled at the beauty of it all, watching the snowflakes drift here and there, tossed by the wind. The trees in the upper elevations were blanketed, and the front lawn was mostly white. My car windshield was half covered. It made me feel like a kid again.

By the time our Friday staff meeting was finished, most of the snow had already melted.

On Saturday, I saw the elementary school stage version of Peter Pan, in which Alex was a pirate and Nate was an indian. Alex made a convincing pirate, even though he fidgeted with his parrot and eyepatch. Nate was a very serious indian, and was really good during the dancing bit. Of course, this is a boy who does backflips on the couch, so any athleticism coming from him should be no surprise. Much to the chagrin of the boys, Sophie managed to end up on stage during the final bows. There is just no stopping that girl.
Also of note were the set design and the girl who played Wendy, who could really sing. Not of note were the music and sound system. The running time (slightly under three hours, including intermission) could have been reduced. Perhaps some of the songs could have been excised. Oh well, the kids had a good time.

As I was driving M over the hill today, we saw several carloads of people scrabbling in the muddy snow near the summit. Perhaps they were trying to make snowmen or snowballs. People who live in places where it snows on a regular basis would die laughing at the sight, no doubt.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Somehow the girls got to the eggs again. The first I knew of it was when Willow came into the room totally nude and covered with a yellow, slimy substance that upon closer inspection proved to be egg yolk. And yes, for those of you who read on Jen's blog about the initial incident(s), the egg had been smashed on the floor in exactly the same place as all of the previous egg victims.

Oh, and here's a tongue twister that appeared in my mouth last night as I was trying to get my group quiet on the night hike: stick snappers stop snapping sticks!

Today, we added to it: stick snappers stop snapping sticks and snacking on snickers.

I have way too much free time, or at least that's the impression I give sometimes. The reality is that I have precious little free time.

The boys are performing in Peter Pan tonight. I hope it's going well. I'm home watching the girls (uh... no, I'm typing. Maybe I'd better go see what they're up to.) while Jen is watching the play. I get to see it on Saturday.

It's supposed to snow tomorrow above 1000 feet. My work is at about 1200 feet in elevation. This is exciting for a Californian. Snow is something we see in movies.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It has been an uneventful week so far. The weather has cooperated by not raining or hailing on me during field class. The kids are all little angels - the ones at camp, not the ones at home. We're apparently not raising any angels. I let Alex's crayfish go in the pond today, since he's terrified of it and won't clean its cage. It is growing back the claw and the leg that is was missing when it arrived at our house. A few more moultings and it will look less lopsided. Of course it could become raccoon or egret food before it gets that far. We'll never know.
Speaking of missing legs, we also found a six-legged Black Widow today. The kids were impressed.

The clouds are moving in. About an hour from now I'll be hiking into the night with 23 fifth and sixth graders. Will it rain on us? Yesterday's astronomy program was clear and beautiful. One of the smoothest programs I've helped run. Tonight is still a mystery.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More Scribble Seven photos here. I wish I had been there. I read a discussion group post stating that the board recording fouled up (which seems to happen a lot, for some reason), so I hope M got it on his mini-disc recorder.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The boys are away at a friend's house. Willow is sleeping. Sophie and Jen are in bed behind me as I type. In Gowan Ring's "Webs Among the Din" is playing softly on the beat up old boombox we got from the grocery store (!) a few years ago. Outside, the wind is picking up.

Today was one of those days that just slipped away. Jen spent a lot of time shuttling the kids here and there - the boys to play practice and Sophie to a play date. I mostly stayed home with whoever wasn't elsewhere, trying desperately to prevent all of our toilet paper from being unspooled all over the house and making sure the girls didn't run outside nude. Jen went on several missions in search of poster boards and costume bits for the boys' upcoming play. Tomorrow we'll put the poster board cast photo thingie together somewhat. Maybe we'll even go someplace fun. That's the plan anyway. Of course I can think of a bunch of other things that need attention - pet food, laundry, the garage, various things that need being filled out and mailed... Maybe I'll go back to making "to do" lists, which is still the best, most guiltless way of avoiding real work. Not much of a weekend so far. Quieter now.

Here's another old photo from my misspent youth from the Acrofish archives, taken in front of the Gilman St. Project. This was my weekend home away from home for a handful of years during the late eighties. There was a real sense of community there. I will always identify with the outcasts.
These are the first photos to surface of the Scribble Seven performance that M was part of. From the looks of it, Joolie became of part of it too, even though less than a week ago she wasn't. Let's hear it for last minute surprises!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Interesting article. Now if only they could figure out a way to make gasoline from all the bullshit coming out of the White House.

There was snow on the hills this morning, down to 2000 feet. People reading this have to remember I'm talking about the San Francisco Bay Area here. It's just a bit unusual to see snow on the hilltops. On our side of the valley it was just a dusting, but the contrast was beautiful. It hailed on us during class the other day too. Did I mention that?

"I scawed of da wat its bery loud.

I scawed of da wat its bery loud.

And yellow and yellow and yellow...

Where's Nathan?"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

We saw phosphorescent fungus on the night hike tonight! A small tree had snapped off in the wind earlier in the week, and the portion of its interior thus exposed was enveloped in a ghostlike glow. And all of this happened right after I got finished telling my glow worm story. There's nothing like a bit of real phosphorescence to lend credence to a story that is ninety percent fabrication. After we all finished marvelling at the fungus, we hiked up to the front lawn and looked at Saturn and Titan through the telescope. After the kids went off to bed, I got in my car and promptly had to wait fifteen minutes while some utility guy in a cherry picker fiddled about with the power lines. It's kind of funny that finding the fungus and having to wait on the road were both a direct result of Monday night's storm. We need more fungus and less waiting, in my opinion.

On an entirely unrelated note, here's a picture of me stagediving back when I was young and immortal. I look like I'm attempting to fly.
So I managed to get to work, despite the huge, lichen-encrusted trees that had fallen and totally blocked the road. They took the power lines down with them when they fell, so camp was powered by generator for awhile. Phones were down and internet access is still intermittent.
I had to park at the bottom of the hill, where I was picked up by our facilities manager, who drove me as far as the downed trees. After a short walk through the woods and around the trees, our cabin leader advisor picked me up on the other side and drove me the rest of the way. There were sagging and snapped power lines all over the place. Fortunately they were no longer live. At camp the kids were oblivious to the fact that the only road out was blocked. The rain continued for most of the day, only letting up for a brief period in the afternoon while we were up in the chaparral. We found a bunch of critters, including a scorpion who pinched me (much better than getting stung) and a millipede who doused me with its iodine-based defense liquid. Saw some newts too. No big surprise there.
By nightfall the stars were out, and today its relatively sunny. I can't believe its March already.