Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Sunbeams, originally uploaded by Corbie.

I can imagine that people who weren't aware that an eclipse was happening might have been a little alarmed when the moon gradually turned to blood in the middle of the night last night. I, aware that an eclipse was scheduled, set my alarm and went out to watch it for awhile. Kind of eerie, actually - but eerie in a good way. Of course, I'm of the opinion that eerie is usually good. I shared the night with a garden spider who was busily making its web nearby, then went back to bed so I could get up a few hours later to help with the removal of kids from the house so they could go to their first day of school. Hard to believe that Sophie is in the first grade, Nate in third, and Alex in fifth. Willow had her first day yesterday. By most accounts the first day experiences were good, with only Nathan expressing the opinion that the kids in his class were, "annoying."

Yesterday was technically my first day of school too, and Jen's first day at the office. It seems though, that my financial aid forms are still floating around in the deep end of some bureaucratic swimming pool, preventing the final step of legitimacy from happening, and Jen is actually working at a cottage owned by her boss instead of the actual office. So.... almost!

My faculty adviser/contact person had arranged to meet with me this morning around the corner at the coffee shop. Of course, today of all days there was a handwritten note on the door stating that it wouldn't be opening until almost noon. We met at our house instead. She seems nice enough, but I'm definitely going to be working hard and sleeping little over the coming months. In addition to the assigned course work, I'm studying for the upcoming CSET test in early November. Right now I'm reading the social studies/history section in the big CSET study guide. It's sort of like relearning everything I was supposed to learn/learned but forgot in all of my classes from kindergarten through the eighth grade. It's actually more interesting than it sounds though. Just time consuming.

Over last weekend I didn't get much studying done because Jen's brother J finally married his girlfriend S in a lovely little ceremony up in the hills. Of course this meant that lots of out of town relatives were on hand too, including Jen and J's dad and stepmom, various uncles and cousins, friends, and lots of people whom I've never met. In other words, lots of restaurant dining and sitting around tables and talking. It was nice to see the far away relatives-in-law again, but I tend to get overwhelmed in crowds, I'm afraid - especially the rehearsal dinner with forty or so people all eating together. The wedding was a definite highpoint though. Jen and I even got to dance a bit. So did the kids, who all comported themselves with style (if not always grace) on the dance floor. They're already better dancers than I am.

The picture above is of the sun slicing through smoke from cooking food, over the unsuspecting heads of wedding guests.

That's it for now - posts may become more infrequent than usual as we all slip into our new routines around here. Next week is science camp set-up week (for which I might occasionally have to have at least Willow with me), followed by the beginning of the science camp school year, during which I'll be working as night host. We'll see how that goes...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Forked Tail

Forked Tail, originally uploaded by Corbie.

This is the forked tail of a Fence lizard, first spotted by a summer camp boy on a critter hunt at camp last Monday. Unlike, say, a two-headed snake, the lizard isn't born this way. If a lizard's tail breaks halfway off, a new tail starts to grow from the wound. In the picture here, the new tail is on the left. New tails are always less attractive than old ones. The lesson here is be careful with your tail. If you're not, you'll either end up with an ugly tail or, if you have the forked variety, attract unwanted attention from passing people.

Tomorrow starts the last week of summer camp. A lot of kids will already be in school by the end of the week. Jen is going to her new office for the first time on Monday, so I'm going to bring the boys to camp with me again while the girls go to a friend's house.

Summer camp has been going quite well. I've been leading a lot of critter hunts and pond saving expeditions. The snakes have started to make themselves scarce, with only a lone Gopher snake allowing itself to be found over the last two weeks. I did a couple of new activities over the last week though. One of them was a simple geography challenge. Every kid got a piece of paper and a pencil, and was instructed to write down as many countries as they could in a certain amount of time. At the end of it, most of them had written down somewhere between 15 and 35 countries. I got 89. One of the camp counselors got 121. That makes me smarter than 5th graders, but not, apparently, than high schoolers. Good to know, I guess... The other activity was labeled "elephant appreciation" and involved listening to the Thai Elephant Orchestra cd (music played by elephants on special elephant intruments), learning how to make convincing elephant trumpeting sounds, and finally, a question and answer session with yet another camp counselor, who just got back from Thailand where he had been working with elephants - perhaps some of the same elephants on the cd, since he recognized some of the backgrounds in the pictures gracing the cd booklet.

I continue to love the fact that we can do whatever we want at camp.

As for me, I got up at 5 AM yesterday and drove up to Santa Rosa (about 120 miles away) to attend an orientation for the teacher credentialing program I've enrolled in. It mostly involved the technological aspect of the program. This is important to know, since it's an online course, with only 4 or 5 mandatory "seminars" over the entire duration of the program. A lot of our work will involve online forums and submitting answers via e-mail. I came away being quite enthusiastic about the program, although I'll admit I'm a little worried about managing to fit all of this extra work in to an already tight schedule. Entries on this blog may become even more infrequent. We'll have to see how it goes...

On the way back, I crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco was uncharacteristically sunny, with sailboats dotting the bay. I stopped for dinner and cds before continuing home.

Monday, August 06, 2007


The five year anniversary of this site came and went while I was looking the other way. My first post here was on July 31, 2002, and was inspired by Jen starting a blog a couple of weeks earlier than that. Since then, it has become a habit, although I've slowed down a bit. I no longer try to post every day during the week - more like once or twice a week, if that. This is due largely to life getting in the way of writing about life. I used to sit down at the computer after coming home from my night job, when the house was quiet and I did my best thinking (or reflecting, at any rate). Due to the diurnal schedule I've kept for the last three years, I no longer have a guaranteed quiet time every day. Jen and I are both working full time now, so there's not a lot of time for slumping in front of the computer and trying to compose posts. That said, most of my posts are pretty stream-of-consciousness anyway. I've never agonized over the quality of what I type here. I just sort of blurt it out and hit "publish". Not that it matters. I'm not trying to win any writing awards here.

As always, this site has no real direction other than the one that I follow in life. It goes where I go. My schedule is likely to change again soon. I'm gearing up to earn my teaching credentials, and I'm going to try my hand at being the night supervisor at work - if they actually get around to hiring for it (the process is trapped in some sort of bureaucratic spider web at the moment, it seems). Right now though, I've just started the third-to-last week of summer camp, so for the time being life is still relatively the same.

I still have fun going back and reading early posts. Lots of things have changed over the past five years. I wonder what life will be like five years from now?

Oh, I've decided to start entitling posts. Just because.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Due to the near-daily reminders from Willow, we ended up at the "summer fair" this weekend (actually, the Santa Clara County fair). We arrived around mid-afternoon, with Willow and Sophie in tow and a hundred bucks in my pocket, and left several hours later with three dollars and some change. There have been a series of articles in the local paper about the imminent demise of the fair, which hasn't broken even in years, and in my opinion the coffin is being nailed shut by prices that border on extortion. It gives one the illusion of single-handedly helping the fair break even every time a soda or water is purchased, not to mention parking and entrance fees.
Still, the girls had fun until the money ran out, at which point Sophie had a fit. Willow, for her part, was saddened by the fact that she isn't quite 42 inches tall and therefore too short to experience the ferris wheel.
Both girls liked the pony rides, even though one of the "ponies" was very obviously a donkey. They also liked the trampoline/bungee cord thing that propelled jumpers high in the air. I liked the... I don't know... the indefinable feel of history one associates with octogenarian quilters and pens of farm animals. Not to mention the midway, with its small-town carnival feel.

I can see why people are fighting to keep the fair alive for another year, but I can also see why any such effort is doomed to failure.

On a somewhat unrelated note, while I was talking to a family after our summer camp's barbeque and skit program (talk about another old-timey americana holdover), a Great Horned Owl flew over us, probably about thirty feet up in the darkening sky. Although we were in shadow, the owl was high enough so that its underside glowed orange with the light of the setting sun. We went quiet as we watched it disappear into the distance.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

R.I.P. Michelangelo Antonioni. These things tend to happen in clusters of three. Who's next?