Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I got the introductory package from my new health care provider yesterday. It arrived in a box - you know, the kind with the perforated triangle that instructs you: TO OPEN: PUSH DOWN PULL UP.

I followed the directions and got a paper cut.

The irony is not lost on me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I took the girls to a birthday party at a jumphouse place in Sunnyvale yesterday, where they had inordinate amounts of fun launching themselves down inflatable slides and propelling themselves ceilingward from rubbery surfaces. There was also cake and balloon animals. Unfortunately, as we were leaving, Willow's balloon animal, attached to a helium balloon, made a break for it. It was last seen drifting north over the rooftops.

Since the rooftops belonged to apartment buildings that I used to deliver the Wall St. Journal to, I figured I'd try to distract Willow from her loss by showing her where I used to work, which just happened to be right around the corner (actually, more correctly, where I used to pick up newspapers so I could then go work). On the way there, we passed a trailer park called Willow Estates, which excited the girls. I also couldn't help noticing all of the new apartment complexes and condominiums that have sprung up like strange fungal growths (although much less useful than fungus) in the years since I stopped delivering papers. My one thought, as I peered up through the rain-spattered windows at all of the new buildings, was I'm really, really glad that I'm not still delivering papers around here. I'm sure all of these new buildings would have added hours to my route, not to mention the fact that they're damn ugly. In fact, Sunnyvale is damn ugly. The founders only named it "Sunnyvale" because nobody would want to live in a city called "damnuglyvale".

Anyway, we passed my old drop site, and then hit the road for home. Willow was still upset. Later, I bought her a small stuffed animal to make up for the lost balloon one. This made Sophie upset. You can't win.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Planning A Trick?

Planning A Trick?, originally uploaded by Corbie.

There has been a Coyote hanging around camp for a few weeks now. I even used that fact to help a homesick boy feel better after he told me he'd seen one during field class - I told him that they are trickster spirits in the legends of many Native American tribes, and that seeing one means that you'll have an exciting week. He kind of half bought it, but left the camp office feeling better. Later in the week, his teacher told me that he'd confided in her that he wished he could be homesick again so he could come hang out with me. That's high praise.

Anyway, the morning after I'd talked to him, I saw the Coyote too, just hanging out in the road near camp. I followed it and took a few pictures, wishing all along that my zoom lens was better. My camera is great for macro shots, but the quality diminishes rapidly as objects become more distant.

It's raining outside right now, as it has been for most of the week. The nights have been cold enough that a dusting of snow briefly blanketed the higher elevations, temporarily causing the closure of the main freeway access to the coast. This no doubt was a wise precaution, since Californians don't know how to drive in the snow. Of course, Californians don't know how to drive in the rain either... or in the fog... or, come to think of it, in any other sort of condition.

Willow went to the eye doctor today. They recommended glasses for her, saying that it wasn't absolutely necessary, but might be a good idea. Willow liked the glasses she tried on.

Friday, January 18, 2008

This week I spent a fair amount of time functioning as a nocturnal therapist for troubled children - there was a boy who spent a couple of hours in the rocking chair in the staff room, comforting himself with repetitive movement, there was the girl with general anxiety problems who just needed somebody to listen to her... this all lead to me getting less sleep than usual, but I was glad I could help in some small way.

Soon, I'm going to be working in a real classroom with one of my old co-workers. I'm looking forward to it. The school is the one Alex went to for kindergarten.

We had the chimney man come and look at our fireplace, and he deemed it clean enough to light fires in. We haven't had a fire since 2002, because that last fire filled the house with smoke. In other words, it has taken us nearly 6 years to have the chimney inspected. Apparently, the problem was most likely caused by either too many logs or improper placement of said logs. The only thing the chimney sweep actually did to improve things was to put a new ember guard on top of the chimney. Now it's up to code, apparently. Oh, he also gave me his number in case I ever want to get any more tattoos, since that's what he "really" does. Reminds me of a Simpsons episode.

Currently listening to (appropriately enough): Anxiety "Bleak"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Reports of the DVD player's death have been premature. It lives.

Monday, January 14, 2008

This just in: the kids have apparently killed another DVD player.
The first work week of the year went by so fast that it didn't even register. When it's a four day week at camp for the kids, like it was last week, it's a three night work week for me. Still, in those three nights, I was visited by 7 homesick kids (some of them all three nights, although I suspect these particular girls just liked staying up late and talking), and one boy who couldn't stop puking. At least every time he puked he managed to do it outside or into a wastebasket, which means I didn't have to deal with any vomit-coated bedding. At least Mr. Puker went home before he could continue painting our camp with the contents of his stomach.

The rain was fun as well, especially since I no longer have to teach class while standing in it. This year, the obligatory large tree down in the road happened over the weekend, so there was no problem getting to and from camp. All I really had to worry about is the power going out. It didn't.

I started the next four-month school term too. I'm trying to arrange to teach some lessons in a more traditional classroom setting this term, but nothing is finalized yet. I foresee very little sleep in my immediate future.

Over the weekend, we went to a birthday party for one of Willow's friends, which included Thai food for the adults. Now, all of a sudden, the weekend is over. Sometimes I feel like I live life in a daze. At least sometimes the daze lifts enough to admit Thai food.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A storm blew through and tossed around anything it could gather up. The kids and I went out to play in it. Umbrellas turned inside out. Willow got scared, but got over it. The boys attempted to hire out their services as yard cleaners, and in one case were successful. Water and mud were tracked inside. A couple of days after the fact, it is still raining, and will supposedly continue to do so for a few more days. This is good.

My old friend Devon visited yesterday. We, along with Willow, hung out all afternoon, going record shopping, eating falafel sandwiches (fries and a milkshake for Willow), and basically catching up. It was a good way to start out the year.

Tomorrow, the kids and I go back to school. Two days from now, I go back to work. No more sleeping in. Willow, who slept until 10 this morning like the rest of us, is going to have a hard time going to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Blob, originally uploaded by Corbie.

We spent New Year's Eve watching Charade and, like the last time we watched this, it put me in the mood for watching more old movies. I was reminded that there was a time when mainstream movies depended on actual plots and witty dialogue, not just special effects.

Coincidentally enough, the only 2008 calendar in the house at the moment is the one pictured here. It features monster movie posters from around half a century ago - back when special effects weren't so special yet. Of course, in those days the special effects were physical, rather than pixel, and the people involved did the best they could with what they had. Still, the art on the posters often surpassed what was portrayed in the films themselves. Because of this, it is still a joy to look at old movie posters, if not always a joy to watch the films themselves. This may seem to contradict the first paragraph here, but remember, I'm talking about two different genres. It seems that nowadays, no matter what the genre, things have become less nuanced, less clever, and, despite the fantastic special effects, more mundane. Admittedly, and fortunately, there continue to be exceptions to this.

It makes me wonder what film will be like in another fifty years.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The more something is repeated, the less meaningful it becomes - at least sometimes. At the risk of sounding meaningless, Happy New Year to everybody (all three or four of you) who reads this site.