Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

We had a nice, quiet Halloween this year. This is our third Halloween at this house, and the last two years, we did not have a single trick-or-treater. We put B's lit jack-o-lantern on top of our mailbox, so it could be seen from the road. B insisted this year that we decorate for Halloween, so I bought a string of pumpkin lights and she draped them on the fence. We also added three little pumpkin leaf bags (stuffed with the results of last week's raking), plus she hung two homemade signs and a rubber snake on our front door.

Despite our lack of trick-or-treaters, I always buy candy (just in case!). It turned out to be a good thing, as we had 16 little kids show up at our door! (Fifteen came in a group, two of whom had already been by earlier.)

B went to her friend L's house, and they went out together. We told M to invite some of his friends, thinking we could drop off the mob on a street and wait for them. Most of his friends were not planning to trick-or-treat, but one came along, and his dad dropped the boys off. DH and I ended up sitting on the couch, watching a movie (Star Trek IV).

M originally wanted to go as a vending machine, but we talked him out of it (last year's port-a-potty costume was a pain to make and wear), so he went with a Jason mask and bloody machete from the Halloween store:

B and I had great fun with her Vulcan Starfleet officer costume:

The black mock turtleneck, black boots, and pointed ear tips were mine, and the black pants were hers. We only had to buy a blue sweater (I scoured all of Target looking for a T-shirt, but only found this sweater), make the insignia (aluminum foil glued onto card stock, outlined with a Sharpie), and do the makeup (eyebrows & ears).

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


On Sunday night, our doorbell rang. When I got to the door, I heard footsteps running away, and found a plastic pumpkin in front of our door, containing cookies, candy, apples, and some plastic toys. Also included was a poem telling us had been "booed," and giving us one day to pass it on.

It took us two days (we didn't get home last night until past B's bedtime), but after an emergency run to the grocery store, we've stocked our three pumpkins with Kit-Kats and homemade Rice Krispies treats:

After B gets home from ballet class tonight, we'll be hitting three of her classmates' houses down the street, plus leaving a small bag of treats at the original booer's house.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And On the Seventh Day, Mom Worked

Washed, dried, & folded five loads of laundry.
Did one load of dishes (kids put away previous load).
Raked front yard & driveway with B while M vacuumed inside.
Stuffed leaves into pumpkin-shaped leaf bags (B is really into decorating for holidays).
Off to the grocery store soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Exciting Commute

Just got home from picking up DH in Berkeley. He was planning to come home on BART, but when he arrived at the station, he found the entrance blocked by police. Several policemen with automatic weapons rushed down the escalator. Still no idea what happened.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And The Heavens Opened

Today's forecast was "a chance of showers." They didn't say anything about "a chance of a deluge, right when school lets out," which is what actually happened. No one had a raincoat today!

DH and I lucked out. We walked to our car after lunch to head home for the car swap (Monday evenings require both of us to have a car, but we share a carpool parking permit), and a minute after we got in, the downpour started. A quick dash into the house, and we were set for raincoats.

The carpool lines at both B's and M's school were incredibly long, and there were a lot of soggy kids standing outside. At M's school, the middle-school kids are generally too cool to worry about a bit of rain, but it was coming down hard enough that everyone took shelter while waiting for their carpools.

Local weather station says we received 0.81 inches of rain in slightly over an hour.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sometimes It Doesn't Pay to Plan Ahead

First Thanksgiving is a tradition at our kids' elementary school. Every year, the fifth graders get to dress up as Native Americans and Pilgrims, and spend a day at the nature center learning about the first Thanksgiving. They eat wild game, do crafts, play games, and have a good time learning history.

When M was in fifth grade two years ago, I remember scrambling to get his Native American costume done, along with B's Halloween costume (I convinced M that his Native American costume would have to do for Halloween, too). This year, B is determined to be a Vulcan for Halloween, not a Native American or Pilgrim, so I decided to be organized and get the Native American costume done in advance. In August, B and I went to the fabric store and got all of the materials needed for her costume, and I finished sewing it last month.

Yesterday, we received an e-mail from B's teacher, stating that there would be no costumes allowed this year. Apparently there was some sort of order issued by the district last year, in response to a complaint about the Native American costumes. I'm having trouble understanding why the costumes were a problem. Admittedly, they were mostly not authentic costumes, but the kids were learning about Native American culture, not making fun of it! And Native American costumes are widely available: I was at the temporary Halloween store yesterday (in search of Vulcan ears), and there was an entire rack of "Indian" costumes (including some pretty skimpy women's outfits).

So much for being organized. Anyone want a boy's Native American costume (men's one-size-fits-none taken in to size 10 Slim), a girl's Native American costume (also size 10), or a women's Pilgrim bonnet & collar?

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

DH and I have been tortoise raisers for quite a while now. Otto, our sulcata, is 16 years old now, and spends his summers roaming our back yard, and his winters in the garage. B wanted a tortoise of her own several years ago, so she saved up her birthday money and bought Ashlee (another sulcata) about four years ago. Ashlee has been a trouble-free, healthy tortoise, up until the past few weeks.

About two weeks ago, I picked up Ashlee to clean her cage, and noticed something hanging out of her rear end that wasn't supposed to be there. It looked serious enough that I called the local reptile vets, and made an appointment for the following day. DH and B took the tortoise in, and it was diagnosed as an intestinal prolapse. The only way to fix it is surgery, so DH called to see what I thought of the $475 quote. How much money are we willing to spend on our daughter's pet? A lot, it turns out. After subtracting a parasite test, but adding a calcium shot, the total turned out to be just under $400, and I got the fun job of giving Ashlee antibiotic injections over the next week. Chalk that one up to the cost of having pets--stuff like that happens, so you just have to deal with it.

We went out last week and bought a new cage for her, since it would be easier to install the sun lamp and keep the heat constant in an enclosed cage. Total for cage and lamps was around $250.

So, this morning, I was sitting in the kitchen finishing my breakfast, when I heard a thump from the living room. I got up to investigate, and discovered that Ashlee had somehow managed to SLIDE THE GLASS DOOR OPEN, climb out, and fall three feet to the floor. Aaargh--do I call the vet? She looks fine--no shell damage, all four limbs appear normal. She's taking a nap now, which worries me slightly, but on the other hand it's a perfectly normal thing for her to do in the middle of the day.