Saturday, February 20, 2010


DH & I just returned from B's school auction. Despite having moved here four years ago, this is the first time we've attended. We were very impressed by the organization, and the multitude of ways they've found to get more money out of the parents :-) We got off pretty lightly, mostly because we don't have enough $$$ to bid on the big-ticket items. In addition to the entrance price (which did include a tasty dinner and lots of wine), we purchased the following fixed-price items:
A set of note cards with B's self-portrait on them ($15). Yes, the school is selling us our own daughter's artwork.

A black & white 8x10 portrait of B ($65). A photographer shoots the kindergarteners and fifth-graders every year for the auction. Neither of our kids attended kindergarten here, but we also purchased M's fifth-grade portrait two years ago (without actually attending the auction). Now that we have two, I supposed I should probably get around to buying frames for them.

A ticket to the "Fifth Grade Girls' Farewell to G--------" party in June ($50). One of those things we wouldn't want her to miss, despite the price, since I'm pretty certain all of her friends will be there.

Some of the live auction items that would have interested us if we had the money:
Dinner & movie with B's teacher (sold for $1,500). (One of the other fifth-grade classes had two parents in a bidding war, and that one went for over $5,000!!!)
A week in a Florentine villa (sold for $3,200). We would have tried bidding on it if it had been available in July, since we're planning to be in Italy, but we couldn't have gone that high.

Since California's school-funding system is such a mess, parents in wealthy communities like ours have to dig into their pockets to pay for things like arts education, P.E. teachers, and librarians. And parents in non-wealthy communities just have to do without :-(

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Emily's New Bed

B decided last week that she wanted to spend her savings on a third American Girl doll (Emily), which led to a discussion of where the new one is going to sleep. Molly and Kirsten, the two dolls she already has, have beds set up in her closet, but there wasn't room on the floor for a third bed. We had already decided previously to put in a shelf so that the girls can have a second floor to their living quarters, so we came up with the idea of making a hammock for Emily.


It never ceases to amaze me what can be found on the Internet. I have some basic crochet skills, so I googled "doll hammock" and quickly found two different patterns. B liked this one better, so we went to the craft store to pick up yarn and a crochet hook. B was kind enough to pick out fat yarn, so the crocheting went very quickly. The wooden dowels took a little longer, and I didn't drill all the holes straight, but I don't think anyone will notice.


We still haven't hung the hammock yet, but it's going to go underneath the white shelf as soon as I get to the hardware store to buy some hardware. DH kindly put the shelf up for us yesterday, and B wants to go to the fabric store to get something to use as a carpet for the second story.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Gong xi fa cai, and Happy Valentine's Day!

DH did make to to DC on Thursday, and today he arrived home safely. I picked him up at the airport this afternoon, and discovered that he and I had bought each other identical boxes of chocolate (See's one-pound Nuts and Chews). Great minds think alike!

After the airport, we went to the Tech Museum in San Jose to see the Star Trek Exhibit. The kids have really gotten into Star Trek this year: we started the ball rolling last spring when we insisted they watch a few episodes of the original series before going to see the new movie. M has watched all of the original series now, and I don't think B is far behind. The exhibit was fun--we had our picture taken on a replica of the original bridge, although we declined to pay $28 for it at the end. They also had a transporter set up, and we watched ourselves disappear on the monitor. Lots of props and models, and a long timeline of happenings in the Star Trek universe. I hadn't realized before seeing the timeline that Star Trek: Enterprise (the one series we didn't watch) occurred BEFORE the original series in the timeline.

By the time we got through the exhibit, we were hungry and tired, so didn't stay to explore the rest of the museum, although it looked interesting. After some discussion, we agreed to have dinner at The Fish Market in San Mateo, since it was on the way home and we hadn't been to a branch for quite a while. (It used to be one of our favorite restaurants when we lived in San Diego.) The wait for a table was 45 minutes to an hour, but DH got us on the list upstairs at The Top of the Market, and we had a delicious seafood dinner in honor of the two holidays today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And You Thought This Was a Good Idea, Because...

Last night, I was sitting on my bed reading with B, when M came in and said, "Mom, I think this is the stupidest thing I've ever done." That certainly got my attention! He then showed me his thumb, with a staple neatly stuck into the ball. I guess I'm just not a natural-born blogger--it didn't occur to me that I should have taken a photo :-)

Fortunately, the staple wasn't very far in (just the tips), so I told him to pull it out, wash his hand with soap and water (yes, both soap AND water), put some antibiotic ointment on it, and then bandage it so he wouldn't leave bloodstains around the house. Being a teenager, he had to argue with me about the ointment, so I let it slide (I'm pretty certain he's up to date on his tetanus shots).

Of course, we had to know how he did it. He said that the stapler was jammed, so he tried to push the staple back in with his thumb. B was astounded that anyone would try that!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ripples in the Snow

The big snowstorm on the East Coast (a.k.a. Snowmageddon) is having its effect on our household in sunny California. DH was scheduled to leave tomorrow morning for a meeting at NIH. We got a call today informing him that the second leg of his flight (Chicago to DC) has been cancelled. They're still hoping to have the meeting later this week, but I'm not certain he's going to be able to get out there on Thursday, either. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. On the bright side of things, this means I don't have to get up at 6:00 am tomorrow to drive him to the BART station :-)