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in front of you in line alphabetically since 2006

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

october photo show

So Jon and Abbey hosted a pumpkin carving night last week. They spread out a tarp on their living room floor, brought out all kinds of cutlery (including a genuine scalpel and the infamous Ginzu knife), plopped down a bowl for plopping in pumpkin seeds, and by the end of the evening we had filled their porch with jack-o-lanterns. Here's the full line-up:

Here's a close-up of the pumpkin eyeball and the "punk-a-lope"/roadkill pumpkin.

Here's two more, including the pumpkin monster on the left. Unfortunately you can't see the persimmon-laden branches for the arms in this photo.

And everybody's favorite, my sister's ninja pumpkin...and its unfortunate victim...

The only downside of this night is our unseasonably warm late-October weather, which had all of these pumpkin growing hair after only two days. We had to throw ours out last night, two nights before Halloween :-(

And this is a birdhouse in the pasture on the hill above the house where we're living these days.

And...I think it was last weekend...we went to a marching band competition in Loomis. Both of us used to be band geeks in high school, so this was especially fun for us. I marched in the Loomis band review four years straight. Our friends John and Laurie had invited us to watch with them, and my cousin Blayne (yes, the wasp in the hair cousin Blayne) was marching with my old high school band and our friends. On the whole it was more enjoyable this time around to be on the side of the street.

This is us after the band review. Looking oh so good.

But not quite as good as this guy. Does life get better than a drum major in full Scottish attire? I submit that it cannot.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

connotation and denotation

We went to the movies to see We Own The Night last night. It was a pretty good film, but the best line of the night goes to the twenty-something girl waiting in front of us in line to buy our tickets:

"Only one person on register? This is retarded."

Her description was spot on in both senses of the word.

Friday, October 12, 2007


We're having our first rainy fall week in Northern California. I agree with Beka---fall reminds me of the Czech Republic. I miss the thirty minute walk down the hill through the yellow-leaved trees in Sokolov, the heavy moisture in the air and the broken asphalt plastered with puddles. And I wish that I had walked through Stromovka in Prague this time last year, or better yet---visited Český Krumlov. Trooper backpacked through Český Krumlov last fall and showed me his pictures.

I only know it from these pictures, but autumn is Český Krumlov's best dress.

Fall has always been my favorite, but it has made me a bit homesick today.

On another nostalgic note, I read a review on Radio Praha of a new exhibition in Prague of a typical 1970's Communist era apartment in the big, gray concrete block houses (panelaky) that we came to know...and...sometimes have positive feelings for. Looking at the pictures in the review I was struck that the furniture, appliances and cabinets from the typical 1970's Communist era apartment looked like they'd been taken from Esmeralda, the apartment I lived in during my second year in Sokolov. Somehow this puts it into a bit more perspective.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

a few li'l updates

So, here's a few little li'l updates:

  • Chrissy's got a spiffy new job as an ESL teacher for adult students. She's really busy this week with orientations, meetings, paper work and the like, so I'll just give this blurb and maybe she'll give us more details later on. But we're really excited about this. Yay!
  • I'm now in my seventh week at Starbucks. It is by far the stickiest job I have ever worked, with the ridiculous exception of one week at Gleanings For The Hungry when I jumped into a huge vat of rotten peaches. Seriously, I feel like I have whipped cream all over my arms sometimes (well, not really). I found caramel sauce in my hair two weeks ago. Either this is place is a hurricane of sugar or I am a messy barista. Actually, I think it's both.
  • My mom is going to have open heart surgery by the end of the month. She seems to be the least worried out of everyone, but we would all rather just be on the other side of this.
  • So my World Series prediction is a complete bust as of two days ago. But who saw the Mets not making the playoffs? And the Angels---they're my A's rivals, but I hafta give respect to a great team. Here is my revised prediction: The Rockies will continue their incredible run and beat the Indians in six.
  • Condolences go to readers who are Cubs, Astros, Phillies and Angels fans. If your team isn't on this list, you never told me you liked them. If you're a Yankees fan, [insert disparaging remark that in no way communicates sympathy].
  • This video made me laugh out loud all alone in my room. Half of me hopes that it's real. The other half fears deep down that it is.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

disc golf and unwanted guests

Yesterday I went disc golfing with my cousin Blayne and brother-in-law Jon. I have not disc golfed for a long time---and I've never done it with all of the proper equipment, either---so today I woke up with a very sore right shoulder. It may as well have been my first time. It was Blayne's first time, too, and Jon was a great coach.

Blayne and I loved it. After the game we took the discs we had found on the course and threw them all over the yard, giggling and running to retrieve after each throw. We did this until sunset. We are hooked, I think.

The game was also memorable for how it ended. On the 11th pin, Jon and I were searching for lost discs in the bushes when Blayne yelled that something had just bitten him in the face. Probably a bee sting, we answered. You'll be okay. I don't see it anymore.

But then Blayne yelled and took off running up the hill. We still didn't see anything around him and thought he was being dramatic (do you know Blayne? he does things like this). From the top of the hill Blayne yelled that it was time to go home. This was fine by us. We were already close to the cars again. Blayne had me check what he said was a bump on his scalp, as if to prove that yes, he had suffered greatly. Do you feel it? he said, pointing to the place. He parted his thick hair, and (lo and behold) Jon and I saw that a wasp had gotten stuck in Blayne's hair. The lump Blayne felt was actually a very confused and angry wasp that was stinging him on the scalp again and again and again. Jon came to the rescue and successfully extracted this cootie-from-hell with a credit card.

Blayne really does have a lump on his head now. But he's fine (see "giggling and running" in paragraph two).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Boy or....Girl??

Something embarassing that keeps happening to me here in California as I sub is that I keep thinking girls are boys or vice versa. There's a new haircut-- well, new to me, maybe not so new in the pop-culture scene-- where guys and girls have the same haircut. This short bob with a fringe of bangs that's swept across their forehead. At first glance it's really hard for me to tell- boy or girl? Today was my 2nd time making this mistake! I called on a student and asked him to go sit by the "boy" across from him. Ooops. The class just errupted into all-out laughter. Thankfully, the uh, girl, took it pretty well. I still apologized to her later 'cause I felt like such an idiot. Let's all hope that I get better at detecting girl faces vs. boy faces.... since hair cuts just don't seem to help these days.
- Chrissy
Can you tell? Boy or girl?