18 December 2009

Back from the dead?

I haven't posted here for months and months. One thing I did in that time was write a novel during NaNoWriMo. And I self-published it so now you can buy it at Amazon or CreateSpace. All my royalties go to Doctors without Borders.

10 August 2009


Thanks for the comments on my new tattoo! :-) I'm very happy with it.

We're back home now.

See this little guy? He (she?) has decided that this particular spot on the tomato cage is where he wants to spend most of his day. He periodically flits over to snack on the California fuschia you can see in the background, but then he always flies back, and he perches there a long time. Sometimes another hummer comes along and dive-bombs him, bu he chases it off. It's nifty because he either can't see us through the window or doesn't care, so I can get within about 3 feet of him. I love hummingbirds.
Not sure what variety this is. Possibly a female or juvenile Anna's humminbird. or possibly not. :-)

27 July 2009

Still Alive!

We're on vacation. Spent last week in Vancouver (which we liked a lot) and this week is in Portland. The kids and Spike came with us, and today I got a new tattoo. :-)

10 July 2009


Thing1 flew all by herself to Oregon, for visits with relatives and then camp. See how grown-up she looks, in this pic I took at the airport?

Meanwhile, T2 celebrated Crazy Hair Day at school.

I am stuck with book revisions and emergency budget meetings. Bleh!!

30 June 2009

I'm alive!

Okay, so I haven't posted in a really really long time. Not too much exciting going on here, really. But Thing 2 is now somewhere in the middle of the 4th Harry Potter book, which is pretty impressive for a kid who hasn't yet started 1st grade. Here she is posing with the book and no teeth.

Thing 2 is finishing up the series for the second time. She's off to camp on Saturday, where she'll be for 3 weeks. It's going to be very quiet around here.

Here's T1 and Spike enjoying lunch at Red Lobster to celebrate a good report card (for T1, that is. Spike didn't get one). T1 has a thing for eating shrimp.

25 May 2009

Student Video

Want to see a video some of the students in my Hate Crimes class made? Here it is. They did a nice job. There's even a blooper reel at the end.

14 May 2009

Last night was the last ceramics class until fall. I had two things to bring home. A spider tile:
I like it because I actually drew the spider, which is the limit of my drawing ability. And a sun:
Four of the rays had fallen off by the time it was bisque fired. So I glazed them separately, knowing I could glue them on later. And even though I used the same glaze on everything, as you can see, 3 of the rays turned out a totally different color. I guess they were in different spot in the kiln. In any case, I really like the the end result anyway, so it was a happy accident.
I plan to sign up again in the fall.

11 May 2009


Thing 2 is very happy with the cherry tomato plant she planted in the Topsy Turvy thing. At least it'll give the snails a challenge to find it.

07 May 2009

Ceramics FOs

Haven't had any pottery things to show in a while, so here's an odd little collection of ceramics projects. First there's this happy little guy. I'd meant him as a wall hanging, and he has holes in his head for nails, but he actually turned out to be a good size and shape ro become a cheese plate. But maybe I'm the only one who'd like to eat cheese off a skull:

I was thinking knitting needle holder when I made this, though it could be a vase, too. I think it looks kinda like a tree stump:

Here they are together, for scale:

Finally, I made a bowl I really like, but I can't seem to get a decent picture of it:

03 May 2009

Ahoy, mateys!

Got the roof graphic for Mick and Hubby installed it last night. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are pictures:

I think it's safe to say I have the only car like this in town. :-)

28 April 2009

Yet another note from T2

My Mom recently visited, and was discussing some distant cousins with the Things. I think that's what prompted this sweet note Thing 2 wrote today.

Dear cusens:
Wat is your names? I wont to play with you. Can you have a play dat with
me? How old ar you? Wat is your favrit color? My name is [T2] I am six years
old. I have a sister named [T1]. Wate grad are you in? My favret couler is

My kids don't actually have any first cousins, and no relatives at all close enough for a play date. :-(

26 April 2009

Strawberry Pie!

This weekend we were gifted with a half flat of strawberries from the berry stand down the road. Several of us are berry fans, but even we can't eat that much, so tonight Thing 1 and I made strawberry pie. This is a recipe I got at a berry farm in Oregon in 1987. I know the year because it has the date on the recipe itself. It's a delicious pie, a fave of mine and Hubby's, but I hadn't made it for years. I forgot how good it is! T1 has announced it's the most delicious food in the world. T2 will have a taste tomorrow. Strawberry pie for breakfast?

Lolich's Fresh Strawberry Pie
1 baked 9" pie shell cooled
1 3-oz. package of cream cheese
1 quart fresh strawberries
3/4 C sugar
1 C whipping cream
2 Tbs corn starch
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Blend cream cheese and 3 Tbs cream until smooth. Spread over baked pie shell. Wash and hull the berries. Set aside half (the prettier ones). Puree the rest of the berries with the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Cook the mixture in microwave on high for 6 min.s, turning and stirring twice, until mixture is thick and transparent. Pour 1/2 of puree over cream cheese mixture. Slice remaining berries in half and arrange in shell. Pour remaining puree over berries. Whip cream; add 1/2 tsp sugar. Top pie with whipped cream and chill. Gobble.

PS--The pink and blue spots in T1's mouth are fillings. Yes, they come in colors. Yes, we made sure she brushed her teeth well tonight!

23 April 2009


I've bought and read all 7 Harry Potter books, and about 2 years ago I parked the set in Thing 1's bookshelf and gently urged her to read them. I knew she'd like them. Well, she's just recently decided to listen, and has zoomed through to the 4th book in about 3 weeks. And the other day she asked me if I had any recommendations for her after she finished the series. That was very satisfying.

Even more satisfying, this morning I discovered the first HP book propped open in Thing 2's room. She told me her sister had let her borrow it. I asked T2 if the book was too hard for her (she's 6 and in kindergarten, after all) and she said no and proceeded to retell the plot thus far. Cool.

I can't tell you how pleased I am to have bred bookworms. :-)

20 April 2009


These results don't surprise me a bit. I'm too libertarian to be a Commie, I guess, so what does that make me?

My Political Views
I am a left social libertarian
Left: 7.08, Libertarian: 6.28

Political Spectrum Quiz

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -7.14

Political Spectrum Quiz

My Culture War Stance
Score: -9.64

Political Spectrum Quiz

17 April 2009

Water Rescue

It's Spring Break. My Mom's visiting, and today Hubby took the day off, too, so we went for a picnic at Yosemite Lake. Spike went too, and when he actually fell in the lake, Thing 1 had to mount a rescue operation:

Apparently, vampires don't float. Fortunately, they don't have to breathe, either, and the rescue was successful.

Thing 1, Vampire Rescuer.

09 April 2009

Momentarily Sorta Cool

I'm in LA for a couple days for a meeting. Drove down in Mick the Mini, listening to my new iPod Nano, so I didn't mind the drive at all. I picked up a colleague 100 miles down the road, so I had company 2/3 of the way, too. Even people in LA think my car is cool. They let me in when I have to change lanes, in a way they rarely do when I'm in my SUV. And two young guys driving a Mini with the exact same color scheme flashed me smiles and peace signs as I passed them.

08 April 2009

Video to watch

Someone sent me a link to this YouTube video:


It's at the central station in Antwepr, and it's really great. Nothing like this ever happens here.

02 April 2009

Grading is Fun

I was grading essays this morning while my students were taking an exam. As I got to one particular essay on the history of policing in the American south, I had to stifle a fit of the giggles. Here's the sentence that set me off:

They would also patrol for African American semen that came from the North;
the semen would have to stay on the boat and were not allowed to walk on the


01 April 2009

Happy Day

Today was a very good day. I finished one major project at work and one moderate one, got good feedback on a project I finished a couple weeks ago, solved a student's thorny problem, and had a meeting that went very well. And when I returned to my office from the meeting, I discovered a former student had left a box of See's chocolates in my mailbox as a thank you for writing her a letter of recommendation. Let me tell you, of all the things I could find in my mailbox, it's hard to think of anything that would be nicer. :-)

And tonight I had ceramics class and made a big bowl and a spider tile.

28 March 2009

Another note

I have the latest note from Thing2 to share. She wrote this Wednesday evening, when I was at ceramics class. She's supposed to be tucked into bed by the time I get home, and I think Hubby's been threatening her with my wrath if she isn't:

Dear Dad:
I wont to stay up lat. Asck Mom if she found me stayying up lat would she
be angy or happy. Is she ses she wold be angry, tell me thet she would be angry.
And if she sais she would be happy, tell me she wold be happy.
From: [Thing2]
To: Daddy

Obviously, I'm ecstatic when she stays up lat.

T2 had yet another birthday party to attend today, this one also 45 minutes away. But I didn't mind, actually, because it was at a park, and it was 78 degrees out with a tiny breeze, and I got to sit at a picnic bench and do some work on my laptop for 2 hours in perfect weather. The drive was down a bunch of country roads, and that's fun in my Mini. And all the cows and horses and goats have babies now, which is fun, too. We saw a big bunny, too. Plus, somebody we drove by keeps 3 camels (Bactrians--2 humps!) in a corral by the side of the road. I have no idea why.

26 March 2009

Ceramics things

Here are two things I recently made in ceramics class. The back one is a round box with a swirly top. The other is...I dunno. A pencil cup? I was experimenting with textures and glazing. I actually quite like it, even if I'm not sure what it is. Spike, however, seems skeptical.

24 March 2009

Here I am

Contrary to appearances, I have not disappeared off the face of the Earth. This has been the spring semester from hell, and I'm going to be so happy when June rolls around. We just planned out big family vacation for the summer. While the kids are at camp, Hubby and I will visit Vancouver and Victoria. Because although I've been to places like Warsaw and Zagreb and Bratislava, I've never been to Canada. And that's weird. Then we'll all have time to visit with the family in Portland. Yay!

I had a birthday last week. Got some great loot. Hubby gave me an espresso machine, which I'm very excited about, but haven't had time to learn to use. I could use intense caffeine. Thing 1 gave me her favorite book and coupons for things like cruises and a trip to Disneyworld. :-)

Thing 2 has had 5 birthday parties to attend in 7 weeks. Social butterfly kid. And they're all in the town where her kindergarten is, 45 minutes away.

The building next to my office has sort of a zig-zag roof. Today a pair of mallards kept flapping to the top of each peak, then sliding down the other side on their ducky butts. It was vastly entertaining to watch.

I haven't knitted in ages. I do have a couple new pottery pieces; I'll post pics soon.

07 March 2009

Hi there

I've been kind of MIA, haven't I? Too much life happening, I guess. I had several days worth of meetings in Washington state, and now I'm totally buried in work. But it's spring outside today, and I thought I'd share this pic. Thing 2 is showing off her brand new haircut and the freakishly huge orange we just picked. All the other fruits on that tree are normal-sized. Very strange.

21 February 2009


I found this note outside my bedroom door this afternoon:

Dear Mom and Dad. Ples. Let me and [Thing 1] do wat ever we want. Pleas! If you
do I will give you geys hugs and kissis evry day and evry niht. From [Thing 2]
to Mom and Dad. And buy the way look on yuor bed now! And I men it!

She'd wrapped up a toy treasure chest in a kleenex and left it on our bed.
So, is this a good deal? We let her do what ever she wants and we get hugs and kisses every day and night. Incidentally, this is the same child who just this afternoon had a birthday party, attended by 15 kids, at the gymnastics place. Deprived kid.

12 February 2009

Today We Are Six

Today was Thing2's sixth birthday. And because she'd asked for it repeatedly and her parents went temporarily insane, this is what we got her:

When I bought it, the lady at the store said, "Oh, this must be for someone else's kid." Sigh. But she was very happy with it and she and T1 and the neighbor kids spent a good portion of the afternoon outside, creating an impromptu marching band.

02 February 2009

San Francisco treats

I love San Francisco. Seriously, it's one of my favorite places in the world, and I feel incredibly lucky to live less than 2 hours away.

This weekend, I took Thing2 for a little trip to the city. We watched the ferries and visited Yerba Buena Gardens and rode the F-line streetcar (not the cable car--hate the lines for those things) and had ice cream for dinner at Ghirardelli:

And we spent the night at our timeshare and had a big breakfast and drove back early, before traffic got awful and it would have taken closer to 4 hours than 2 to get home.
I like SF because it's beautiful and unique, but also because it's really quirky. There are always strange surprises, like the time I was walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon near Union Square behind a person dressed in an elephant costume and another person dressed in Elizabethan costume. Or the time there were dozens of men, all dressed in white wedding dresses, one of whom was making out with a woman (who was not in a wedding dress) while waiting to cross the street. Or the streetcar driver who was in a rush and told us to hurry, hurry to get onboard, and then wouldn't let us pay. This visit, I was waiting to cross the street opposite our timeshare when I happened to glance in the trash, and this is what I saw:

You may have to enlarge the picture (ha ha! Enlarge!) to get the full effect (snicker!). I'm so glad I had my camera handy.
I want to know the story behind this trash. Why did someone feel the need to open this item on the street? Why was the person in such a hurry that they tore the box? Was the discarded shoe theirs, too?
Oh, I love San Francisco.

26 January 2009

Legal Amusement

Today the U.S. Supreme Court decided an immunity case involving a plaintiff who was convicted under the false testimony of a jailhouse informant. The informant's name was Fink.

Just thought you ought to know that. :-)

The case, for those legally inclined, is Van v. Goldstein.

23 January 2009


One of my tasks as department chair is to read the teaching evaluations of the faculty in my department. They're often pretty amusing, and today I came across one that's a new favorite:
Professor X is very organized, but only in his head.

Ha ha!
One year, when I was pregnant with Thing 1, an entire class of mine conspired, and every one of them wrote:
She's a great professor. Give her a raise because she needs more money to buy

My number one choice of all time, though, is a comment a student in my Psychology of Criminal Behavior class once wrote:
It's an interesting course, but there's too much psychology.

20 January 2009

Toothless Annie

Looks like the Tooth Fairy will pay us another visit tonight. Mommy the Dentist pried this one out with an ice chip. Oh, and don't blame me for the terrible bangs--those were self-inflicted.

19 January 2009

Home again

I'm back home. :-) I can definitely recommend the Sofitel at Terminal 5 at Heathrow. There was a tv in the bathroom. I got to watch a documentary on Robert the Bruce on BBC-2 while I took a bath. :-) My flight home was great because the plane was only about 2/3 full and I had empty seats around me. That certainly makes all the difference in a 10 hour flight.

My camera decided that Polish winter weather doesn't agree with it, and a lot of my pictures turned out like this, or worse:

Oh well. At least some did turn out. Here's the mermaid statue in Old Town in Warsaw:

Old Town isn't really old, because it was completely demolished during the war. They rebuilt it to look like the original, though, and it's very pretty. And here's the main square in Cracow:

Cracow wasn't as badly damaged, so the square, one of the largest in Europe, is authentic. That pretty building on the right sits dead center, so this pic shows only half of the square. We had a wonderful dinner on the square at a place that's been a restaurant since the 1790's.
This is a pretty town I saw from the train. I have no idea what it's called:

And this is Nowa Huta, which is just outside Cracow, and which we visited with the Crazy Communism tour:

It was built by the Communists as a steel mill town, and intended as a centerpiece of Communism. It ended up becoming the site of protests and an active location for the Solidarity movement. The square to the left is Ronald Reagan Square. Really:

Here's the view from my friend's apartment in Warsaw:

It's a great place in a perfect location. Thanks for letting me stay with you, Agnes! :-)
And finally, a sad picture:

This wall is outside a 17th century synagogue in Cracow. Another part of the wall had graffiti which said (in German, interestingly) "Jews out of Palestine." Some things never change.

17 January 2009

I've left Poland and travelled westward--I'm now all cozied up in my hotel in London. Tomorrow morning I head home. Yesterday I was sick and didn't do anything, which is disappointing, but at least I feel better today! And I had a great time the rest of my time there. It was snowing this morning, which of course is no big deal to Poles, but was a bit of a treat to me. I like snow I can visit for a while. :-)

15 January 2009

Back in Warsaw

Cracow was great. We toured the old Jewish quarter, took the Crazy Communist tour, drank vodka, saw a da Vinci that I like better than Mona Lisa, and ate very well. And the train ride from Warsaw to Cracow, about 3 hours, is quite nice, too. They have really wonderful drinking chocolate here. I will be forever spoiled. I can say a couple words in Polish--at least enough to order tea. But when the train conductor came around and asked us to close the window in the overheated car (I think that's what he wanted, anyway), I was ignorantly monoligual enough for him to give up and go away. Overall, most Poles seem to speak at least a little English, and they're very tolerant of those of us who don't speak Polish.

12 January 2009


I love my clapotis scarf. Perfect for walking around Warsaw in January. :-) And I like Warsaw a lot. Today I ate potato pancakes and bliny and I learned to say thank you, and I gave a lecture to my friend's students. And I bought a Polish punk CD, by a band named Dezerter. It was sunny and maybe 30-ish outside today. Right now at 11pm it's 9 degrees.

11 January 2009

Just a quick post from chilly Warsaw. Heathrow is not my favorite airport today, but I made it. Haven't seen much yet, but I like it so far. And we decided to spend a night or two in Krakow this week, too! :-)

09 January 2009


I'm off to Warsaw tomorrow. Think warm thoughts for me! :-)

06 January 2009

Furgood Marshall

Sad post today. This morning I had to send Furgie the cat to the Bridge. She would have been 20 (!) in March. She'd been doing quite well, but over the weekend she had an abrupt decline. Do cats get strokes? She was very confused and unhappy and not eating. And this is the first time in nearly two decades she didn't want to eat, so I knew it was time. She went very quickly and peacefully.
Furg's full name was Furgood Marshall; like my other pets, she was named after a Supreme Court Justice. She was born sometime in March in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I adopted her from the humane society there in March 1989. She was older than some of my students. She was a smart cat who learned to open our French doors and loved to play fetch with plastic milk rings. She put up with 3 huge dogs and 2 unruly children.

05 January 2009

02 January 2009

Science Friday

We took the Things to Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley today. We met up with some friends there, too. A fun time was had by all. Here's the Things with Zee and Zee's Dad, Hu:

Thing 2 helped build an archway. Or supervised, anyway:

And Thing 1 learned about tectonic plates while holding a paper airplane:

And this is the view, once the fog cleared. You can see SF, the Golden Gate, and a good part of the Bay from up there:

01 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!

Had a quiet night last night. Hubby went to his friend's house for a poker game, Thing 2 turned in early, and T1 and I stayed up and watched the Twilight Zone marathon.

I'm leaving for Warsaw in a little over a week. I'm pretty excited about it! Have to dig up some of my warmest clothes, though.

Anyone know any good recipes for lemons? I have a good crop of Meyers this year. If you've never tried them, they're much better than the Eurekas you get in the store. Bigger and sweeter, with a bit of a floral taste to them, almost. Last year I made a nummy lemon custard cake, the year before that I mixed up some limoncello. Need ideas for this year!