Archive for May, 2004

Getting bigger

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

Well the weekend’s been a bit of a washout, gardening-wise, due to lots and lots and lots of rain. We did have some sun on Saturday afternoon so Em and I did tons of uprooting of things which we think will probably re-grow but at least it was good exercise. Way too stormy today to do anything much, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow – the forecast is for more rain.

So today Toby and I went to the computer store and got a rather nice Epson photo printer which was on a good deal, and recommended by Paul. I’ve just finished installing it, but of course needed some new pics to print on it, so I got involved in uploading new ones, captioning them etc, and it seemed churlish after all that not to give the Toby fans some new shots. Hope you like them. I also finally got around to changing the order of pictures on his home page but now it’s clearly an alignment mess so I need to invest a couple of minutes in building a table. One day…

landscape

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Finally, it’s Memorial Day weekend coming up, and we have Monday off. The stretch from New Year to now always feels really long, especially for a Brit like me who is used to getting time off over Easter (Britain being a regular God-fearing country rather than a puritanical work-obsessed God-fearing country). So we have some plans for the weekend, some of which we might actually achieve. The biggest thing probably is to get the front garden in some sort of order. We (mainly Emma) have done a nice job on our little side garden, and it now has a lovely little patio and some flowers, and isn’t going to take much work to finish. The front is a different matter though – when we moved into the house the neighbors told us that before it was on the market you couldn’t see that the house had a porch – the porch in fact wraps around the front and side of the building so the plants basically obscured the whole first (ground if you’re a limey) floor. To add to the trauma, our neighbors across the road do a wonderful job on their garden and I can just tell that they’re looking plerplexedly at us every time they leave the house.

Last summer after a season battling unsuccessfully with these out-of-control monster plants, we paid one of Emma’s friends from work to rip everything out, and that was quite successful. However a lot of weeds and creeper plants are starting to sprout through, so we need to take decisive action this weekend. The plan is to spend a chunk of Saturday ripping things up, maybe using some chemicals on the more persevering plants, and getting rid of some of the old over-chunky mulch. Then on Sunday after we’ve finished doing more weeding and digging we’ll probably do a bit of planting – we need to get some good ground cover plants – and on Monday put down a ton more of new finer mulch to make it look a bit nicer and to inhibit new weeds. That’s the plan anyway, I hope it’s going to work.

out of the shadows

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Yesterday Al Gore hit the news with quite a diatribe against the current Administration and their policies. I think that his calls for Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz and other senior officials to resign are just wishful thinking, but it’s a well-crafted speech with a lot of historical background and it’s worth taking a few minutes to read.

Also you may enjoy this list of questions for the people who still support Bush. (both links from pharyngula

ad links

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

I don’t know if it was Google who started marketing this, but many news sites these days have custom ad links attached – our local paper and also CNN. So I was reading on the latter site about a Muslim cleric being arrested in London for possible extradition to the U.S. and noticed in their ad links a few legal advice websites: one headed “Legal advice for any situation”, and another for the site www.andjustice4all.us. Kind of ironic, really.

hope it was attached

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Yesterday I was sadly not amazed to hear El Prez refer to General Sanchez as having served his country in an “exemplerary” fashion. NPR played the quote several times so I did have the chance to confirm my suspicions. But it’s nowhere near as bad as saying this.

local man

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

When we left the house this morning we noticed that there were a bunch of police cars just a block and a bit along the road from us, with the road all yellow-taped-off. We assumed that maybe there had been a small car accident but I just read that a man had been arrested there – he’d been screaming and punching cars (described in the paper as “irrational behavior”) and more worryingly had punched a woman as she walked by. The cops got several 911 calls and picked the guy up but he apparently lost consciousness and died shortly afterwards. The initial report was that he had not been restrained but there will hopefully be an update later today. We of course didn’t hear a thing – we’re so observant.

graduation

Monday, May 24th, 2004

Emma and I had our first parent/teacher conference this morning, as Toby is graduating from infants to toddlers at daycare at the end of this week. Feels like quite a big deal! We went over how he’s doing, his readiness for toddlers and what will be different for him from next week onwards.

The teacher, Raya, said that he’s doing fine at eating with a spoon, drinking from a lidless cup (he needs a bit of supervision but she says they pick it up really quickly) and sitting in a regular chair for eating, he’s also good at getting to sleep and having good long naps, and he’s great at running about and being interactive. A couple of things made me really proud: she says he’s the best communicator in his class, both in speaking (she said she couldn’t list all of his words because he has so many) and in understanding and acting on what the teachers say; and she also said that he’s very affectionate and interactive – she says he’s a really good hugger and she’ll miss that. She also said that he’ll sometimes initiate play with the other kids which is kind of cool. He maybe gets that from home, where he’s really good at starting games with Scout.

His new classes will be a lot more structured timewise and playwise – they have very defined times for being in the gym or outside and mealtimes and naps. For meals they all sit at round tables on little chairs, quite different from being up in a highchair, and for naps they go through to the gym hall and sleep on low camp-beds rather than being in cribs. They also have weekly themed projects to do, and will introduce many more communication signs which should be interesting – as well as speaking quite well he’s recently gotten the hang of most of the signs they use at daycare and it’s very helpful for us to know when he’d like more to eat or when he’s done. I think he really feels good about letting us know too. They’ve been really good at easing him into the new environment – he’s been in toddler class for a couple of hours each day for the last couple of weeks, so it won’t be a big shock to his system to move next week. I’m expecting him to be quite wiped out each day being in with the big kids.

So we’re feeling a little emotional about our wee boy growing up a bit more, but also we’re very excited for him to have these new challenges and opportunities for learning and fun.

gmail

Thursday, May 20th, 2004

if you’ve been paying close attention you’ll know that I’ve been using a gmail account for a few weeks now, and on the whole I’m very happy with it. It was a bit spammy at first but seems to be improving, and is certainly no worse than my hotmail. I definitely prefer the UI, the label views and the fact that it stores all my sent messages, which has helped me out several times a week.

As part of the deal I had two invitations to send to people so they could start their own beta test of gmail. One went to my friend Rick at work; the other went to my friend Richard back in the UK. However he seems to have poo-pooed the system. I bet if he’d known that these invitations were so coveted he may not have been so quick to dismiss it.

supersized

Wednesday, May 19th, 2004

Emma suggested this toy for Toby, as it has a number of benefits:

1) We live just four blocks from a McDonald’s, so this would save us having to actually go there

2) It would give Toby a work ethic

3) It’s kind of the business Toby’s Opa is in, and I’m sure it would make him very proud

4) With the exception of Emma’s sister who worked at KFC and loves their stuff, the usual thing for people who work in a fast food restaurant is that they’d never ever want to eat there again, so this could be a good pre-emptive move on our part. We have actually tried Toby with McDonald’s once before, which I felt incredibly guilty about, and fortunately he turned his nose up at it.

it gets worse

Monday, May 17th, 2004

Yet another piece of analysis which concludes: it’s hard to know which is worse – a president who made these appalling decisions, or a president who was so out of touch that his lackeys could make such appalling decisions without his knowledge.