Martha's baby shower



Seems like only last year we were having a wedding shower for Martha. Oh, hey, wait, it was only last year! Boy, they sure didn't wait long, did they? Today, Katie hosted a baby shower for Martha. This shower, however, we let the boys come, too, for a brunch baby shower. We had crepes and scones and cinnamon rolls and cupcakes and fruit and, oh boy, lots of other food.

For the record, if you ever want to make crepes, you need to beg, borrow or steal Katie's family recipe for crepe batter. The one I brought from the Joy of Cooking totally PALES in comparison to her family recipe. Wow. Pales. Not even eggs from Andy's chickens could overcome that recipe deficit, and those eggs are AMAZING.


I have to say, once again, I find myself incredibly luckly to have the amazing friends I have. Martha, for one, was incredibly good natured about both the "Mother to Be" sash we insisted she wear and the readings of the how-crude-can-you-be mad-libs we filled in. Well, some of us filled in. Pickett "filled in" five sheets, while five of us socialized (to be read as "five people filled in the mad-libs and added Pickett's name to the top of the page). Katie announced the game was to be as crude as possible, so we all had the challenge of out-smutting Keith. We failed, mostly because Keith managed to merge smut with crude with appropriate humour. It's the humour that gets you every time.


Shirley and Doyle also revealed to us that they are house hunting. I threw my suggestion they buy the house down the street from us that's for sale. It's the same exact layout as our house, facing east instead of west. It's relatively inexpensive (not really, but within their price range). It's horribly far away from work for Doyle, but really close for Shirley. Best of all, built in neighborhood friends!

And that suggestion opened up all sorts of opportunities for fun. Why don't we move up to Redwood City instead (find two houses on one block and we'd consider it, I countered, and poof, Doyle did, countering my counter)? Why don't I just go knocking from door to door, trying to meet my current neighbors (because most of them are older than 65 and none of them play ultimate?)?

We also talked about why you shouldn't buy a house for the mature apple tree in the backyard - because you can change anything about your house except for the location, mature apple trees can be planted in your yard for about $500, but you can't change the location.

Mark's advice there is sound, which is why my bribing Doyle and Shirley with apples and pomegranates and lemons and walnuts and pumpkins and future year avocados to move into the house down the street totally failed.

Right. That's the only reason, too.


Settlers game night and eggs 18, 19, 20, 21




Heather arranged for a game night tonight. Andy came over early with six eggs, to bring our 30 eggs up to 36 eggs. Fortunately, we used up four of them immediately with our double crepe recipe, to feed the group who was heading over: Heather, Andy, Chookie, Doyle, me, maybe Shirley and maybe Kris after his geetar lesson.

We started the evening with tile rummy, when only Chookie, Andy, Heather and I were around. I think we spent more time explaining the tiles and the game than we actually spent playing. The game was close, with all of us having one tile until Andy had none.


Doyle showed up while we were playing tile rummy. Now, I'm very excited Doyle showed up. Last time we played, Kris beat Andy and I in all three games. I needed Doyle to show up and take Kris down a notch. That Doyle has won nine games in a row is of no consequence in my mind.

Our first game was much longer than I expected it to be. To my surprise, on the round before the end, I realized if I snagged the longest road (as Doyle says, "the false god") from Andy, and built a city, I could go from last place to 10 points and win. So I did.

Not only did Kris not win (since he wasn't playing, this was a given), but I did. WOW! Not bad for my fourth time playing. Though, I guess that's part of the charm of Catan: a lot of the game play is designed to level the playing field, so that even sucky-suck players can get lucky sometimes.


Chookie joins us!


Last night, I managed to use three of the four standard modes of transportation to travel home. Doyle drove me from work to Stanford, where I sauntered to the train station until I realized that the noise I just heard was the southbound train arriving, not the north bound train departing. One heft of the backpark and two red-light dodges, and I was running for the train, 10-ride ticket validation be damned.

Little did I realize as I was launching myself into the nearest car door, was that the train was going to wait for another two minutes for the not-express train in front of it to accumulate a little more space. Of course, the puzzled, yet humoured looks of the seated passengers around me let me known that the crazy lady who launched herself into the their quiet car had better be quiet, too.

I didn't care, I had to pee.

Eventually I did find the Caltrain conductor and asked him to validate my ticket. He looked at me, then looked down at my ticket. Not only had he NOT asked for the ticket (meaning I could have ridden for free), but I was handing him a ticket from zone 2 to zone 3, when we were already in zone 3. I held my breath, wondering how long before he realized the ticket had expired four months before.

He said nothing, validated it, handed it back to me, then walked back out of the car.

15 seconds later, the train stopped in Mountain View. Sigh.

I then walked again, hoofing my way over to Chookie's place, which is about half was home from the train station. We talked for a while, before Kris called to see where I was. He was done with his lesson and on his way back home, too. Since Kris didn't know where Chookie lived exactly, I gave him directions to "close enough," as Chookie readied himself to leave also.

He was going out to run the track workout, not especially motivated to run by himself. I was concerned about his running in the dark, worried about ankle sprain potential. I offered to pick him up tomorrow morning and loan him my car after class, if he wanted to try out Velocity.

He said yes, and joined us this morning. Turns out, he knew someone at Planet Granite that Breanne knew, too, so they bonded instantly. Well, that and Chookie was "with them" where the "with them" from Sandy included a nod towards Kris and me.

Today's workout was four rounds of

20 swiss ball passes
20 back extensions
2 lengths of sled pushing
1 length of med ball walking

The swiss ball passes were similar to previous ones, but done solo. Lying on my back, I started with the swiss ball in my hands. Sitting up into a V position, lifting my legs up, I passed the ball to my feet, then dropped back down from the V up to lying back down, the ball between my feet. Next, back into a V position, passing the back back to my hands, then lowering it over my head as I dropped back from the V up position back down to a lying position.

I managed one of those before I couldn't actually do a V-up properly. I ended up lifting my shoulders and upper body off the ground, but not my full back, when passing the ball. Not fully correct, but sufficient.

The back extensions were as normal.

I ran the first sled push with just a 50 pound plate on the sled. The run was harder than I was expecting it to be, especially at the end. However, "harder than I was expecting" is not the same as "too hard," and I bumped up the weight to the 50 pound plate and a 25 pound plate on the sled for the last two runs. Breanne was amused by the weight increase and declared to Kris, "She's showing you up!" Kris, who had also been pushing the 75 pounds on the sled, looked and me and smiled. "She's tough!"

The med ball walking was the same as the plank walks of before.

After four rounds, we had time left over, so we did more abs (plank position on swiss balls, with Breanne kicking the ball).

At the end of it all, I asked Chookie what he thought. Was it tough enough for him?

A smile, a nod, and a "Yeah." in response.

Knock knock


Vinny and Heather came over this evening for a short time and a light dinner. When Vinny sat down at the couch, he noticed our "How to Stay Young" book, subtitled, "The Guide to Being Immature Forever," picked it up, and started reading it.

A few minutes later, he started laughing really hard. "Interupting cow! The funniest knock knock joke ever. It's so true!"

"It is?" I asked.

"It is!" he answered.

"Really? How?"

"Well, knock, knock..."

"Who's there."

"Interrupting cow."


longer pause

"I don't get it."

Vinny stared at me. I stared back, and repeated, "I don't get it." He looked at me like I was dumb.

"You really don't get it?" he asked.


He turned away, going back to reading the book.

A while later, Chookie stopped by, too. We were talking for a while before I turned to him and said, "Say, Vinny says the interrupting cow knock knock joke is the best ever."

Chookie smiled. "It is! It is the best!"

"How? I don't get it."

"Really? Okay, knock knock!"

"Who's there?"

"Interrupting cow."


"Uh, okay."

"Come on... interrupting cow who?"

"What? Wait, what? Omigod, did I forget that part of the joke?"

"Yep," Vinny piped up.

I guess Vinny's look of "you are dumb" was well deserved.

Grandma's stuff


Beth hosted today's multi-family garage/estate sale at her grandmother's house today. Martha, Chookie, Brynne, Megan, Mark, Steffi and I all contributed stuff (gah, I so want to write "crap") to the furniture, knick-knacks, memories and crap piles of Beth's grandmother. I arrived at 8:30 in the morning to find Beth coordinating the sale with a half dozen early buyers rushing in to get the best selection on the garage sale deals. Little did they know that all the good stuff was buried in the bottom of the boxes scattered around the house, garage and driveway, to be pulled out at various times during the day to refill the stashes. We're sneaky like that.

Steffi had by far the best crap. She managed to sell 80% of her stuff by noon, including still-fashionable clothes and many useful household times. Martha had the best sell today with the sale of a bridesmaid dress with matching shoes. Mark and Megan freed themselves from various pieces of garage-sale-bought furniture, some of the items selling for as much as they bought them for. Brynne and her mother brought stuff over for the sale, but didn't stay to watch the items disappear.

When I arrived in the morning, there was a woman who had started piling items to buy. For the next hour, she would walk to the back of driveway, pick through a pile or two, walk back to her pile near the front, and repeat the process, her pile growing by the minute. After buying all of her piled stuff, she left, only to return a half hour later to begin the piling process again. She wouldn't move more than about 10 feet without finding something else to buy.

One woman I tried to help in the morning had just bought a partial set of dishes. They were cute dishes, 4 plates, 4 saucers and a couple cups, but nothing spectacular. I brought her newsprint to wrap her new dishes in, handing her a sheet before pulling another out of the pile and reaching for a plate to wrap.

You would have thought I was stealing the woman's child. She grabbed the dishes and made to slap my hand away, as she snatched the paper from my hand to wrap the dishes herself. Uh, okay, I thought, backing away slowly. I hadn't realized you were so attached to your new $5 set of dishes. Uh, enjoy!

Other people were also of note in an odd sort of way: the guy who sat staring at a box of 100 manilla folders, debating if they were were worth the 50¢ asking price; the old lady who sat in the back corner for hours looking through four giant sewing boxes for that one particular button; the man with his eight year old son buying a pile of items hand selected by the child; the young girl letting me know the items on the table marked "GOOD OLD STUFF: MAKE OFFER" were not for sale; the guy who refused to buy the trash can I had for sale because I said it was $3 instead of $1 (because $3 was sure to break the bank, you know).

I did find a number of interesting maps that might make fun buttons. I'll try them out and see.

Part of the excitement of the day was the indoor cat which had escaped the confines of its house, only to spend the next six hours stuck between the exhaust manifold and the engine compartment firewall. Neither car owner, nor the cat owner, nor animal control could extract the cat from the hole he had wedged itself into. After hearing the cat howl for hours, Mark went to save the day, pushing the cat forward through the engine compartment instead of pulling it backwards from its wedged spot.

Shame no one told him to CATCH the cat once it was released. Cheers went up after Mark extracted the cat, and disappointment followed when the cat ran off. Again.

I spent much of the day with Mirabelle. We opened and closed doors. We opened and closed water sprinklers. We opened and closed more doors. We went up stairs, and down stairs. We went inside and outside. Mirabelle went up and down, depending on her placement relative to my head. We had a good time.

In the end, I made about $5. Mark and Megan made a couple hundred dollars. Beth maybe three times that. More importantly, all of us have less crap than we did before.

And that's a good thing.

Chookie and Martha are back!


Chookie and Martha are back from their six month tour around the world. Chookie's car has been parked in front of our house for the duration of their trip, except when Doyle was using it, much to Kris' chagrin. My thought was, heck, we have four cars, what's one more? Ah, so difficult to take the Midwest hick out of the Midwest girl.

At least none of the vehicles is up on blocks.


Keith and Katie hosted a welcome home dinner for them, so communal dinner is reignited with homemade WhiteCastle burgers of varying meats, cheeses, and breads. Tasty burgers, and more desserts than you can eat in one night. I may have overdosed on sugar tonight.

At least the sugar crash will put me to sleep tonight.

Seeing Chookie and Martha was absolutely wonderful tonight. It's funny how good friends can be gone for six months and, when they return, can slip right back into life, into conversations, as if they were always here. I guess in some way they always were, just more difficult to have the spontaneous conversation with them is all.