Monday, June 30, 2008

24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot

Check out this video of what the show "24" might have looked like in the early 90s. Hilarious!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Appliance overload

Yesterday we took our first step into the world of kitchen appliances, in anticipation of our remodel. My Mom and Dad came over to watch the kids for a few hours (THANK YOU!) so that we could hang out at the local kitchen showroom. We got the scoop on all the categories, all the brands, all the options... wow it's a lot to absorb!

Some decisions will be easy, and some will be hard. The easy ones will be the dishwasher (we're going with the one my in-laws just bought and love) and the laundry (who cares, as long as it dries clothes in less than my current 2 hour model?). And we're hoping we can re-use our fridge, saving us a bundle we can put toward other priorities.

Cooking-related appliances are going to be tricker. The options and possible combinations are many and complicated. We are currently leaning toward a range top with a separate wall oven/microwave combination. But do we do the straightforward 4 burner model, or do we upgrade to one with a built in griddle? Will I regret going with only one oven? Two seems like an extravagance when the only time I can imagine needing two is the holidays... but many kitchens have two ovens... Anybody have any words of wisdom on two vs one oven?

Then there are the extra luxury appliances that I was convinced we needed while in the showroom, but now in the cold light of day, outside of the spell those places cast, I'm not so sure. For example, a "beverage center" which is a little under-counter fridge that gets all the drinks out of your regular fridge, leaving more room for the food which seems smart. (Our fridge always feels packed, and I can only imagine how much worse that will be when we have teenagers in the house!) So, perhaps a separate fridge dedicated to drinks makes sense. But where to put it? And is it worth the expense? I'm thinking the better choice is just to drink more water from the tap... healthier for us, and for the environment since there are no wasteful containers. But is that realistic???

And then there's the ultimate, tempting but completely indulgent appliance: The steam oven, which I had not even heard of before yesterday. Apparently it cooks with steam, keeping the food moist and flavorful without the typical added fats and oils. A very healthy way to eat, and it looked awesome. But, it's about the size of a microwave, and requires yet another space in the kitchen. Will it fit? Is it completely ridiculous? I have a feeling it's one of those things that people with unlimited space and money have.... and that certainly does not describe us!

Lots to think about, and we haven't even gotten to countertops, backsplashes, lighting, cabinets and floors. Gracious... maybe our current kitchen is just fine.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Running again

Some say that it you make a commitment public that you are more likely to keep it. So, here I state that I have started running again, after a several month hiatus. Today was my third morning successfully completing an early morning outing, so I think it is respectable enough now to really say I've started running again.

My goal is three mornings a week at a minimum. Please feel free to check with me and ask me how the running is going. Knowing people are expecting me to be able to answer that question helps. Funny how we can play games with our minds.

I've been running with my iPod, but this time with my own music instead of the "Couch to 5k" podcast I was using last time. But I find I really prefer the high energy, strong beat songs, like Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas. Unfortunately, though, that's the only song of that genre I have on my nearly empty iPod. I listened to it 4 times in a row this morning. Really! So clearly I'm looking for more good running songs, with that same kind of energy. Any suggestions?

As an aside, I've got to say that I have mixed feelings about my iPod. I love the idea of it, and I love the ease of use, the whole system. But I confess it feels like just one more thing to manage and keep up to date. I already try to keep up with blogging, keep up with my favorite couple of shows on Tivo (So you think you can dance and Battlestar Galactica!), keep up with the kids, keep up with my photo albums, keep up with work, keep up with thank you notes, birthday gifts, doctor's appointments, book club reading, and the list goes on and on. There is so much! I wish I could just magically have the darn iPod filled with great music that I didn't have to take the trouble to find. I just don't know music and it seems intimidating to try to find music I like. I know that sounds silly. When I hear music I know if I like it or not, but I can't for the life of me ever remember the name of the song or the artist, so once the song it gone, it's gone... little chance it'll find it's way to my iPod. So, anyway, iPod management suggestions are also welcome!

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another try with PictoBrowser

Trying again with some pictures from Jeff's recent Sunol backpackin trip... hoping I can size this thing right.

Pictures from Julia's last day of school party

I'm late in blogging about this, but a couple of weeks ago was Julia's last day of her first year of preschool. They hosted a party, complete with magician! Here are a few pictures of the party. (Andrew had a great time too!)

P.S. I'm also testing out a new way to display photos on the blog. You should be able to click on any of the thumbnails to change the larger image. Clearly I've got some learning to do, as it's hanging off the edge of the space.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Nana and Grumps Visit

Susan and Paul have been visiting this weekend. We've had a nice and mellow weekend, spending most of our time just hanging out in the backyard being entertained by the kids who are over the moon excited to have a visit from their Nana and Grumps.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

McElligot's Pool

Every once in a while I will come across a children's book that I didn't know we had. My mom comes by every other week to visit the kids and she often brings a book or two she has saved from my childhood. I don't always see them when she brings them, but I'll discover them a day or two later. Most of them are instantly familiar and bring back good memories.

Last night I was putting Andrew to bed and out of the bookcase popped McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss, which my mom must have dropped off. We read it together, and what a great book. (Interesting how much longer my old childhood books are than the new books I buy my kids these days. Speaks to our shortened attention span.) Anyway, I don't think it is one of Dr. Seuss's more famous ones, but I'm not sure why not. It has such a nice message of optimism and the virtues of patience, as well as a sense of wonder and possibility. What a nice little gem. Thanks Mom! : )

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unusual day at work

Most of the time I'm in meetings all day, or sitting at my computer going through emails. But today, a change of pace. A big change! I am in Sausalito at The Plant Studios, famous for recording sessions with the likes of Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews and Metallica. We're filming for a marketing program launching later this summer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jeff climbs Half Dome

Jeff spent the weekend in Yosemite, climbing Half Dome with his Uncle Gary and Gary's friend Ned (aka Flash.) They backpacked up to Little Yosemite Valley where they camped Friday night. Then Saturday they hiked 13 miles, climbing to the top of Half Dome and back down 5000 feet to the Valley. The last stretch to the top of Half Dome is quite steep, and you get up by pulling yourself up cables that are installed into the rock. They had a fantastic time! He came home on Sunday in time for an afternoon Father's Day celebration with the kids. Here are a few snapshots of his trip.

Jeff's Uncle Gary heading up the Mist Trail by Vernal Falls:

Looking down on Nevada Falls. That's Liberty Cap in the foreground, and the back side of Half Dome in the background on the left. Little Yosemite Valley is on the far right, behind Liberty Cap.

Here you can just make out a trail of people climbing the cables up the side of Half Dome:
And here's Jeff's Uncle Gary starting his descent down the cables.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Val's Big Day

Congratulations to my cousin Valerie Ross who graduated from Stanford today! What a huge milestone! Jeff and I were able to join the fun for a celebratory dinner tonight with a variety of family members, several of whom I had not seen in years. So much fun!! Thank you to Cheri and Brian for hosting the dinner, it was great to see you and have everyone in the same place!

Julia's new outfit and Andrew with his snuggles

This gray Sunday morning we are preparing for Jeff's return from his backpacking trip (He's climbing Half Dome with his uncle!) so that we can celebrate Father's day. We're about to head out to the grocery store, but Julia wanted me to take this picture of her in this outfit she got from her Nana. And she specifically wanted to send the picture to Nana (and I know you're out there, Nana, looking at this!) Andrew wanted in on the picture too, so here he is holding his "snuggle dog" and "cozy".

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dallas is HOT

I'm in Dallas today for a very quick research trip for work, and the heat almost knocked me over when I got off the plane.

Greetings from hot and sunny Dallas, ya'll!

Sunday, June 01, 2008


My book club is reading Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and I just finished tonight. Wow. I did not know much about Islam before reading this book, and this was quite an eye opener. I know she has been controversial, and there are intelligent reasonable people who disagree with her (I'd love to read something by someone like that... anybody have a suggestion?), but it is truly hard to imagine how to view it another way after reading this book.

She paints a stark and unflattering picture of Islam. The religion, she says, is based on oppressive beliefs and a value system that celebrates submission and obedience above all, particularly of women who have no rights whatsoever. They are trained to have no self-will, and are completely ruled by their families, who are completely free to maim or even kill them for the slightest infraction, with the cooperation and encouragement of the government. The horrors she describes make me want to shut my ears and not think about it. Which is of course exactly what she doesn't want me to do... and she succeeded.

A great read, I recommend it highly.