Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thank You Darwin

About five years ago my Grandma Cox was cleaning out the books in the garage from my Grandpa's library. She let us take a few boxes of books; One of them was "The Orgin of Species." As the years have gone by, we have learned that it is a second edition, quite rare and worth a lot of money. Through various circumstances we came into contact with a antiquarian book dealer who lives in Sherman Oaks. He looked at digital photos of the book, gave us an estimate for it, and we set up a time to meet.

So, this last Friday we had an appointment with him. It took us a little time to find the place; it was in a beautiful old neighborhood with tall trees and big houses. The business is run out of a home, with one of the upstairs bedrooms the office. There were rare books everywhere in built-in bookcases. It was kind of strange to be surrounded by rare books.

The really interesting thing was that we connected so well with the three people working there. There was an older lady who was in charge, and her partner, the guy we dealt with, about aged 45. And they had a young college aged girl who was their secretary. It turned out that the girl had gone to Agua Dulce Elementary for two years; her grandma lives in Agua Dulce. They were shocked to learn that Will worked there last year, and that our girls go there.

We had a great time talking about all kinds of things. It felt like one of those supercharged Divine appointments--all five of us were trying to get a word in edgewise. We haven't had a conversation like that in a long time. It felt like something really important was happening, but we have no idea what. Who knows what will come of it, besides selling "The Origin". I guess time will tell.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Just Call Me Missy

Driving up to get our mail yesterday, I noticed a large black man and woman sitting on the planter by the mailbox room door. The man had on a bandana, shiny sunglasses, earrings, and looked like a character. I parked, got out of the car and started towards them. They were in a good mood, laughing and talking, and the man said to me, "Nice culoutts. They look real nice."(refering to my rather loud Hawiian print skort.) I smiled, said thank you, and kept walking. I got my mail, and then, instead of passing right back in front of them I walked over to the building across the patio to look at a notice in the window. I was kind of hoping that they'd leave while I was there, but they didn't. I could overhear the man: "When my wife gets out of jail...culoutts...real nice...been in jail six years...culoutts..." As I finally went back to my car, he said, "Those culoutts are real nice, It's good to see a woman with a waistline.(I said thank you) What's your name?" As I looked at him, I thought, "I don't want this guy to know my name." So, off the top of my head I said, "Missy" and got into my car. As I started the engine I could hear him saying, "Missy...Missy...nice culoutts..."

So, like you may be, I spent the rest of the evening wondering why in the world I had chosen the name "Missy." I knew a girl in second grade named Missy. But why that one? Why not "Julie" or "Heather" or "Sophie" or whatever. It was kind of funny to see what I did in an on-the-spot situation. And I guess "Missy" is just the person who I'm not.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

300 Otter Pops Later

As I put the last 26 Otter Pops into the refrigerator yesterday, I suddenly realized that this was the last of the 300 Otter Pops we have eaten this summer. It was the best 10$ we ever spent, for sheer childish enjoyment. However, I began to ask myself some piercing questions: What kind of mom and I to allow my children to consume 300 Pops? They boast on the box "25% fruit juice", which still really doesn't make them much more than corn syrup water with artificial flavor and color. Am I really so ready to sacrifice health for cheapness and ease of cleanup? (Otter Pops come in a box at room temperature in long plastic packets.) They are cheap, easy to store, and they don't drip. They actually solve all the popcicle problems. I ask these questions, but really, when it comes right down to it, all I end up seeing is a memory from my childhood.

When I was about five, my parents took me to Central Park in Whittier. As I played, I glimpsed a little child my age, and in his hand was something I had never seen before: A Long Blue Popcicle Encased in Plastic. He looked like he was enjoying it immensely. I asked my mom what that thing was, and she told me that it was some sort of popcicle. I don't remember the rest of the conversation, but the unchangable fact is that I never actually tasted one of those things during the rest of my childhood. This blog could be a tribute to my mother's good nutritional taste, but for me, I always wanted one of those bad Otter Pops. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered a box of room temperature Otter Pops in the grocery store a few years ago. I was finally able to figure out what they actually were, and I was able to buy them.

Now, Otter Pops are the frozen forbidden fruit that my children take for granted, and I feel slightly naughty and indulgent when I give them to them, or when I eat one myself.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Security Device Epidemic

Twice in the last three days Will or I have made a purchase and the sales people forgot to remove the security device. When we came home with our new digicam and the chip to go with it, the chip was encased in a heavy plastic box. As I watched Will hit it with a hammer, pry it with a screwdriver, attack it with his Very Sharp Pocketknife, and eventually just pull with all his might on the little crack that he made, I reflected that it certianly would be difficult to do that in the store. The device did send off an alarm as we left, but no one seemed to worry; they just waved us out the door. We never did get the thing open. We just slid the little chip out of the slit in the side.

Today I brought home a new garment, and as I excitedly went to wash it to get ready to use it, I realized that the clasp thing was still there. (By the way, no alarm went off when I left the store.) I was really irritated because the store is 7 miles away, and I have to go back there to get it removed. I called the manager and told her the problem; she said she'd give me a 10% discount for my trouble. That covers the gas, I guess. I decided not to try to remove it myself, since cloth is less durable than plastic. And Will's Really Sharp Pocketknife might do more harm than good.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Why I bought a digital camera

OK, yesterday morning I looked up and saw Sam standing before me. He had taken off his pants, was wearing only a tank top tee and Abby's new birthday skates. (Fallout from the Potty Train) It was the funniest sight, and tonight he got him self up in the above outfit. I guess he just has a flair for the dramatic. Let's blame it on his father.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Diller A Dollar

Our good friends Stacy and Julie Dollar, and their three kids, Justin, Aaron and Jessica stayed with us last night on their way home to Grand Junction, CO. We stayed with them for five nights this summer, so it was good to see them again, and to return the favor.

We live in a three bedroom, two bath condo/apt. It worked out pretty well to house five extra people. I learned a couple of things from the experience.

1. We need more bowls. I think over the years quite a number of them have broken, and I became more aware of the fact when six kids sat down to eat their cerial.

2. Our girls are hospitable. They stayed up late two nights ago and cleaned and orgainzed their room and bathroom very nicely. The motivation of guests is much more compelling than mom or dad expounding on the virtues of chores. They loved sharing their space with friends.

We had a great time talking, the kids had fun, and it was a good, but short, experience all around.

On the Potty Train

Sam is potty-training. Rocky, in Will's fourth grade class last year, gave Sam a little hot wheels car that looks like a toilet on wheels. Sam had been hearing us talk about potty-training him, and when he got the toilet car, he immediately called it "The Potty Train". Every morning when I take off his night time diaper I say, "OK, it's time to get on the Potty Train." I like the allusion to something that can get derailed, or that you can fall off of. It fits with the actuality of potty training.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stocking the Pantry

Will and I went shopping at Costco today. I have to admit that I love shopping at Costco because I feel so thrifty. In fact, we were congratulating ourselves for our general smartness as we loaded our huge cartload of food into the trunk of the Hyundai Accent (read: tiny).

On the same note, I have to comment about how I feel virtuous when I shop at Trader Joe's. I feel like I care about the enviornment, and that I care about being really healthy, and that I am also cool. And I spend more money. I think it must have something to do with the music they play. I'm pretty sure that I am the target audience because I recognize the tunes from the time when I was really up on music. Things have disintegrated in that department since...But hey, there was a time.

When I go to Stater Bros., I don't have the same positive feelings. There is Muzak playing in the background, and the prices and quantities aren't as impressive as Costco. But, it's only two minutes from our house, and really, who can eat five lbs of celery before it goes bad anyway?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pilfering from my Sister

If you look at Gretchen's blog, you will see these same photos. But, since I don't yet have a digital camera...These are from our Cox family campout in Ventura last week.

Here are Madeline, William, and the Furby. We were entertained watching each other talk to the furby. Madeline was especially persistant.

Lastly, Erin and Sam having a special moment in which he allowed her to pick him up. He can be pretty choosey about anyone holding him.

Ending Summer

This is the first week home from various vacations. It is starting to feel like fall; we missed most of the 105+ weather here in Palmdale, and when we got home from housesitting in Redondo Beach it was in the 80's. I was relieved. Yesterday evening we had a huge thunderstorm, and then it rained more during the night. It didn't feel like the desert, and I loved it.

This summer we have spent 4 out of 10 weeks away from home. This is the first "teacher schedule" we've experienced, and it has been fun. I like life on a school schedule. There are lots of times during the year that things start over. I enjoy the changes.

While I was in Redondo Beach I discovered Madeline L'Engle's non-fiction work. I read "Wrinkle in Time" when I was young, and a couple other fiction works by her, but I was especially touched by "Walking on Water-Reflections on Faith and Art" and also "Two-part Invention" which was about her marriage and the death of her husband. I appreciate the way ML embraces the tensions in life, and allows there to be things we don't understand about God. She also is working through the existance of pain and suffering as an underlying theme in her work.

This is significant because I am realizing that the problem of pain was bigger for me than I knew, and I too have been working through some of the questions that ML explores. Anyway, her work has been a blessing for me.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

New from DeHart

Its time to enter to Blogging world, for better or worse. This my first post starts me off. I look forward to having some fun and speaking my bit.