Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vote! Please, Vote.

Calling all hockey fans, internet junkies, and persons who wish to get in good with us here at Steingruebl World Enterprises!

The NHL All-Star game is coming up. For those of you who are not sports fans and don't know how these all-star things work, fans vote for who they want to see play. Our beloved Sharks are eating up the competition on the ice. But not online. The good people of Chicago clearly have much more time to kill on the intertubes than we do here in Silicon Valley. Probably something to do with the weather.

What I'm trying to say, is please, pretty please go vote! You can vote until your fingers fall off-the more the better. A little extra time on your hands? Vote for some Sharks. If you have no idea who they are, never fear. There's a little Sharks logo next to the names of the players you want. But, if you'd like a roster, here it is!

Marleau, Patrick
Thornton, Joe
Write in-Devin Setoguchi

Blake, Rob
Boyle, Dan

Nabokov, Evgeni

Oh please, please, please help send our Sharks to the All-Star game.

If my urgent pleas don't convince you to click like a fiend, I submit the following for your enjoyment:

And, even if that still doesn't convince you, don't forget to watch the Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Wrigley Field!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hangin' With Santa

The Ghost of Christmas Past will tell you (if you ask) that I've generally been very good at getting Elise in to see Santa early in the "season." This year, the weather has been mucky, we've been busy, yadda yadda yadda, and we didn't make it to see the Big Guy until yesterday afternoon after school.

It didn't even occur to me to have the video on the camera rolling when the two of them first met, and as a result I missed the sweetest part of the interaction. Wiping a tear from my eye, I regained my composure and am pleased as can be to share this bit of our holiday excitement with you now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Will You Know Where to Find Me?

It's always an interesting exercise to look at the search terms people use to find this here blog. This week's gem:
cat pee under lemon tree

Hahahahahaha. My neighbors' cats are famous!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Birds are Scrounging

With a gazillion things to do today, I just took 10 minutes to refill all of our bird feeders. We were having finch fights in the front yard and it wasn't pretty.

We usually have a pretty good idea as to the amount of food in the bird feeders by listening before we even look out of the window. If things are quiet and kind of low-level burbly, the feeders are mostly full. As things empty out, the noise level rises. When it's loud outside, I know to start looking for birds in strange places, usually clinging to the edges of window frames and peeking inside for someone to yell at. This morning was quite a frenzy because the back yard feeders were completely empty so the back yard crowd was encroaching on the front yard gang's territory.

Did I mention our birds are self-segregating? The goldfinches and lesser goldfinches (and I'm sure the occasional pine siskin as well) stick to the back yard almost exclusively. We have regular seed and some suet back there in addition to the thistle, but the goldfinches clearly rule back there. In the front yard, we didn't get anyone for a long time. Then, the chickadees started coming. Then the sparrows, then the house finches. Finally, in the past few days we've seen a titmouse or two which has been a hoot. I knew things were desperate out there when I saw a goldfinch hanging on the Christmas lights and eyeing the sock of thistle that nobody had been visiting before.

It's been "cold" around here (lows in the 40s and upper 30s at night) and the little featherbutts have slowed down their eating. But when they're hungry, they're hungry and scarcity makes them grumpy. The sheer entertainment value of seeing them all happy and playing around instead of fighting with each other was worth the ten minutes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Birthday Extravaganza

It's official-we've got a big kid here at Steingruebl World Enterprises. Elise is five years old! I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

We wanted to make the occasion special without going over-the-top crazy like so many of the parents we've met around here seem to do. My original hope was to have a party here with all of her friends from school and other places, and then I realized that it would be chaos, bedlam, misery and unpleasantness. The solution-celebrate with school friends at school, and then do some quiet things here. Worked like a charm!

First, on Thursday morning, we took a craft project to school. Elise has a friend whose birthday is the same day as hers, so we moms worked on a coordinated plan of attack. Yari's mommy brought muffins and party hats, and I brought felt and pompoms. (We are going to gloss over the fact that I mis-counted on the felt and thus put our celebration off by a good half hour, making Yari's mom spectacularly late for work. Numeracy is important, people.) The idea was that the kids could use the pompoms to make pictures on a felt work surface, and then I took pictures of them and their work to put into books for each of the two birthday girls. (I have the pictures and the books, now I just need to unite them.) I'd love to show off just how cute all of the kids were, but without permission of their parents I'm not going to post other kids' pics here. But, here is our girl:

At home that night, Elise got to open her gifts from us and from the Grandparents Schmiedeskamp. The log cabin set chosen by Grandma was an instant hit, and has been gracing the living room floor in various configurations ever since. Grandpa found some high-quality kid-sized garden tools, which pretty much took Elise's breath away. So cute! I've got to get out there and figure out what part of the massive garden ought to be hers to cultivate. Or at least show her how to use the hoe so we can thin out our pea plants and actually get a decent winter crop.

Our gift to Elise was a CD player for her bedroom, so that she can listen to her favorite tunes while she's up there playing. Part of that gift was the herculean effort we put in to find all of the various kid CDs that had been scattered around here and collect them in one booklet that Elise can keep track of herself. It's fun to see her making music choices on her own. I remember the little orange record player I had at her age and what a wonderful thing it was. She seems to be equally appreciative of this newfangled disk spinning device.

Finally, on Sunday we invited Rista over to play and celebrate. Yes, it was a two-girl party, but I think it was ideal for Elise. She really is happiest playing with her best friend, and I think any more excitement than that would have been too much. The girls played, the grown-ups chatted. Fantastic! At one point, Elise told us that this was the best birthday she's ever had. Awwwwwww.

When it came time to open her presents from Rista, Elise was excited but gracious. No idea where she learned that, but we were impressed. She got supplies for Shrinkydinks projects (Shrinkydinks!!! Mommy is excited by that!) and a little kitty kind of like Later, but different. To demonstrate the kind of appreciation our big, five-year-old girl has for thoughtful gifts given with love, I leave you with our favorite part of the festivities, which Andy just happened to catch on video. Happy Birthday, Elise. We love you and are so proud of you.


This year marked our first CA Thanksgiving celebrated with friends. Danielle, Brad and Rista invited us to join them at Danielle's mom's house, and we enthusiastically did so. They put on a tremendous feast, and you couldn't ask for better company.

It begins to hit us that we have a big kid on our hands. Elise and Rista ran off and entertained themselves while the grown-ups chatted. I think we were all a little giddy with the thrill of it.

The best news is that, after a lot of discussion about expected manners, Elise did a fabulous job trying food and being a polite guest. Normally, we get tantrums and other unpleasantness when we inflict unfamiliar food on her. We do not like this state of affairs. We are working on it. For the short term, Elise got a crash course in acceptable behavior at a big feast of a dinner. And she really took note. We were stunned, stunned I tell you, that she ate a bite of absolutely everything on her plate without a single complaint. We learned that stuffing isn't torture in crouton form, and that cranberries may well be nature's perfect food. Heavenly!

Of course, I took the camera with us but neglected to take any pictures. "Next year!" she vows sincerely.

Bloggety Blog Blog

Hmmm, it's been awhile since I last wrote anything here. Perhaps time to rectify that. We've had Thanksgiving, a notable birthday and random interesting things going around here...