Halloween ween
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The day started off earlier than I would've preferred, with the kids' Halloween parade first thing. It was cute. Derek went as Arthur Dent again, and Celeste was an astronaut as part of a class project for the parade, but her actual costume was Luna Lovegood, which suited her perfectly.

After watching the parade, Gene and I stopped by downtown Redwood City to pick up coffee from Philz, then went home. I was disappointed that Five Guys wasn't open yet to satisfy my cravings for red meat and Cajun fries.

I worked on my computer all day until the kids we're dropped home from school with their carpool (yay, carpool!). I think I mentioned in a previous post, but in case I didn't -- after an initially extremely awkward situation at the beginning of the school year, we did end up joining an after school carpool with some of Celeste's friends.

When the kids got home, there was some tantruming at the suggestion that they put away laundry before pumpkin carving, but eventually they calmed down, and we went out back to carve our pumpkins. We finished just in time to walk over for the little annual Halloween Party at Jen's house.

The invite promised chicken and deviled eggs. Sadly, The chicken wasn't ready until an hour after the party started, and there were no deviled eggs! It was still nice to hang out, though, although some of Jen's friends seem really shy, so it was hard to talk to people.

Gene arrived just as we were leaving and the four of us went trick or treating.

Party week!
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90s themed party Saturday at Kenny and Jayne's was amazing. House was decorated throughout, including decorative lighting, and the bathroom with 90s mood music. Roger Niner aka Keith had quite possibly the best costume - Daria. So good. He embodied that character to the tee (is that how you spell "tee" in that expression? I don't believe I've written it out before). I was happy with our Cher and Josh Clueless costumes.

Britt and Lance had Celeste and Derek over to sleep over, and it worked out perfectly. We got home quite late, and tried to watch an episode of Stranger Things, but got too tired. Gene picked up the kids around noon the next day, and I went to back-to-back afternoon photo shoots with Megan and Meghan.

Sunday after photos with the Meg(h)ans, I hustled home and got into my homemade knitted Octopussy costume, then drove to Gabe and Cathy's so we could carpool together to dinner with Keith and Lala, and the Butter Halloween Party.

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Hey-oh! I don't ever say that, but why not start writing with something energizing?

Well, I was going to write about my failed attempts at finishing reading a book over the last month, but now the book's title has escaped me, and honestly, I don't care enough to switch from the LJ tab on my phone to a tab where I can look up that kind of thing. It's the sequel to Wool, second book in the Silo trilogy. And, oh, look at that! Wool-Shift-Dust. I remembered. Part of my dystopian fiction reading.

It's not that I don't like the book. It hasn't been easy to get into it, either due to the slow start, or that I've gotten so busy that my mind is too scattered to read. A combination of both, I think.

Most of these entries seen like drivel as I write them, and I wonder what the point is in recording these trivial, boring things. But nobody gets better at anything by not doing that thing. Unless that person has an injury, like damaged vocal cords, and they can't sing because they need to rest their vocal cords for six weeks, after which they will actually be better at singing. But, more often than not, practice makes improvement. And I like to write, so I'll continue doing it whether or not anyone cares to read it. Ha! Ha HA!

The auto-rotating feature on my phone's screen is too sensitive and annoys the crap out of me. See? Drivel. I also feel that I have this one bag of tricks that I pull from, this limited set of words and phrases "escape", "on the other hand", "it's not that", "at least", "honestly" etc. After a while it becomes monotonous, repetitive. I need some new tricks.

Time for lunch.

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Is that a word? Abruptity? Like either when something is sudden, or whipping out your boobs unexpectedly?

My last post cut off abruptly. I was just too tired. Or, "tured," as I nearly typo'ed - while mostly merely amusing, typos can expose truth, too - "turrred" (I think it needs the extra 'r's) being "tired" when you're just too damn turrred to get it right, in spelling or pronunciation.

I figure stopping unfinished because my eyes won't stay open is better than not starting at all. And on that note, Gene just got out of the bathroom, and I have to hop in the shower right at this second in order to be showered and clothed when the kids get dropped home.

Zipidee Doo day zipidee doh
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I did get my period last night, so I don't have to worry about it for Halloween parties! On the other hand, I hadn't considered what a pain it might be during a weekend full of back-to-back photo shoots. The idea that I willed this, communicated to my body my needs, and expected a response, is ludicrous, anyway. I'm not even on hormonal birth control, so it's not as if I have any control over it.

Max and Miles asked Celeste and Derek over for a sleepover tonight.

Blood and Rain
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Rain! The fresh, earthy smell and gentle trickling noise are coming through the open bedroom window, and it's wonderful! I hope this will be a solution for the fires still burning, as well as Celeste's dry sore throat. On the other hand, I hope it won't make for an arduous drive back for Derek and his classmates, when they return from Outdoor Ed tomorrow.

I miss Derek and am looking forward to hearing all about his Outdoor Ed experience when he gets home!

Gene and I have costumes planned out for a 90s themed Halloween party, and it suddenly occurred to me that I'm getting my period soon, and that wouldn't be very convenient for my costume. But, I wondered, would it be soon enough? I don't keep careful track, but I know my last one started on the day after Ellen's wedding, because I recall having cramps during the wedding and worrying it would make its appearance then. Thankfully, and miraculously, it held off a day. Although the ladies restroom at the wedding did have an adorable display of free feminine hygiene offerings, and gum. I used this information to calculate that, based on a 28 day cycle, I should be getting my period tomorrow, October 20th. If so, it should be done by October 28th & 29th, during the Halloween party with Gene at Jayne and Kenny's, and the Butter Halloween Party the next day. So, that's a relief. Except, I don't know whether I'm on a 28 day cycle or not since, as I mentioned, I don't closely monitor it - plus, with traveling last month and extra work stress right now, it could be off. I do seem to be experiencing some cramps this evening, so, fingers crossed!

Fire and sickness
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Yesterday I woke to find that another fire had started in the Santa Cruz Mountains, maybe 15-20 miles from where Derek was supposed to be attending Outdoor Ed. Celeste was still miserable, but Derek seemed mostly better. I decided ît would be prudent to schedule a doctor's appointment for both of them, and was able to get them in at the San Carlos clinic around noon.

The San Carlos location was luxuriously spacious, with wide, windowed halls and high ceilings. It was also remarkably empty.

Dr. Patel, not their usual doctor, but a young, fit Indian American who wore woven bracelets on one wrist, was nice, and the kids seemed to like him. The nurse took throat cultures and ran rapid strep tests, the latter of which came back negative after a few minutes. Dr. Patel concluded that we're dealing eith some sort of mysterious virus, and advised that we just wait it out. However, we're still waiting on the culture. Since the rapid test was negative, and Derek seemed well, after much discussion between Gene and myself, as well as with Derek, about how he felt, and our feelings about the nearby fire and whether that would impact things (the camp had communicated to parents that everything was okay and the fire was actually pretty far away), we made the choice to allow him to leave for camp that day.

The Outdoor Ed is at a YMCA camp located in La Honda. It only took about 40 minutes to get there, on beautiful tree-lined mountain roads, and the location itself is gorgeous!

We met up with the camp medic, who showed us to Derek's cabin, Madrone, up a short road and a small slope, and across a bridge over an empty Creek. The area was surrounded by tall trees with sunlight casting a yellow glow on everything. We left his bags by the bottom bunk, which was next to the heater. From there, we headed to a nearby field where Derek's very dirty classmates we're playing. Derek seemed chipper, and was quickly greeted by several friend who appeared happy to see him. They immediately began talking excitedly together, and Derek barely noticed me leaving!

I realized when I got home that I forgot to leave the letters that we wrote for him to open at camp. I feel terrible. Hopefully he won't be too sad.

Today Celeste has been lounging around miserably watching TV, writing, playing Animal Crossing and Minecraft. She's still complaining of a bad sore throat and stomach ache. I've been obsessively checking the My Health Online site to see if they've updated with results from the throat culture, but it's not up yet. I would like some answers, or at least advice so we can help Celeste to feel better. This is ridiculous -- she has been sick since last Thursday evening, so it'll be a week tomorrow! Still no fever. I wonder if that's why it's taking her so long to recover? No fever to help fight the virus?

I hope Derek is doing well and having a fabulous time at camp. And I'm crossing my fingers that Celeste will be all better tomorrow, although considering she has made literally no progress towards getting better all week, with the exception of Sunday, I really don't know what to think, at this point.

Good din din
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Dinner at Tamarine with Nana, my parents and the Gardners was delicious, but I suspect it was ridiculously expensive. I think it was a little strange to choose such a pricey restaurant with Nana paying, but it was nice to go some place that was legitimately sort of fancy. The kids seemed better, but Gene had to work, so the whole family went, minus Gene.

It's family style, so we got to sample a nice assortment of dishes: roti prata with curry dip, shrimp spring rolls, calamari (the best), wide noodles with beef, duck, fish, prawns, and on top of everything, dessert! There was some awkwardness when ordering, as there often seems to be when someone else is paying, unless that person is very clear and/or decisive. My mom seemed to be getting near the end of her tolerance for Nana. I can understand that. I'd probably go nuts, too, if I had to spend a whole week with my mother!

When we finished dinner, the kids both complained of stomach aches. I attributed it to eating so much Vietnamese food after their previous stomach upset, however, they both woke up this morning continuing to complain about their sore throat and stomach aches, which meant that Derek didn't get to leave for Outdoor Ed with his class. He doesn't seem upset, but I think it's sad! I hope he'll be feeling well, so we can drive him up there tomorrow. I'm beginning to wonder if they might have strep throat, though.

Gene ordered some $20 headphones from Amazon for me, and they make the Smule karaoke app useable for me again, which is great! I've been recording some songs while riding on the exercise bike: multitasking! I attempted to watch Fifty Shades Greyer (or is it Grayer?) On HBO, but it was bad, like the first one, and also not as productive.

Fingers crossed the kids will be feeling better tomorrow.

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Both the kids were sickish today. Celeste with a sore throat and stomach ache, and Derek with just a stomach ache. So they lounged on the couch most of the day watching Phineas and Ferb, Moana and Jurassic Park, while Gene and I worked.

While I was working, I watched Hudsucker Proxy, which I'd seen long ago and liked, and later Animal House, which I hadn't seen, and it had plentiful boobs. I watched The Notebook for the first time while I worked the other day, because from what I understand, it's the quintessential Nicholas Sparks, and as he is a frequent pop culture reference, I felt I should see for myself. In addition, I went on a 90s movie binge, watching Clueless with Gene (partially for Halloween costume ideas, but also because I love it) and later Gattaca and 12 Monkeys by myself while I worked. Forgot that Gattaca is significantly more uplifting than 12 Monkeys, and I should have watched it after 12 Monkeys, but didn't.

That mini golf birthday party photo shoot today was slightly annoying, but at least it wasn't smoky out. For some reason a random family of four decided to insert themselves after about half of our group had started on the golf holes, dividing the party in two. I felt it was very rude, but as the photographer, I didn't have much say. On top of that, the mom kept getting irritated at our party goers for not waiting long enough, and, admittedly, being a bit annoying - but what do you expect when you butt in line and divide up someone's birthday party? What a weird thing to do! It made it much more difficult for me to get photos of everyone, too.

We're supposed to go out to a nice dinner with Nana and family tomorrow night at Tamarine, an overpriced fancy restaurant in Downtown Palo Alto. It's so snobbish that you have to pay $25 per no-show if you don't call in advance to update your reservation! It used to be good, many years ago, but the last two times my parents went there, they complained that they were disappointed with their food, and Brittany and Lance also remember having a disappointing experience, with pricey, too-small portions. I'm not sure why this is the choice, but Nana's treating everyone, which is very nice of her, and I guess she doesn't mind. Our family is not a small portions kind of family. Hopefully the kids will be definitively better tomorrow, so we can all go, and avoid getting charged for not being there.

Well, it's quite late and I want to read a little, so time to wrap this up and then get some sleep!

Loquacious or loquat
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It doesn't make for the most in-depth or writerly entries, but this phone journaling seems to be working, at least for keeping a record of daily activities.

I'm still swamped with work, but I finished and emailed album links to all the members of the Sunnyvale Mom's Club that I photographed last weekend. Aha! Just caught a moth in my hand and squished it to dust. As I was saying, I got a lot of work done today, the kids got dropped off from school, Gene came home just after the kids and brought Asian Box for the two of us for lunch. I ate only half, so I'll enjoy a yummy lunch tomorrow!

Experiencing the fatigue of looking through several thousand photos, when my friend, Gabe, asked if I wanted to go to Milagros for dinner with him and Cathy, I decided it was a good opportunity to get out and have a break.

Milagros is so good! The yucca fries are amazing. My favorite. I stuffed myself silly, and chatted about interesting things with Gabe and Cathy -- karaoke, Butter, their trips to Costa Rica, Puerto Vallarta, Vegas, the KFCs moving into Ghana, among other things. As we were about to leave, Cathy received news via text message that the pumpkin carving party her family was planning to attend the next day was canceled, due to the fact that the daughter of one of the host's good friends had died in the wine country fires. So sad and scary.

I ate so much that I'm still uncomfortably full six hours later. Yikes.

Bracing ourselves for even worse air tomorrow, but hoping for the best.


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