Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Buhbye PES Building!

Welp...I moved all my stuff out of my office on Monday night. Eddie came along because I promised him some show-watching time while I packed the boxes (and Dave wanted some Eddie-free time to pack the trailer).

I moved into this office in January 2010 when I returned from PELP/maternity leave. Eddie was a wee 4.5 months old then. 

This post comes to you via my old desk during a coffee break, which I'm using through the end of today. I have to complete a few more lab tasks (lignin and cellulose extractions plus some Costech tin loading) before we depart permanently for Gualala, but otherwise I'm done with the desk work for the time being.  We found out this morning that my PI did not get the department chair position he'd been fighting for, which is a huge bummer for him.  Us students, however, are a little (lot) relieved because it means his current focus on us will remain.  Whew.

Dave hauled my boxes of desk/office stuff up to the Coast House but in a few weeks I'll set up shop in the water company office.  I will write my dissertation at an abandoned desk in the corner of the seldom-used conference room and I will work in the water office one day a week.  It turns out that there are a few volunteer opportunities that I can fill too much time with, so I'll have to pick one or two and save the rest for post graduation (a couple of farms, visitor's center, library, school).
Me in the emptiness compared to only two months ago.
And because I'm too lazy to write another post about it, here's a bit about Father's Day.

Sunday was Father's Day and I took some cute pictures of Eddie and Dave that evening.  Eddie had just given Dave a card from school and four lollipops--one of which Eddie declared was actually for himself. Ah, kids.

I LOVE these new Picasa gif's!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Retroactive Post: Spring Break on the Coast

Whoa, I realized I never posted about our 10 days in Gualala back at the end of March.

Since we move there in about 3 weeks and I finally have a moment to spare, I'll post about it now.

I decided that it'd be good for Eddie to be up on the coast with Dave again, to give Eddie an idea of what it'll be like once we live there permanently. He hadn't attended the "big day care" there since the previous summer and we'd never slept downstairs at the Coast House before. So I figured out when I'd be done with my winter quarter TA duties and finalized all the spring quarter things (updating the syllabus, posting stuff to the class website, etc.) and found 9 days when we could be there.

Next, of course, I made a long "to do" list for myself and for Dave to accomplish that week.  I quickly realized that we needed my dad up there with us to do some of the work so I begged asked him to come with us. He relented agreed so Eddie and I picked him up in Livermore before heading north. Dave had been driving the van every week so he could take loads of stuff to the new house. That left me with the Saturn--i.e., the tiniest car ever. So we swapped cars with my mom and packed  her station wagon TO THE BRIM.
We had boxes of stuff to move into the house, a Costco run, a Lowe's run (including fragile seedlings), seedlings from my dad's greenhouse, luggage, one dog, two adults, and one child. 
We arrived on Saturday and the guys started working/planning immediately. The week FLEW by, with only a few things on my "to do" list finished. (At least they were some of the bigger things!)  I'd planned on having a day or two to work on my school stuff but that...totally didn't happen.
Saturday afternoon there was a burn practice going on at the airport. Papa John let the volunteer FD burn the fields on the south and north ends of the runway. It was cool to see them using the fuel-drip fire starters.
The guys removed an old intercom box downstairs and Eddie was fascinated that he could see into the office closet.
The view as we left the garden. You'll recall my horror at the view upon returning two months later.
Most of my time was spent with my dad, gardening. So...basically the best combination ever.  We tilled, double-dug, amended with composted horse manure, tilled again, irrigated, and planted to our heart's contents.
My dad, standing in the garden. 
He kept remarking shouting to me about how DIFFERENT it is to garden up on the coastal ridge. Maybe he was talking about the lack of rocks in the soil??????  =)
A typical weeknight while I prepared dinner.
Papa John asked me to get him a microscope at the UCD Bargain Barn before I came up. I've always wanted one so he said we could keep it at the Coast House for me and Eddie to use. Woooooo!  My dads spent a night looking at fibers, water, saliva, etc.
One night we looked outside after it rained and saw a bright rainbow reflecting in the Gualala River. If that wasn't spectacular enough, a double rainbow developed.
If the local paper printed in color I would have sent this to them. It was so lovely.
The best part of the whole week was the Eddie had TWO grandfathers in the house AT THE SAME TIME (at least at night when Papa John was over for dinner).
That is a one content little kid.
The following Friday Edward arrived in town via bike. Yes, person-powered BIKE. He biked from SF to Healdsburg on Thursday, spent the night at a place he found on and spent Friday navigating the desolate Fish Rock Road. He was tired and starving when he arrived (duh) so we immediately went to a logging site and roasted sausages, hot dogs, and marshmallows for dinner over a fire Papa John made for us.
We had dinner on the fire twice that week, actually; Monday and again when Uncle Edward arrived.  My dad enjoyed it so much he was the one who requested the second time!
I have to admit, I love cooking over the fire.
My dad had NEVER EVER EVER made s'mores before. He'd roasted marshmallows but never combined them with chocolate and graham crackers. Isn't that CRAZY?
Friday when Edward arrived in town.
Late that night, my mom and Jennifer drove into town and spent the Easter weekend with us. Saturday we made a delicious GF breakfast and then my mom took Edward, Jennifer, Eddie, and me to the Sea Ranch to walk on the trail. It was a lovely, breezy day.  One of the photos I snapped that day will be used for our "we've moved" announcement cards.

Auntie Jennifer and Uncle Edward at the Sea Ranch.
Eddie and Uncle at the Sea Ranch.
Eddie has learned that my mom is not a "rough play" person so he always finds a comfy spot in the house and asks her to read to him for a long time. The house was quiet after our Sea Ranch trail walk and I found them snuggled up in the upstairs. I crept in without him noticing and took a picture.
It was a pretty fantastic and productive, yet exhausting, week. As is usually the case, we ended up staying one extra night/day so that Dave and my dad could finish up some work on the house that Dave wasn't 100% sure he could do on his own (at least without a zillion phone calls to my dad).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five Generations

I got to see my Uncle Bill and Aunt Bev today with my mom.  We went to their house to visit and took them out to lunch.  My uncle is recovering from surgery and seems to be doing quite well, which is awesome.

Before we left, Uncle Bill gave me a chair that used to belong to my Great Great Grandma Clara Atwood Cain Gillmore and then to my Great Grandma Bessie Gillmore Halliday.  He even had two photos of Bessiert sitting in the chair, right after it'd been reupholstered by her kids for her birthday.  She's sitting in front of her house on the main drag in Point Arena.  The house is still standing as you see on the left side of the photo (see?) and I point it out to Eddie when we drive by.

And he also gave us a baby blanket from their 1940s infancy.  As if that wasn't sweet enough, he also gave me a copy of a photo of him and my mom in 1943 sitting on the blanket.  Ahhhhhhhhhh! I told him I'll make sure to pose my future children on the same blanket someday.
It's a small rocker, perfect for me.
We think this is a hand colored 1943 photo.  The blanket coloring is a little off, but we know it's the same blanket.

Left: Bessie on the chair with Della, Joe, and Roy Higgins (no relation, the upholsterer). Right: Great Grandma Bessie on her chair.  Apparently, she usually refused to have her photo taken so these are rare pictures of her (notice that she wouldn't even face the camera).
So the main point of this post is to admit that I forgot about the Hallidays.  Oops.

My mom is Point Arena Halliday; her family goes way back in that area (1870s).  Dave's family is from Gualala back to his maternal great grandparents who emigrated from Italy in 1890.

And in my last post I stated that Eddie would be the third generation in his family to attend Arena Elementary.  WRONG.  My aunt and uncle kindly reminded me that I'd forgotten about all those Hallidays who attended for generations!  So Eddie is actually the fifth continuous generation in "his family" to attend there.

Relative to Eddie, in order:

1. Bessie (Gillmore) Halliday--maternal great great grandmother and
1. Joseph Henry Halliday--maternal great great grandfather
2. Rex Halliday--maternal great grandfather (plus all his siblings)
3. John Henry Bower--paternal grandfather
4. David Dominic Bower--father

Third or fifth generation, it's still a lot for one school!  I think it's pretty neat.

So all of this reminds me that while I may complain about moving to the boonies, at least they're OUR boonies.  This coastal land is steeped in our history--the Bowers, Hallidays, Gillmores, Gianolis.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Memorial Day Week: Moving, Unpacking, and Espresso

Last week we were in Gualala so I could get all/most/some of the stuff unpacked and put away. For weeks and weeks Dave has been hauling stuff up there and unloading it into the house--anywhere into the house, generally.

There was no class to teach on Monday because of the holiday and I didn't need to be there for Wednesday's lecture so I just had to cancel discussion section for the week (with permission, of course). We were considering cancelling it anyway since the students flew through their collage presentations the week before.


Eddie, Ruby, and I packed the van to the brim with kitchen stuff (pantry items and cookware) and dirty laundry to wash and wear up there. We made a stop at Costco and stuffed that in there, too.  The orange trailer was loaded with both rototillers, paving stones, gardening tools, and Eddie's bike.  I tried to load the big red tiller alone but lost my nerve so my friend Danny stopped by to help.  I'm so glad to have the majority of the stuff from the gardening shed moved!

We had a leisurely Saturday morning in Davis, allowing Eddie to play with the neighbors until they had to leave for a party across town.  I gave all of us pedicures, prepared snacks, and took a long shower before the long drive.  With a couple of pit stops on the way and a heavily weighted down van, it took us about 4.5 hours to get there.

The weekend was spent unpacking boxes, installing bookcases, packing up the random cookware in the Coast House kitchen and replacing it with our own (much, much nicer) stuff.  I still dislike the glass top stove but it cooking is easier with pans that aren't bent and bulging on the bottom.

A lot happened during the week:

  • Eddie went to "big daycare" each day up in Point Arena where he hung out with his friend, Mason, and made some new friends
  • I got a library card for the Coast Community Library--such a teeny tiny little thing!  It's in the building that used to be owned by my second cousin twice removed (I think?) and operated as a general store in there.  Eddie and I checked out some books for him one evening after daycare. 
  • I rented us a PO box so now we can receive mail.  The Coast House is not on the mail delivery route, even though I can basically SEE the post office from the front door.  Weird.
  • I got my W-4 forms and health insurance forms from Papa John so I can work for the family enterprises. There's a spare desk in the back room where I can work on my dissertation, too. 
  • We had a land line phone installed. It's only local so we can't even call "local" cell phones but it should work for the water company alarm systems for when Dave's on call. We get cell reception at the house to make other calls as needed.
  • My dad gave me this old phone, which we had on Amherst in Livermore in the 1980's. Eddie'll probably the only kid in his class who knows how to literally DIAL a phone.
  • I spent 2 (!!) hours on the phone with USAA to get our insurances in order--home owner's transferred to a renter's policy and starting a tenant occupied property policy for the Davis house. 
  • Eddie's preschool forms were submitted to Arena Elementary School. He'll be the third generation of Bowers going to that school. My mom and his Papa John went there as well as Dave and Uncle Michael. I thought maybe it'd have been the fourth generation but Tutu Ida (John's mother) went to a one room school out in the hills east of Point Arena where all of the Italian homesteader ranching families went.  Update: Duh, I totally forgot to tally up all the Hallidays who went to that school, too!  My Uncle Bill reminded me that Eddie is actually the FIFTH generation in my family to attend. 
  • We attended a BBQ that's been happening for 47 years as a sort of reunion for a group of abalone diver guys and their families and friends. John helped the organizer find a suitable location after their previous location didn't work out anymore. So every year John supplies the firewood and starts the fires for them and in exchange we all get to attend to mingle, meet new people, and eat LOADS of amazing foods--including lots of abalone and smoked salmon.  
  • I weeded the garden for a total of about 6 hours over the course of the week. We did NOT have much success with seed germination this year because it wasn't watered regularly, I think.  It's okay with me because if we hadn't made the garden in March and planted all that stuff we'd've had NOTHING to work with now.  As it is, we have plenty of dill, fennel, potatoes, chard, garlic, and tomatoes.  I know it's late in the season, but I did get some peat pots and start some basil, zucchini, and beans that Dave can plant in a couple of weeks (fingers crossed!).
  • Dave and I spent way too much time deliberating on flooring options for the Coast House downstairs living area. We got bids from three tile installers but are still deciding on what to do because it's sooooooooo expensive but it'd be sooooooooooo much easier to have someone else do it. Hopefully Dave'll finish that process this coming week.
And now: pictures of the week. I didn't take many because we were too busy.
Eddie burned off some energy on the drive up by playing on the trailer and tillers while I sipped an iced latte at the Petaluma Starbucks.

Who needs Starbucks when you find this thing in the house?  Dave got it working and we thoroughly enjoyed steamed milk drinks and espresso all week long.  He looks silly in this picture because I told him to look as excited as I felt about having that espresso maker working.  He pretty much nailed it.
We enjoyed that espresso maker so much we decided to 'Amazon Prime' (yes that's a verb now, like to Google) us some flavored syrups.
An afternoon snack of cinnamon raisin rolls and a latte.  I could get used to this!
I don't know how I ended up with this gif thing but isn't it cute?! There was a doe and her twin babies right outside the kitchen window one evening.  Eddie and I enjoyed watching them nurse and jump around afterward.
I was looking out the window on Monday while it was drizzling and found Eddie playing outside on the deck. He didn't see me up in the kitchen as he yelled and hollered to himself about saving the drowning pirate or whatever. I made a yelling sound and he didn't know where it came from so he mimicked the sound and looked around underneath him. I made the sound again and he yelled again, too. This happened a few times until I giggled while yelling and he finally saw me.  Such a cutie.
Most nights Papa John ate dinner with us and he'd read stories to Eddie while I cooked. It was very sweet.
Per Papa John's request, I made crab and garlic bread for dinner one night. It was good, but not as good as the warm Brussels sprouts salad I served that night.

Garden, day 1.  You can see that Dave had done some weeding the week before (thanks, Lover!).
Garden, day 1.
Garden, day 2.
Garden, day 2.
Garden, day 3.  I was about 2 beds short of finishing, still needed to weed wack and till the walk ways, and mulch everything with a thick layer of horse manure compost.  I guess Dave will have to do that for me this coming week. 
Garden, day 3. I heavily watered the tomatoes and gave fish emulsion to the tomatoes, peppers, and two wimpy zucchini plants Dave uncovered from the weeds. Hopefully they'll really take off now.
I found a dead snake among the weeds one day; Dave thinks maybe I stepped on it because it looked fine. Eddie thought it was pretty cool and asked us to keep it. I hung it on the fence to dry; hopefully it'll still be there when we return.
So that was our week in a nutshell.  We'll return FOR GOOD in about 4-5 weeks. And I can't wait.  I met some really nice moms while I was out and about in Gualala and Point Arena so I have playdates and friendships to look forward to, in addition to finally living together as a family.