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w October 31, 2007


Apparently I was one of the few who just felt our most recent teeny quake. The house did that snap and rattle thing again. Throw a little hum in there, and we've got ourselves a U2 song.

by Heather Hoffman at 4:01 PM

w October 30, 2007

Dorks, Playing Quake

Our house is built right down to bedrock, so we haven't felt many particularly noticeable earthquakes in the eight years we've been here; obviously there have been a few, but usually we'll just look up, at each other and say "uh...quake?" and back to the laptop or book. One that I remembered just for its weirdness was a couple of years ago: it was a quiet evening, Gene was traveling or otherwise not at home, Bean asleep, etc. All of a sudden, the house snapped like it was playing a game of Crack the Whip -- that was it. It was odd, though.

At any rate, we definitely felt the most recent 5.6 around Milpitas. Gershwin figured it out before we heard or felt anything; Gene got up and said "EARTHQUAKE" and I, being a little slow, as well as deafened between the TV and Gershy's barking, went "huh? whuh?". It then dawned on me what was happening, and I had that irrational split second of maternal angst where I thought "should I go to the kids?" before common sense kicked in and I just got in the doorway and waited it out with Gene. Needless to say, 5.6 isn't enormous, but it is apparently obvious, as evidenced by the flurry of IMs and emails we've both gotten in the ensuing fifteen minutes. "Dude, did you feel that?" was the basic gist.

Nothing happened except rattling glass, and my realization that I now have TWO children, and thus cannot go to both of them simultaneously, at least not if they are both asleep. Because yes, gentle readers: both our California girls slept right through it.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:14 PM

w October 29, 2007

Question Is, Will Parents Actually Read This

Or are they too busy with the flash cards and the endless loop of lessons and workshops and things to put on the Harvard application?

Read this article this morning, and it was an interesting counterpart to one I read the other day about the "dumbing down" of American youth (a self indulgent, alarmist article that I hated, for the record). In a way, having my first born not fall into any 'typical' category from birth has allowed me to stay out of that fray, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. I realized while pregnant with Peabo, that I could deal with a child that was just, you know...happy. And a good person. Do I want her to be able to support herself? Uh, yeah, my job should be effectively done in 18-22 years. But I'm not going to get freaking flash cards for her. She has a lot more fun playing with empty paper cups, my retractable cloth tape measure, and plain old alphabet blocks. And let's be honest, it's a lot easier on me, lazy slacker ass mom that I am. I do read to her, but she is more interested right now in just figuring out how the pages turn. And you know what? Whatevs. She's still learning cause and effect, and SHE is the one driving it.

I recognize, after reading this through, that I am kind of sounding like an equally smug parent, but at least I'm not yet a stressed out parent. I can handle that.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:39 AM

w October 27, 2007

best. PSA. ever.

It's longish, but you have to watch the whole thing. Seriously.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:07 AM

w October 24, 2007

Pimp My Casket

Forgot to mention the other day that I drove past a local funeral home, outside of which was parked a black, stretch...Hummer.

Nothing says eternal sleep like a blinged out behemoth, I guess.

by Heather Hoffman at 3:16 PM


This Whole Growing Up Thing

When I was about 16, my parents had this "farmhouse" in upstate New York that we were dragged to each and every summer, holiday, many weekends, etc. Please understand when I say "upstate New York", I don't mean attractive and Catskillian, I mean an hour south of Buffalo. Enough said. Anyway, occasionally they would invite friends, and that made it somewhat bearable, especially their friend Tony, who was a cellist, and ever so faintly mad. Also a very good cook. At any rate, I remember thinking Tony was fun, but like, so immature for his age. Gawd. He was probably about how old I am now, and I was reminded afresh of something he once said after bodysurfing on an iced over pond:

"On a good day, I'm 17".

At the time, all I could think was "how the hell could anyone want to be 17 if they didn't have to be?". High school was not my favorite time, needless to say. I understand it now, though, because in my head, I'm still 19 on a good day (college was rather better for me), and it comes as a frequent surprise when I'm faced with the reality of things, which is that I'm old enough to have a kindergarten-aged child, not to mention another screaming weasel. The good news is that today, after dropping Bean off and heading back to the car, what I actually thought was "this whole being a grown up thing is actually...OK. It's kind of fun to go through school all over again, and watching my two grow up is a hell of a lot more fun than going through it myself. I can deal with this." It helps when you can take pictures of this, when they are about a month shy of their first birthdays:


by Heather Hoffman at 3:05 PM

w October 22, 2007

OMG Where Are My Pants?

Or, "Thank You, Baby Jesus, For the Gift of Coffee and Hashbrowns".

Yeah. So the Hoffmans entertained last night, and it was a most fun event, but it also resulted in the Heather drinking just a tad more than she probably should have, on top of basically not having eaten substantially that day. I popped awake at 6 AM for no other reason than habit, but I was able to actually get the kids dressed and fed and the elder off to school. Thank God Peabo napped for about 1.5 hours when we got home. Of course, Gershwin also had a vet appointment at 9 AM.

Driving Bean to school was like hate mail from the solar system.

"Dear Heather,
Hi, let us bore into your retinas, even through your polarized sunglasses ALL THE WAY TO SCHOOL. F*** you!


Can I just say how much I appreciated McDonald's drive-thru? In hindsight, I should have just bought about four more hashbrowns, but the bacon/egg/cheese biscuit was quite tasty, and soaked up the nasty quite well, albeit temporarily. I am finally feeling somewhat close to approximating myself, and my darling, wonderful husband cleaned up as much of the kitchen as he could last night, probably assisted by our darling, wonderful friends, so here's a shout out to all. The Heather, she loves you.

Oh, and I found my pants.

(Oh, relax, Gene had made sure I didn't have to sleep in my jeans. I was just confused when I woke up at 6 and thought...whah?)

by Heather Hoffman at 3:50 PM

w October 19, 2007

This Is What Edumacation Does To You, People

It's been a hard week learning about the letter M and making pumpkins.


by Heather Hoffman at 5:39 PM

w October 18, 2007

Desperate Housewife

I realized today that I choose my drive-thru coffee location based on the presence of the hot, chatty barista who looks like a young Chow Yun-Fat.

I tell myself this is better than ordering useless effluvia off of QVC so that I can flirt with the UPS guy.

How much do I hope I get into the master's program? This much.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:31 AM

w October 15, 2007


Our kids go to bed pretty early, and bedtime is pretty consistent, barring the very occasional event or activity that requires getting home at hour X or Y (generally no later than 8 pm). I sometimes worry that I'm some sort of freak mother because of this fact; I'm not forcing them to go to bed (though Peabo would like to think so), I'm basing bedtime on precedent and result, frankly. It would seem, however, that a LOT of kids go to bed quite a bit later than ours, or have far more inconsistent bedtimes. Gene doesn't get to see the kids much except on the weekends, but I'm not going to keep them up until he gets home -- everyone will be fine.

Just read this article today, and if there is anything that underscores more my hatred of 'overscheduling' and parents who are afraid to be the "bedtime Nazi", I'd like to see it. Besides, if my kids weren't both in bed by 7 pm, I couldn't be zoning out on the couch with a glass of wine by 7:30.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:34 AM

w October 13, 2007

Strong Like Streetcar

I just got all the paperwork together for applying to the MLIS program at San Jose State (to start Fall '08), and while it has caused some of the 'stepping off a cliff' feeling, it is also pretty exciting. That's because I'm a dork, y'all, and things like old manuscripts and books no one has read in decades just get my motor running. I know. Stand back from the heat.

Anyway. In the midst of making sure I have all the requisite bits of paper lined up and good to go out with the post on Monday, I was trawling through the internships currently available through SLIS, as well as the SAA employment pages (and in passing, yes, I want to be an archivist, not necessarily the 'shush you are too loud and I am a bitter old prune' librarian. But I will contemplate 'hot librarian of bad porn'), and discovered an interesting fact. Most job postings have a criterion of "Must be able to lift 40 lb boxes" or words to that effect. Is it weird that I kind of like the idea of a job where I get to do both mental AND manual labor? I was realizing, though, that on any given day, I generally do lift 40+ lbs...of children. Boxes aren't wiggly, or smeary. Awesome.

I just wonder if that would work in a job application. "I am strong, like streetcar. Lift offspring like is little bunny rabbit".

by Heather Hoffman at 11:18 AM

w October 11, 2007

Bloggy Fun

Thank you to Steve, who sent this website as an addendum to my previous post re: "quotation marks".

by Heather Hoffman at 5:04 PM

w October 10, 2007


Tugged at, by eldest child home sick. She is not violently ill, nor is she likely to stay home all week, but the last two days, she's definitely had the 'sick look' that all parents know too well. Part of the issue for me is that she is now old enough to not be wailing or whinging all day, but to just sort of droop around and look sad. That, my friends, is far worse. I know rationally all I can do is make sure she's warm and hydrated and fed comfy foods as far as she can handle, liberally dosed with the offerings of Disney, Pixar, and Noggin TV. Irrationally, I just hate it when either kid is sick, because it makes me feel as though I've fallen down on the parenting job.

And it's not just that she is home from school and thus I have two to wrangle all day. Promise.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:56 AM

w October 09, 2007

Why Being An Adult Can Suck

Currently at Casa del Hoffman, a new dishwasher is being installed. It was supposed to have been installed on Sunday afternoon, a mere 24 hours after we said "Make it so" at the local shop. However. It would appear that the builder of this house, back in the halcyon days of 1989, installed the dishwasher and then put in the floors. The 3/4 of an inch thick wood floors. Yep. So, the regular installers get here with our shiny, new, admittedly expensive dishwasher and then said, oh, hey, no dice. Oh, and we can't put this brand in anyway because the water valve extrudes too far.

Grrrr. Growl. Grumble. So we bid farewell to our shiny, new, admittedly expensive dishwasher, and spend the rest of Sunday night trying to figure out how the hell we are going to circumvent this problem to get *any* dishwasher in, and let's not discuss getting the old crappy ghetto one OUT. I call the appliance store yesterday (Monday) and am told that actually, there will be no problems, once he sends out "Arnie the Wonder Installer". Excellent. Make it so.

Arnie and his henchman are here right now, and yes, he is Arnie the Wonder Installer. He had to cut the feet off the old dishwasher to get it out, but as I told him "do whatever you have to do. In fact, I hate that dishwasher so much, I'll do it for you". He laughed. He then went downstairs to look at the water heater for some mystical plumber reason, and informed me that we were going to need to do something about the brass valves on said, which are already leaking a little.
Oh huz-ZAH. That just made my day magical. Still, I'm willing to pay Arnie the Wonder Installer to fix our water heater sooner rather than later, because he got rid of the old crappy ghetto dishwasher. And my shiny, new, admittedly expensive one is just chomping at the bit to get in my house and wash my friggin' dishes.

But this is why being an adult sucks. APPLIANCES.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:52 PM

w October 06, 2007

There's Also Spinach

In plowing through my mountain of catalogs and magazines that have been amassing since I don't know when, I came across an ad for Diet Coke Plus. Yep, that's right. No sugar, AND vitamins and minerals! All in one convenient...soda.

I'm not a soda drinker anyway, but this really underscores why in my mind. They have these amazing things called "produce sections" at supermarkets. Yeah, it's harder to steam broccoli than crack open a can of Diet Coke, but if you're really concerned about your vitamins and minerals, and just have no time to even think about it, why not down a multi-vitamin instead? Hell, eat two Flintstones vitamins if you want "great taste".

Strange times, people.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:34 AM

w October 05, 2007

Kind Of The Anti-Previous Rant

For your Friday:

Kitteh Haz T

by Heather Hoffman at 4:06 PM


Daily Dose Of Snobbery

I just read that Oprah chose Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera for the next book club read. I don't watch Oprah, nor do I follow her book club proffering, but this one just made me laugh my fool head off.

Why? I read that book when I was FOURTEEN. I'm not that old, but trust me, that was a while ago. I hate hate hate this idea of "discovering" new books that have been around for upward of twenty years, like the author was just languishing in obscurity until the Queen of Talk Shows bestows her gold-plated endorsement. I have no particular beef with Oprah, and I applaud her for all her successes, but I really despise this idea that a celebrity has to tell you what to read. It's not quite as bad as listening to them to figure out your political views, but it's close. In a way, I suppose I should be glad that Garcia Marquez is becoming even more popular, but at the same time, I'm kind of chafing at the thought of him being the new hot ticket for a vast swath of people (ok, fine, middle aged suburban moms who read probably one book per month or year or however often Oprah tells them to) who don't know the difference between Colombia and Columbus.

Before anyone jumps on me in the comments section, I am fully accepting and embracing my bitchy literary snobbishness here, so feel free to sling mud, but rest assured I will turn my nose up at it.

PS As I read the article more carefully, without the spewing vitriol, I discover that One Hundred Years of Solitude was a former pick. To which I say, the above still stands. Whatevs.
PPS Reading through the book club selections since 1996 on Wikipedia. It is still fueling my vitriol, but in an almost comical way. Anna Karenina? FOURTEEN. The Good Earth? TWELVE. William Faulkner's oeuvre? TWELVE. Toni Morrison's? TWELVE. I think I might need to just tack a sign on my forehead now that reads "Pretentious and obnoxious, was allowed unfettered access to the library at an impressionable age". Christ.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:24 AM

w October 03, 2007

Paradox of the Day

On the one hand, uniforms are extremely convenient at 6:30 am when I am trying to get two hungry weasels dressed and fed.

On the other, ironing pleats is a pain in the ass.

by Heather Hoffman at 6:37 PM

w October 01, 2007

Funniest Thing I Heard Today

So yeah, I'm zombie-ing in front of the TV, but the kids are in bed, and I may just open a bottle of wine. This advert comes on for some sort of "European weight loss formula" which shills itself and then says "If it wasn't true, we couldn't say it on TV!!!!!"

Snerk. Mfffmf. BWA HA HA HA HA HA.

by Heather Hoffman at 6:22 PM


Children: Bottomless Pits Of Money Sink

I was dropping off an extraneous stroller to a friend today whose elder two children attend a local preschool, we begin chatting about said, etc. And she reminded me that, should we want Peabo to attend preschool, now would be a good time to get her on some waiting lists. Let's also remind ourselves that the youngest age preschools usually accept is 2 years, 9 months. So that is a good what, 22 months away? Yeah. Um. Hm. I don't doubt that what she is saying is true, it just startled me a tad. And then she told me how much they pay. Which is not the most expensive in Redwood City or surrounding. I admit I threw up a little in my mouth...does Peabo *really* need to be around other children for three hours a day, twice a week? Couldn't I just let her, I dunno, run around the dog park for a while or something?

Sigh. We'll do it, of course, and should I be accepted to my master's program of choice, it really would help to have a couple hours per week where I could get reading done, etc. It does point out, however, that we had it pretty easy with Bean. Because of her disabilities, basically someone came to us and said 'here is where she should be going in the fall and we'll walk you through everything'. And we didn't have to write a check, ever. Okay, granted, our taxes were paying for it (and yours, thank you), but it was pretty idiot-proof. Now I'm actually going to have to visit preschools. And market my child, and us. And...ew. It's going to be even worse if it becomes more clear that she is her father's daughter and thus will not be able to cope with public school, so we'll have to start the private school preschool finagling and oh my god and maybe I'll just go live on a commune where there are hordes of other children and THAT will be how she gets socialization time.

Heather, back to normal. I recognize this is hardly an epic tragedy, and god knows we don't *have* to do it, but just to even have to think about it is taxing on my brain this Monday early afternoon. So I think I'm going to have a third cup of coffee and maybe fossick around in the kitchen for something bad for me to eat.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:17 PM