June 18 , 2005

March started off with a major plumbing problem in the addition: our washing machine, half bath, and eventually Val's bath were out of commission for almost a week. Turned out to be a clog right where the new met the old. We're keeping an eye on it to make sure it's not a systemic problem.

We had a small surprise/cake party for mom on March 8th, and Val, Susan, and I chipped in to get her a good digital camera. She's still figuring out how to use it.

We spent March getting the girls' rooms together. First I had to pack up everything from their closets and mine and we had the painters in for their rooms and all of our closets. Then we had closet organizers installed and could put everything back... that was a difficult week with 8 wardrobe boxes strewn about the living room.Then we finished the painting and carpeting in their rooms, and took a couple of weeks to find the correct window coverings. It all resulted in beautiful green and blue rooms for them, and Haley moving into the other bedroom. The girls are thrilled about the having their own rooms, and I'm thrilled because I've been able to move most of their toys into their rooms and out of the family room. We also gave their bathroom a facelift, with a new floor, paint, mirrored medicine cabinets, and lights. See the final result of this phase of construction here.

Susan came for a visit early in March, all by herself. That was fun.Then two weeks later the girls and I went up to her house for a visit. It was good to see everyone!

Once again, I judged the St. Patrick's Day parade. I've been doing this for about 20 years now! It's great because I only do a few parades a year, but it keeps me in the loop. One of these days I'll expand to other competitions; when I have more time (the mothers' mantra, right?).

The following week we went to the Purim Carnival at the temple. The more we do with the temple, the more I enjoy being part of that community. Haley will start religious school in the fall.

That same week we had two of my colleagues from Bangalore, India, Rejeeb and Kannan, working at my office, and we had them over for dinner one night. They had never been in an American home before, and were fascinated with the wood-frame construction (and therefore allowed us to bore them with our construction photos). The children were fascinated with them, and our visitors were very sweet to the girls. Haley actually got very upset when they had to go.

We gutted my bathroom at the end of March, and I had to move out of my bedroom at that time. I was "homeless" until the carpet installation on May 21, with the living room once again serving as the storage area, this time for my bedroom and bathroom stuff. Getting dressed in the lliving room got very old after two months... glad that part is over. See pictures here, with more coming.

The first week in April I spent 5 days in Portland, Oregon at the CHI conference. It was hard work, going to the conference all day and keeping up with work email, but it was worth it for the professional training and time away. I also met up with some women from Portland, referred by friends, so I had a very fun time. Val watched the girls for a couple of days, which was great for everyone.

On April 22, Katelyn had her first piano recital at the Spring Valley Elementary Variety Show. After a rocky start to "Ode to Joy", she did well, and we were very proud of her.

The following day we had 23 people over for Passover, including: Mom, Glynis, Susan, Susan, Joel, Lee, Joe, Jennifer, Selena, Terry and her daughter Carmen, Kathie, Joanie, Tim, Eric, Val's friend Helen, Katelyn's friend Kendall, and her sister Shayna.

The following weekend was my friend Judy's 60th birthday. We planned a surprise celebration. We got she and her girlfriend Donna a suite at the Hyatt Regency in SF and spent some time in the afternoon playing poker there. Then a bunch of us met up for dinner across the street at One Market Restaurant.

I attended the PBWC Conference on May 3. What an amazing experience, surrounded by all of those powerful and competent women! I found it very inspirational.

On Friday, May 13, Val and I left for a week's vacation in Italy. Her mother and stepfather, Erika and Charles, have an apartment in Giove, in Tierny, about an hour north of Rome. They stay there for 6 weeks at a time, four times a year, and we caught them at the beginning of their spring visit.They were incredibly gracious hosts. We stayed in their guest room, and they were wonderful tour guides. We went to Bomarzo, Spiletto, Rome, and several other towns. Erika is an art historian, quite well-known in her field, and she knew simply everything about the artwork we were seeing. For example, we spent a long time in the Sistine Chapel as Erika told us the story about its painting and about many of the individual frescoes. She told us about spending time up on scaffolding seeing it up close as it was being restored, and about the history of the chapel, the painter, and the art itself. It really made the whole trip come alive. Oh, and not only did they take us to some wonderful restaurants, Erika is such a great cook that memories of the food will figure prominently in what was a delightful first trip to Italy. (See some individual pictures of the trip on mine and Val's pages. All of the pictures are coming soon...)

The following week was filled with small things around the house: a broken garbage disposal, a broken freezer which needed replacing, the open house at Katelyn's school, and an in-home consultation for window coverings for mine and Val's rooms.

I went to see Grandma Frances on June 11, after which I went to Joe's graduation from UCSD. He'll be moving to San Francisco shortly to start a job there.

Last night our friends Michelle and Giovanni and their daughters Ariella and Miriam joined the girls and me for Tots and Torah at the temple, then came over to see the house. It was fun to show it all off again!

That's all for now...