Friday, July 29, 2005


Listening to bird sounds, waves, and music. Dane was really excited about this stuff. He kept yelling about how great the audio was, not really aware that he was yelling across the visitor's center with his earphones on.


Aubrey sat at the high stool in front of the fragrance bottles for about twenty minutes, repeatedly pulling out the stoppers and inhaling the fumes of four local scents: Fennel, Yarrow, Sage, and Wild Rose. She says wild rose is her favorite.

At the Touch Table (with the terrific sign "Please Touch") we used the provided magnifying lenses to examine coral, rocks, wood and bones. The table offered a wide array of labeled bones from animals like racoons, deer and cows, with body parts like femurs, skulls, pelvises, ribs and antlers.


Mick had a few hours to spare Sunday morning before spending the rest of the day studying. It was sunny here in Sausalito so we climbed in the van and drove up to Rodeo Beach. The weather there is typically 10-20 degrees cooler than here on the bay and often overcast/foggy. That was the case Sunday, and, for some ridiculous reason, we were surprised. Wearing shorts and light jackets, we all wimped out; instead of running around on the beach, we drove up to the Bird Island overlook and Marin Headlands Visitor's Center overlooking Rodeo Beach.

At Bird Island we watched pelicans soar through the gray skies. Nobody else seemed very impressed with the birds, but I have to admit that I was. I don't think I've seen pelicans before moving to this area. Are there pelicans in Washington? How'd I miss them? Whatever the case, we all liked seeing the island's white bird poop a little closer and listening to the various fog horn blasts sounding off the water.

The visitor's center was full of hands-on exhibits as well as a small game area. We spent at least an hour there learning about the Miwok (local natives) and there Kotcha shelters made of reeds and grass. Displays also revealed the area's history as settled by Portugese dairy farmers and Spanish Vaqueros. Mick and Dane played sea animal dominoes while Aubrey and I took whiffs of local plants from fragrance bottles and examined items at the Touch Table.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Last Monday, July 18:

*Aubrey at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook on a windy, clear morning.

*Dane at Rodeo Beach (a 10 minute drive from our house) in front of an island he thought looked like a lion. We later learned its name and some local knowledge from a park ranger, and now Dane says, "You know what's really cool? It's called Bird Island and it's white because the birds poop all over it."

*Alcatraz from the same Golden Gate overlook. Haven't explained that place to the kids yet.

*Aubrey at Rodeo Beach. We meant to do our first local hike (a 1.5 mile walk around Rodeo Beach Lagoon) but we got as far as the sand and the kids made a stick/rock snowman and gathered shiny tiny pebbles for an hour instead.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005

Hey Everyone,

Here’s the rundown on how rundown the family is after a few weeks in San Fran/Sausalito. There’s a sign on the inside of our door which says, “Chaos is O.K…. for July”. Anj wrote that to help remind us to keep relaxed in the midst of the mess here at home. We’re almost done unpacking, but 3 bedroom 2 car garage stuffed into 2 bedrooms and a storage closet doesn’t leave much room for crap in the sack, if you know the colloquialism... huh? Those of you who’ve had the distinct pleasure of living with me in the past know my predilection for crap collection, so it hasn’t been easy. Luckily we have 2 bathrooms in our apartment…

We live on the “south side of the tracks”, which, for Sausalito, is still pretty nice. Pretty ethnically diverse neighborhood, which is cool considering that just about everyone getting this email is almost as fishbelly white as me. Haven’t had the full welcome wagon treatment yet, but we’ve managed to hook up with the Javadi family. Cyrus is also a dental student at Pacific and we carpool in to school together with a couple others every morning. I originally met him online in a student doctor website and found out about our apartments from him. He’s a bit older than the average student (still 10 years younger than me) and has a pretty diverse history as well. He has a wife, Annie and three daughters, which is no end of joy for Aubs, but Dane’s yet to hook up with a kid his age. He’s signed up for a skyhawks sports camp in a couple weeks. Jeez, I just started misting up thinking of my little guy having fun on the field…

As for school, we spent the last week being welcomed to Pacific, and most of the Friday and Saturday before that in one orientation or another. We were issued pretty nice PC laptops, got a chance to bust out our handpieces and do some carving, and are in the midst of handcarving a #9 permanent maxillary central incisor out of piece of wax this week. That’s the left one of the top front two in your mouth, for those of you who haven’t gone to dental school. Gross Anatomy starts in earnest later this week, when we get to meet our cadavers. Heard about a group last year who got a 400 lb cadaver. I guess his organs were really enlarged which was nice for dissection, but they had to cut through a lot of fat to get to them. We were also issued a rental skull and two 60 lb boxes of books which will last through this year. Everything from Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry to Pathways of the Pulp (a root canal textbook). The entire 143 member class of 2008 goes through all of our classes together, so it should be pretty easy to get into a decent study group. I know it was helpful in my undergrad and comeback tour to have that kind of support.

Anyway, gotta go study. Thanks for all the support and well wishes at the multiple Bellingham farewell parties. It feels like we left a bit of ourselves back there (especially on the floor at Cap Hansen’s) and we can’t wait to see family and friends again.


July 21, 2005--Dane and Aubrey
These guys are living it up here in *Fran Sancisco.* They've made new friends, mostly the girls in a fellow dental student family (ages 2, 4, and 6). Dane loves playing with them but informs me he still wants to find a boy friend. He's met a couple around the complex, but maybe he'll meet more this summer at one of the camps/lessons he's signed up for. As of yesterday, Dane and Aubrey are signed up for 8 swim lessons each (Aubs'll be a Jellyfish, Dane a Pollywog). Dane's also signed up for Skyhawks Mini-hawks Sports Camp. August 15-19 he'll play soccer, basketball and t-ball from 9am-noon every day. He can hardly wait. We just picked up a 25cent mitt at a rummage sale.

Still trying to figure out finances, loans, aid, to determine whether/how to send the kids to pre-school in the fall. There's plenty to do here if I don't (and wait until Dane attends Kindergarten Fall 2006), but there's something important I value in school/social scene. Even if the kids are in a co-op for two half-days a week (or something), I think they'd really benefit from the additional interactions. That said, though, if it doesn't work out, San Francisco's an exciting place to explore, educating the kids at beaches, on hikes, in water, in museums, and in parks while they play. There's always the thought in the back of my mind that they'll be in school for the next 13 years anyway (or 30 if they're like they're daddy!) so I think I'll be fine to just not stress too much about it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

July 20, 2005--A Brief First Entry

We left Bellingham on June 19th, arrived here in Sausalito the 22nd. Obviously, since four full, busy, exciting, draining weeks have passed, it's difficult to cover everything; I'll just start writing for now and see what shows up.

We're settling into our third/top floor 2BR 2BA apartment quite well. There's something about small spaces that's lovable: utilizing wall space, cupboards, closets, highs, lows, insides and outsides creatively is a rewarding challenge to meet. The loft beds in the kids room seem like our best idea so far: Aubrey's got a little table, hanging cupboard, stove/kitchen set under hers--they call it "the cabin"--and Dane's got his train table under his. For a room that's only about 12'x12', they've got plenty of floor space. I haven't unpacked all their toys yet either. It feels a bit sneaky on my part, but I've mostly left the stuff they don't miss unless they see it (all stuffed animals, lame books, random gadgets) so the room stays clean and organized. Dane likes to help me "organize" it nearly every day by putting like objects into their separate bins; Aubrey's not so interested.

Mick started school at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni Dental School (a.k.a. "Pacific") on July 11. It seems they're laying some basic foundations for future learning right now, so it's not the challenge and commitment it will be in perhaps a week or two. That doesn't mean the 9 hours of daily classes doesn't wear the little tiger out, though--he's always loved a good evening nap that you can't shake him from. When he gets home some time between 4:30 and 6pm, he's got a few things he works around his naps: dinner, reading/playing/wrestling/biking with the kids, walking to 7-11 for sugar-free Slurpees, checking ebay for misspelled superior espresso machines that might miraculously sell for a song, or donning his riding gear for a solo cycle. Around 9 he seems to start to study, whether that means carving a wax tooth, reviewing notes for a quiz, organizing his folders in his laundry room "office," logging onto his laptop, or home roasting coffee beans on his AirPopperII. I think he goes to bed around 1 and gets up at 6.

So far, Mick's been a relaxed, mellow, happy, fun student/dad/husband/guy. If there's any stress about school, it's probably been manifested more in me, and then, perhaps, only once: I woke up yesteday morning with my stomach in knots. I'd dreamt I hadn't graded all my English 202 essays and that I hadn't prepared my class lectures/activities. When I came out of my grog, I realized I was nervous about Mick's first quiz (to be held that day); what really seemed significant to me, though, was that I realized that I felt those same knots almost every night/morning while I was teaching at Western and taking care of the kids as Mick was doing his pre-req's in Bellingham these past three years. Now that I'm not teaching, life seems like a vacation! Perhaps in 6 months or so I'll try to take on a comp course at a local community college part-time--but just one... For now, I'm happy to make sack lunches, keep the house organized/clean, play with the kids, and read books.

Since we arrived, I've read A Conspiracy of Paper, The Bookseller of Kabul, and something else... can't remember. I just checked out some Leo Tolstoy and Salman Rushdie to see what all the buzz is about. Anyway, the Marin Free Library is right across the street--right across the street! Dane and Aubrey have 32 books checked out right now, and we're all reading like crazy (well, the kids are learning their alphabets and we're working on getting them to recognize words). The Librarians are divine--storytime is held with deep voiced, smiling Eva; I check my books out from sturdy gray-haired scratchy voiced Elizabeth who's read just about everything I chat with her about--and I can't wait to join the monthly book club when it starts meeting again in September.

This is enough for now. I'm sure I've neglected far too many important aspects of our life here ; hopefully I'll be able to include them soon.