Saturday, December 31, 2005

What a break between quarters should be

After Mick's first day back to school second quarter, he came home and said he felt just the way he thought he should feel while sitting in his first day of classes: refreshed and ready. Many of his classmates had spent that first break flying home and busily visiting relatives, which was great, of course, but they came back not quite refreshed or ready for school.

We stayed home that break, though, and Mick slept, rode his bike, played with the kids, and even took a getaway with me to a B&B while his mom watched the kids. We had a low stress, low expectation week, and Mick said he wanted to feel as good on the first day of any future quarter as he felt that first day of second quarter.

As a result, we've purposefully spent this break with minimal plans. We've gone a few places locally, but with no hard schedule, and we've kept a carefree pace with friends and visiting relatives (blog soon to come). We've spent a couple of days lounging around in pajamas, Mick's been able to stay up late and get up late, we've watched a number of movies, played Sudoku, and made lots of egg nog lattes.

Third quarter is reputably the most difficult quarter of dental school at Pacific. It sounds like Mick will need to feel as ready as possible for it (more 120 hour "work" weeks). The kids and I are already getting used to the idea that we might not see much of him until his next break in March.

Friday, December 30, 2005

by aubrey and dane

Christmas Eve
We sat down for the traditional Thai Thigh Christmas Eve dinner (ha) for our first Christmas in California. The kids set the table, and, on a whim, we all chose to wear nice clothes for the meal. Our neighbors, Melanie and Greg (Greg's the one who offered to help us move up three flights of stairs all day when we moved here in June just because he had nothing else going on that day), gave us sugar cookies with frosting and edible stickers as well as a non-dairy homemade chocolate mousse pie, which we ate for dessert.

The kids opened up two gifts each before bed (a night-before-Santa-arrives tradition Mick is unfamiliar with, but I'm trying to get him to adjust to): homemade pajamas from Mema and flannel sheets (moose, snowmen) from Grammy. Then the kids set out their half-eaten slices of pie (Santa didn't mind) and a carrot for the reindeer before settling in for bed around 7.

Christmas Day
The kids got up at 8 (very bizarre since they usually get up at 7, but perhaps the midnight bedtime two nights earlier after a visit with the Javadis was catching up with them) and we opened gifts for an hour. The kids came up for air a couple times, but played for the rest of the day with (1) a new house and Calico Critters kittens, and (2) a castle, knights, horses, dragon and troll. We think the kittens spent the bulk of the day bunked up in the castle with a dragon in a party hat patroling the premises. We also listened to Christmas carols and talked about the reason we celebrate the holiday.
Bay Area Freebies


On the first Wednesday of each month, the Exploratorium offers free admission to the public. We arrived when the museum opened that morning and stayed for three hours. The place was packed, but since we got a good parking spot and expected lots of people, it was exciting anyway.

Dane was fascinated by the "decaying animal" display. Inside a terrarium, a turtle and a white mouse were decaying (at different stages). At a computer terminal, a bird, a mouse, and a rabbit could be viewed during the decaying process at time elapsed rates. Gross but intriguing.

Aubrey wanted to pop the four foot high bubble wall created by a machine. (We saw something similar when we visited the children's museum in Lafayette, LA.)


We missed registration for the $15 gingerbread extravaganza held at the Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) where we have a membership, which was disappointing since the stores had been out of gingerbread kits for a week before I realized it; however, we were relieved to learn that Berkeley's children's museum (almost past visiting ages for our kids, but not quite) had a free day on December 21st. Mick and I took the kids and they helped decorate a giant community gingerbread house (but mostly they ate the frosting) with about two hundred other kids. Then they comandeered rockets and painted their faces.

Santa Comes to Sausalito

Dane and Aubrey and I walked to downtown Sausalito one evening (about 2 miles) to visit Mr. and Mrs. Claus. We even got to take our own pictures. When it was their turn, they stood facing Santa, and Aubrey belted out "I'd like a Hello Kitty cup please. That's all." Dane said he'd like "a train, a car, and a person." (For the record, Santa came through. Aubrey got her Hello Kitty cup and Dane got a Boco--Thomas the Train character--and a remote control race car and a Lego Spiderman to assemble.) Then they sat on Santa's lap for a picture. When they asked where the reindeer were, Mrs. Claus said parking was pretty tough downtown and that they had to leave them in a field a few miles away. We looked for them on the walk home but didn't see them.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas and
Happy 90th Birthday


Here are some of my favorite memories:

  • Flying solo to Delaware from Germany when I was about 4
  • Baths in the old metal wash-basin
  • Delicious peanut butter chocolate balls
  • Learning to ride my bike without training wheels at your place
  • Excellent Christmases on the east coast – playing Atari, watching early MTV
  • Getting to walk by myself up to the newsstand in Newark.
  • You dressing me up with a “dickie” to go to DC museums
  • Cancun reunion
  • Nebraska reunion ‘99
  • Having a ball at the San Diego reunion
  • Christmas Cruise ‘04
  • I was working in Juneau when you and GF took your Alaska cruise… here’s the dialogue on the phone when we talked about meeting at your hotel
Me: Hey, I’ve got a friend [Anjie] I’d like to bring along.
GF: Sure, bring him along…
  • We spent the time talking and playing "3-13" into the wee hours.

We love and miss you and wish we could all be there to celebrate.

Love, Mick

    Thursday, December 08, 2005


    My mom's neck surgery (screws, plates, rods) was performed this morning by Dr. Newell at Providence in Seattle. Originally Mom and Don had planned to get up at 4 a.m. and drive to Seattle for 5 a.m. prep and 7:30 surgery, but the doctor's office called yesterday and bumped everything back an hour. So I guess surgery got started around 8:30 this morning. It was supposed to last for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, but Don finally called me around 1 p.m. to tell me Mom had just been sent to recovery. Don had been surprised to learn that the doctor had a couple of other surgeries going simultaneously which lengthened the whole process. (Who's heard of that?) Don said Mom probably wouldn't be available for a chat today (surprise, surprise), that she'd probably be in the hospital for a total of just two days, and, yes, he was indeed ready for a nap.

    Additional notes: (1) - the doctor said she might have some numbness in the back of her neck because they had to sever some nerves, (2) - a nurse who also works at Harborview and has worked with many neuro patients said it looks like Mom's recovery is 98% on track.

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    with friends the Javadis and the Michauds

    is about an hour north of our home in Sausalito. After a typical Friday afternoon commute up Highway 101, my friend Shari and I arrived with our kids in the dark around 5pm at our campsite at Doran Beach. Our friend Cyrus was there already with his brood and helped us get up our tents; Mick left school at five with Shari's husband Richard, conveniently arriving around 8 after the work had been done.*

    After tinfoil dinners, roasted marshmallows, and dutch-oven- on-a-campfire peach cobbler (our friend Annie's from Idaho and swears that camping is all about the food), Dane and Aubrey had tired themselves out climbing the trees with the Javadi girls and quickly fell asleep in our two-man tent.

    Our two-man tent, a brutal-weather shelter from REI (I'm sure it has a more accurately descriptive name for it), was a terrific purchase Mick made at an REI garage sale last year. The tent retails at well over $300--Mick snatched it up for $5. It was missing a pole, which we replaced with the poles of our other (inferior) two-man tent. Upon packing up for the trip, though, we forgot that we usually have the luxury of borrowing Mike and Jan's six-person tent for outings like this. Consequently, the kids and I slept in the two-man tent together (maybe I slept four hours? but, hey, camping's not really about a good sleep, is it?) next to the tent-mansions of our friends (do tents really need two "rooms"?) and Mick slept solo in the Vanagon. (Of course, you can guess who got the best deal there!)

    Woke at 6am to the sound of ocean waves beating against the shore, which we'd been hearing off and on all night drifting in and out of sleep. Ate breakfast, packed up, and went crabbing.

    Crabbing was, let's see... educational. We had to get the two kids out on a rocky, precarious jetty, tie chicken meat and big rocks up in onion bags, secure ropes around the tops of the bags, and throw the bags down into the water for crabs to decide to cling to (evidently we could've used pet food too). It was sketchy out on the jetty (and chilly) and far from shore, and even though it was a real adventure, we headed back to the beach after an hour and set off toward home so Mick could study the rest of the weekend. Evidently, after several more families arrived, some crabs were caught and cooked, but there was just enough for each person to have a taste. Nobody in the Reynolds van even breathed a word about salty, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth crabmeat the entire way home. We'll be better prepared next time (and maybe we'll just show up to do it in the morning).

    *For the record, being married (with kids) to a dental student means stuff like this always happens. I shopped for, packed up, hauled down (three flights), drove, hauled in, set up, fed, sang to sleep, etc., etc., in order for this twelve hour event to happen! Kindly enough, though, Aubrey had stood in the doorway earlier that morning and said, "Mom, how can I help? You shouldn't have to do that alone."

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    A Trip to Tacoma, November 3-8

    (Mike and Jan, feel free to write some highlights from the visit
    in the Comments section--I'm sure you'll have a hey-day with that, Jan!)


    Aubrey's ballet lessons with Miss Jessica at the Mill Valley Community Center (MVCC) resumed last night. Afterward, Miss Jessica told me Aubrey was more talkative in this class than in previous classes. I wasn't quite sure what she meant, so she quickly explained. She said this new group was more "rambunctious" than the last, so she decided to have a big talk
    with them at the beginning to get started off on the right foot. She'd had the girls circle round and told them that since many of them had been in her class before, they should raise their hand if they could remember some of her rules. She told me Aubrey raised her hand immediately and listed off about five of the rules. Ha! (Before every lesson I remind Aubrey to be a good listener and to learn as much as she can from Miss Jessica-- maybe I could lay off a little!)

    After Aubrey's class I decided to check the kids into the MVCC's KidzWatch and try a class of my own (since Mick was staying downtown to study all evening anyway--yes, he's still working on dental school stuff about 15 hours a day: school 8-5, lab 5-9, studying at home 'til 1 am...). I have many friends who rave about yoga, so I participated in a Restorative Yoga class, with focus on breathing. I still have a hard time getting used to the idea that something not sweaty, not speedy, not bouncy is a superior form of exercise, but even from the start I liked that it made me slow down, made me think about my posture (I am truly a sloucher--I couldn't even get my back perfectly straight sometimes when I tried) and helped me stretch out this body that I never, hardly ever, stretch. I'm going to try it again next week.