Friday, October 31, 2008


It's raining. Let me repeat that: It's raining -- on Halloween in Ashland, where it hasn't rained for weeks! Puh-leaze! (Insert sad little pic of Aubs. Note: not her costume; just play.)

Aubrey's gonna freeze. I might have to make/encourage her to wear a pink raincoat under her wings so she doesn't freeze her katooshie. I'll post pix after she actually dresses up for the event, but she's a pink fairy, a costume she assembled from thrift stores, her closet, and Target. She's all pinks (including spraypainted hair and a feathered eye mask) with a little bit of lavender. Super creative and cute.

Dane might not fare so poorly if it's cold. I can probably convince him to wear a long sleeve shirt or two under his top -- his "leather" jacket with shirt attached. That's right, he's embracing another Harrison Ford movie, this time as... The Fugitive.

Just kidding. This time as... Indiana Jones! He's so excited -- and I'm doing my best to be super jazzed with him. Don't get me wrong: I love the idea, but I wish he could've assembled it on his own, with personal creativity. If we'd had any hope of finding hat and jacket at thrift stores, we would've but Target had it all packaged together -- and he really loved it -- so we bought it. I'd love to see him be creative in compiling a costume, and, to a degree, I suppose he was -- but, more importantly, I need to acknowledge this:

He enters an imaginary world every time he puts that costume on! Every time he snaps his little fake cloth whip that audibly cracks and plays the theme song when you press a button. He IS Indiana Jones at that moment. You should see how serious his face gets. So get over it, Mom! (OK, done. Over it.)

I went to bed last night with papier mache'd hair, spraypainted green, and rolled up in curlers. This morning my hair's supposed to look like snakes. That's right, I'm Medusa.

I found a sweet gun-metal gray tunic for $4.99 at Old Navy, and threw on a bunch of gold jewelry, sparkly sandals, and some sparkly face powder with gray lipstick. It's sort of effective -- at least he second graders knew I was that snaky-stone-freezer-lady when I worked with them this morning for Writer's Workshop.

At the risk of seeming totally self-centered, here are pics Mick took of me this morning. The kids weren't dressed up yet (save that for the 1pm Ghost Walk at school), so their pics will have to come later.

See? It sorta works.

And Mick? What about Mick? you might ask. Well, I've just got NINE words for you:

He's going to be treating patients looking like this.

Be very SCARED.

And hope it doesn't rain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It's been sixteen years this week since my dad died of colon cancer. When I reflect on what this means, I almost can't breathe -- for reasons like: wow, sixteen is the number of years it took before I got my drivers license or had my first date, or that sixteen is just Dane times two, or that it's been sixteen years since I last saw him skeletal, wretching and pale, crying that he'd never see me get married or meet his grandchildren.

Not all thoughts are so harsh, though. If I reach out and grasp some of the memories floating around in my brain, I think of things like sailing on his 32-foot sailboat in the Puget Sound with him when I was seven -- he bought my cousin and me matching blue t-shirts with fuzzy white lettering on the front that said DECK TOAD because we couldn't sit still on the boat; I think of that same sailboat charred beyond repair when arsonists lit it up a year or so later after he'd restored all the teak wood beautifully (the newspapers wrote it up as arson possibly as a direct link to his role as a sheriff's deputy).

I think of swimming with him at one of his girlfriends' houses (he had many girlfriends, much to my dismay), but we just got crazy doing dives and splashes, he made his normally flat, short hair stand on end and posed for the camera with me with a wild look in his eyes, and he let me put a red bandana around my head and wear his 70s glasses for another goofy pose.

I think of years and years of camping with him, pitching our tents up alongside a river, playing Acey-Deucey, Backgammon, Fish and War while swatting mosquitos, later fishing or catching crawdaddies to sizzle in butter. We went through a lot of different vehicles along the way, the old light blue soft-top (I think) Range Rover, the red VW station wagon, a couple of Ford Broncos.

Top music favs: one summer it was Rocky IIIs "Eye of the Tiger," which we saw together and loved -- he let me play it over and over for miles of open highway. I also remember Fleetwood Mac, the album with a ponytailed guy with his foot up on a chair. And I'll never ever in a million years forget "Ghostriders in the Sky," played over and over, because whenever it came to the part where the old cowboy "heard one call his name" my dad would yell, "Hey, Anjie!" and I'd barely be able to contain myself.

When he died, I didn't get much of his stuff, but I did get a box of photos and small mementos and even some poems he wrote. As his daughter, it was very moving to find what he'd kept of mine -- besides the photos, there were school programs, team certificates, and cards I'd made for him.

And among the photos, his sense of humor was captured. He had a wicked streak that I appreciate even more now that I'm an adult. But just in case you missed it up above, here's a bit of his legacy that I'm so glad has lasted.

I sure miss this guy.

William Lewis Seewer
b. June 4, 1941
d. October 28, 1992

R.I.P., Daddy-o.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wildlife Safari, Winston, Oregon

This week we learned that an ungulate is a hoofed animal, and, thanks to a click of the mouse on the Wildlife Safari website, my kids and I discovered that WS was offering a special on feeding the gentlest and gigantic-est of ungulates, the giraffe. Normally $45 per person, this week WS reduced their feeding fees to $10 per person. And I think everybody knows how I love a good deal...

We drove the hundred miles north on Wednesday night, because the kids don't have school Thursday or Friday due to conferences, and spent the night at the Safari Inn. Mike and Jan joined us, and the next morning we all headed off on safari in my station wagon to start our day with a drive out the 1-1/2 hour loop.

Most of the animals roamed free, like this rhino, above, who just eyeballed us from about twelve feet away -- no barrier.

I say they roamed free, but WS actually has them sectioned off by continent, and sometimes by species, where they can roam a general area. That's how we saw ostriches, rhinos, camels, giraffes, zebras, bison, yaks, some kind of monkey (can't remember what kind) -- lots of WS's 500 animals. It was so exciting to have them just outside our open windows.

The highlight of the day was definitely the Giraffe Feeding. Our truck-driver/giraffe-feeder guide, Patches, drove us out to the giraffes where we stood on benches in the back of her truck and fed Mate and JT carrots and bananas from a bucket.

The giraffes were 18 feet tall, both males (a third male roamed the area but didn't join us). They smelled like grass and dirt and something else -- something pungent -- and their heads were huge reaching down to us. One of them had gnarly scar tissue over his left eye from clashes with another giraffe. (Who knew?)

When they reached down they often brushed against our shoulders or breathed warm air down our necks, but no matter how tempting it was to pet them, we had to remember not to. Evidently, that's not safe.

The kids were a little cautious at first, but once they felt those whiskery lips pulling the carrot from their fingers or watched the long black tongue wrap itself around the banana in their hand they realized they wouldn't get hurt.

Before we headed to the feeding, I gave each of the kids a disposable camera so they could capture the experience on their own terms. Here's Dane thinking hard about what's to come:

He spent a bit of time looking pensive. After some encouragement, he started asking Patches his questions. He wanted to know things like "What's the closest relative to the giraffe?" and "How much do they weigh?" and "What's the most useful animal here?"

1. Patches couldn't quite remember, but we looked it up this morning: The closest relative to the giraffe is the okapi. If you want to see a spectacular creature, click on that.
2. Female giraffes weigh up to 1500 lbs; males weigh up to 3000.
3. Patches thought the most useful animal there was the elephant.

Here are the kids stretching and hanging from the truck railing, happy after their big giraffe encounter.

Next summer they have a program called something like Elephantastic Week. You'd better believe we're all over it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

HOW TO HAVE A GOOD TIME AT EAGLE MILLS FARMFirst, fix the Hello Kitty! earring before you and
your classmates each pick two raspberries,
choose only a pumpkin you're willing to carry up the hill,
give it to your mom, who's hauling everybody's
pumpkins back to school in the Vanagon,
and act like a rodent with your friend, Nora.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Halloween Scary Dudes

This year, Dane's going to be Indiana Jones and Aubrey's going to be an elaborate pink fairy of her own design. My idea's a secret, but hopefully it'll just be sinister. As for Mick, I'm just hoping he doesn't try to use last year's costume again this year.

Please, no, not for the new job.

Click on the halloween label below to find last year's posting with this photo. You can click on that photo to enlarge it -- at your own risk. (Be forewarned: it's very very scary!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quotable Quotes

Aubrey heard Mutt yell "Bullshit!" last night on Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

She then turned to me and asked, "What's a bowl of shit? I don't even know what that means..."


Do Not - I repeat - Do Not
leave anything in our
home. Mick will find a way
to put it to good use.


I appreciate your support.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Angel Island Ablaze

Last night, over 300 firefighters in Marin fought to save Angel Island from a fire that looks like it may have been started by campers. The firefighters managed to keep the fire from the historic buildings, but evidently it charred over half of the island. Read SF Chronicle article here.

This island is just a short ferry ride from Tiburon (right next to our old home in Marin City / Sausalito) and is visible from San Francisco. If you'll recall, it's a place we're all particularly fond of because it's where Dane did his first big solo ride -- 5 miles around the perimeter! -- and we had a terrific family biking day there. (Read about it at these old blog postings called Angel Island Pix and About A Bike.)

Ignore the gooby couple and check out SF's skyline in the distance.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thanks for coming to see us, Mema and Poppa! And Happy 25th Anniversary
And nice job surviving the entire glass of Aubrey's root beer in your lap at dinner, Poppa...

And we're glad you cheered for all of these: soccer games, Dana's birthday, Mick's clinic, and the hot tub.Come back soon!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Walker's Walkers Recognized

(You can imagine the restraint it took to not write 'Wecognized' up there.) So here you have it, folks, all the walking I gushed about in the post below is officially validated on the front page of the October 8, 2008, edition of the Ashland Tidings.

Yup, Aubrey made the paper again, and I got in there, too. Yesterday was National Walk or Bike to School Day, so the press was on hand to get the low-down. Aubrey and I are not interviewed in the article, just photographed. She's the one wearing her handmade variegated scarf, I'm the one with the cat around my neck.

The caption: Students and parents visit the snack and prize table this morning at Walker Elementary School after taking part in International Walk to School Day.

Go here to read the article.


This photo happens to be from the first day of school (note the big bags of school supplies and the outfits I wrote about it an earlier post about the first day), but this is what we do every day.

I love these walks.

We talk about school, we talk about books, we talk about sports. We also laugh together when one of us trips (that sounds mean, but we always make sure the one who's tripped is ok first -- well, usually) and we take deep breaths of fresh air, or exhaust from the street, or pot from the trailer park (What's that smell, Mom?), but mostly the fresh air.

Yes, it's a very wholesome experience.

Here's what Soren Kierkegaard had to say about walking. I found it copied down in an old journal of mine from a few years ago. I think he's on to something.

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it... but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill... Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Here's a little list of some of the extra-curricular activities we Reynolds are keeping these days. With a school curriculum that has no homework, and affordable YMCA and afterschool programs, we're trying out some new -- and some tried and true -- activities for Dane and Aubrey.


Dane practices soccer with his team 2x/week and has a game every Saturday (for 6 Saturdays), he takes "Cartooning" after school 1x/week and "Board Games" 1x/week. He's also starting to go to friends' houses here and having friends over. So far, he loves school, loves his extra classes and sports, and has two favorite friends, Avery and Logan -- but he still thinks of Josh as his best, best friend.

Aubrey practices soccer with her team 1x/week and has a game every Saturday as well, she also takes Gymnastics at the Y 1x/week, takes "Crazy Art" 1x/week and "Beads" another afternoon a week after school. She's also started going to friends' houses and having friends over. Sor far, Aubrey loves school, her extra classes and sports (especially gymnastics, but she tears it up on the co-ed soccer field, too), and has some favorite friends, Indi, Sienna, Paije, Jules and Ella -- but she still really, really misses Gia.

And the parents?

Mick, of course, practices dentistry. In addition to that, he leaves his car (that used station wagon) at work at least 2x/week to ride his bike home the 17 miles from his clinic doorstep in Medford to our doorstep in Ashland. The next morning he rides his bike to the bus stop down the street and rides said bus to Medford, riding his bike the last couple of miles to work. He also sees movies some evenings with his brother and is getting used to not having homework hanging over his head.

I walk the kids to and from school every day, walk downtown and back 2 mornings a week (4+ miles) for coffee and writing, have joined a book club that will start in November (Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence the first book), have joined a writing group called Rogue Writers (but I've only met with them once), and read and write as much as possible -- when I'm not volunteering at the school, getting the kids to activities, watching kids after school, keeping the house clean, or unpacking. (Yeah, I'm still doing that -- or should be.)

All of us spend a lot of time with Kai, Dana, Barritt, Indi, Jude and Weston. And we love 'em.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I hijacked this questionnaire from my friend Natalie Nelson's blog. Sure, she was reflecting on her and her husband's 10-year reunions this summer -- and I'm getting ready for my 20-year reunion next summer -- but it just got me to thinking. (Click here to read her funny October 2 reflections.)

I don't know if it was our recent purchase of a used station wagon that got me to thinking ever-so-slightly fondly of the old woody I got to borrow every once in a while when I was 16, but I've been thinkin about this baby for the past month: my first car, a 1977 Datsun B-210 -- and I can't get a picture to post. Shoot. I guess you'll have to click here to see it. But it's one of those things I'm thinking about 20 years later, wishing I could drive it again just to re-claim it as an adult with a better perspective. I used to think it was so nerdy, and I'd hoped for something a little cooler in a first car.

Anyway, I'll continue with the quiz and hope I can post a photo later.

1. Did you date someone from your school? Yup, a couple guys. (See #s 14, 19 and 20.)

2. What kind of car did you drive? First it was "the woody," a 1980'ish Toyota Cressida wagon, and then it was the 1977 Datsun B-210.

3. What was the most embarrassing moment of HS? Hmmm... that's tough to nail. Could be the time I scrubbed the H out of a teeny tiny zit next to my mouth with a loofah and it turned into a scab the size of a dime (earned myself the nickname Loofah for quite a while), or it could be the time I had a solo in jazz choir, the simple last line to "My Funny Valentine" and I got so freaked I couldn't find the right notes to save my life and ruined the whole sweet, tight jazz piece by singing the very last line of the whole entire song solo and off-key. There are more, but I'll stop here.

4. Were you a party animal? Hardly.

5. Were you considered a flirt? Maybe, but not always intentionally.

6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Concert choir, Jazz choir.

7. Were you a nerd? Yes, according to Buddy and Jason at the time.

8. Were you on any varsity teams? Sort of. I swung varsity volleyball my soph and jr years but then quit my senior year run for Daffodil Queen and sing.

9. Did you get suspended/expelled? Not on your life!

10. Can you still sing the fight song? You betcha.

11. Who were your favorite teachers? The only one that's coming to mind is Mr. Nace for singing -- 2 classes a year for 2 years, but he wasn't my fav in the traditional sense (he was mean and challenging and a perfectionist, and some ways that's good, but it doesn't make him my fav) and then I had this fabulous English teacher, Colleen? __, but I can't remember her name!

12. Where did you sit during lunch? at a lunch table, usually.

13. School mascot? Rams! But when the cheerleaders yelled it out it sounded like we were the Rims.

14. Did you go to homecoming, and with who[m]? Yeah, sophomore year I was the class homecoming princess and went alone (yeah, that was a real highlight), junior year I went maybe with Brian Hope (?) and senior year I was princess again and went with my senior year boyfriend Jameson.

15. If you could go back and do it again, would you? Sure, I thought high school was really fun.

16. What do you remember most about graduation? Wearing a blue graduation gown.

17. Where did you go senior skip day? Um, probably class.

18. Were you in any clubs? Yeah. Rambassadors and Natural Helpers come to mind.

19. Have you gained some weight since then? Funnily enough, I weigh 25 pounds less than when I graduated. That senior year I quit volleyball I chubbed out on spoonsful of peanut butter every day after school. I also lost about 15 of it that summer after graduation, after I spent my summer on the rec room floor crying to Sinead O'Conner's "Nothing Compares to You" after my senior year boyfriend dumped me. (See #20 below)

20. Who was your prom date? Jameson. But he had food poisoning from something earlier that day. We skipped dinner, I dragged him to the dance in my B-210, made him get pictures taken with me, and drove him home. Then I went back to the dance alone, danced with a couple pals who weren't making out with someone somewhere, and huddled around in a giant circle at the end crying along to "Friends Are Friends Forever," our prom theme.

21. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion? Went to it. Had a great time. Next summer it's my 20th.

22. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself? Think less about trying to have a social life and dig into some real learning. What I wouldn't give to know how to debate, and to understand calculus, chemistry, economics, or physics! Oh, and I'd tell myself to be smart enough to be grateful to drive any car.