This past week our kitten, Minnie, discovered that she can climb fences! It's really quite scary to think of all of the trouble she can get into now that she's out in the big, wide world beyond our little backyard. I made her a makeshift collar out of a scrap of ribbon I had and attached a little piece of paper to it with our address and phone number on it, just to be safe. So far though, she just perches her little body on the fence most of the time. It's a little scary to know that she's wandering off, but she does look cute up on the fence with the ribbon around her neck.


Last Friday I turned twenty-eight and Paul and I went out to dinner at Dempsey's to celebrate.  I'm sure I've blogged (can that really be turned into a verb?) about Dempsey's before - it's this great little microbrewery restaurant situated on the riverfront in downtown Petaluma.  It's fun to go there because you can park downtown and then walk across the river on a little footbridge (more on that later), and the scenery is particularly charming after dark as they have strung lights in the trees lining the riverbank which dance on the water's surface.  The restaurant itself has an outdoor patio overlooking this whole scene and even though it was drizzling that night we chose to sit out there.  It was a wise choice too because with the exception of one other couple sitting on the far opposite end of the patio, we had dinner to ourselves. Thanks to an umbrella over the table the rain didn't bother us either.  It was a very nice, memorable evening out.  It was made a little bit more memorable on the walk back to our car as well.  That quaint wooden footbridge, the first rain of the season, a slight downward slope, and my flats proved to be a rotten combination.  With seemingly no warning, my feet slipped out from under me and I fell really hard on my rear end.  It totally knocked the wind out of me, but I regained my composure quickly.  It was actually quite comedic.  Knocked down but not defeated, Paul dusted me off and we went home and ate huge slices of birthday cake.  It was truly a joyful, memorable evening.

P.S. You might think that Paul and I look like we are totally wasted in the picture above, but I just want to clarify that when you are outside and it is dark when a flashbulb goes off in front of your eyes it's incredibly difficult to keep them open.  Believe it or not, we took about 6 pictures prior to this one and this was the only one in which both of us actually had our eyes semi-open.  I wanted to keep trying to take pictures, but Paul's like Chandler from Friends - after a while he forgets how to smile (which you can sort of tell in this picture) - so he asked if we could stop.  Below are a few priceless "out-takes:"
Apparently, we're not so photogenic. Paul said he was trying to get something out of his tooth in that one picture - guess he forgot what we were doing.  


I hate political games.  

As I have previously written, I am currently in the process of obtaining a license through the state of California to operate a childcare facility in our home.  This process basically includes: attending an orientation to the licensing process and CA Title 22 requirements, submitting an application, getting fingerprinted, passing a T.B. test, attending a CPR/First Aid class, and finally, having a home inspection by a representative of the licensing department.  I have completed every step in the process and I am now ready for the final step - the home inspection.  Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  One would think so, until one remembers this is a government agency and, even worse, a government agency whose budget has been recently cut.

So this morning I called the local social services office and spoke with my "analyst," Kelly, in the hopes of scheduling the home inspection with her.  When she picked up I stated the reason for my call and after a long pause she said, "Yeah... did you apply recently?"  To which I responded, "I'm not sure what your definition of 'recent' is, but I applied at the beginning of August, so it was over a month and a half ago."  Then after another long pause, she replied, "I have been instructed by my supervisor not to schedule any inspections with new applicants.  If you have a problem with this I'd suggest you phone your state representative."  I laughed when she said this which I think confused her, but that is such a ridiculous statement to me!  

Clearly they are trying to get me to be a player on their team in this silly little political game.  They are not stupid.  They know that A) the government is elected by the people, for the people, B) if they want more money for their department they must make the budget cuts have a direct negative effect on "the people," and C) if they can rile up enough of "the people," "the people" will go to the government and make demands on behalf of the department and then they win by getting the money they want.  Maybe she was hoping that I was stupid enough to fall for this ploy?  But why would I join their team when they are punishing me because they were punished for mis-allocating my tax dollars?  

Perhaps I'm wrong about all of this, but it just seems like nonsense to me.  I'm seriously considering being an unlicensed childcare provider, which sounds kind of horrible, but since when do you need a license to take care of kids?  Besides, perhaps these budget cuts won't allow them to find unlicensed childcare providers since it won't allow them to license childcare providers.  (Did I mention that I already paid them $85 to obtain a license?)  I really don't feel like playing.  

P.S. Analyst Kelly just called a few minutes ago.  I think she was a little unnerved by my response (or lack thereof).  She told me to call back in a couple weeks and said that maybe then I would be at the top of her list.  She also asked me to not give anyone her name if I did complain.  This makes me feel a little bit better, like I have some control over the situation.  She called me and she seems worried that I might get her in trouble.  But still, I just don't want to play.


My new foray into the world of childcare has officially begun!  For the past couple of weeks I've been taking care of a sweet three-year old girl.  It's been fun and exhausting at the same time.  It's surprisingly taxing to always be playing some sort of role (teacher, patient, mom, dog ((yes, dog)), principal, etc.) when you are a twenty-seven-year old girl! I'm glad she's an imaginative child though, and I certainly don't want to be the one to kill that imagination.  By the way, I think I've raved about the Goodwill in a previous post, but I got all of the above-pictured items at the Goodwill for well under $10 (total).  I'm completely addicted to thrift stores and garage sales now.

Paul has been very busy getting ready for school which is to start this Wednesday if all goes as planned.  He is down at the school today (Sat.) helping to move furniture into classrooms, although his classroom still needs to be painted and carpeted.  It's funny because last year the room he was in at the old location had odds and ends stored in it and tiles hanging off the ceiling until 2 days before school began, and so it was a last minute push to get his room set up for the first day of school.  I guess this year will prove to be the same.  Maybe that's just part of the profession - you have to be flexible.  This year Paul is teaching grammar (which encompasses English & Latin grammar) for 6th, 7th, & 8th grades, literature for 7th & 8th grades, and Bible for 6th grade.  So, six classes total, with 2 periods for each grade - a nice balance.  Oh, plus once a week he'll be teaching a guitar elective.  

Anyway there you have it - another brief update on our lives.  And, once again, I'll try to get Paul to post something.  He really does have something to post about too and it's pretty cool.  A couple of things actually.  I have to laugh as I am typing because my right ring finger has this humongous monstrosity of a blister on the knuckle.  I threw some zucchini (homegrown from our own garden, I might add...) into some very hot olive oil last night (stupid, huh?) and received a nice splash of burning oil on my poor unsuspecting finger.  Not only that, but this burning flesh came in addition to my awful cold which began with a sore throat and high fever and has settled into a nice seal-bark cough. The idiom when it rains it pours seems to be an accurate assessment of the way things go in the Johnson household. I guess that's just life.