Thursday, June 25, 2009

Green Carpet

Our green carpet is here! After being without back yard grass for as long as we've lived here (7 months), we finally have something that resembles a yard! Yay!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 8: - it's getting there!

Eight days later, the landscapers have made a ton more progress than I have on my papers that I have to write and pass in these next couple of weeks.

Still no sign of a single blade of grass (which shows me how much prep work needs to happen before that green stuff appears) but the sprinklers are in and have been tested. I hear that they'll be rolling out the "green carpet" tomorrow so hopefully tomorrow's photos will look substantially different and (fingers crossed) better.

I've included this photo that Air Boss took today. This is the area right outside our front door and you'll be happy to note from this picture that we've been trying to reuse and recycle bits and pieces from our old landscape. The cement pavers and clay bricks are all reused!

Now I just have to go post on if anyone is looking to donate some tree branches or clippings . . .

Okay - time to get back to work . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 3 progress

It's been three days since the landscaping team has pulled up in their trucks and taken a machete (literally) to our trees, bushes, weeds, and anything else protruding from our property (organic and inorganic alike).

What a great team of workers. The project lead has his 77-year old father helping out and this elderly--but super strong--man cleared our entire backyard by himself. As you can see, we have trenches dug for our planter wall and for part of our irrigation system. Yup. He did all that himself, too.

Anyway, each time we leave the house, the kids think it's funny we have to cross the "moat" to get to our cars parked on the street. Part of the driveway has been cut and trenched (resembling a rather skinny moat minus the alligators) to accommodate piping for the irrigation system in the front yard.

Everything is an adventure when you're a kid!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Last Day of School

Today was the last day of school for 'Shroom. After a surprise family picnic (surprise for the students, not the parents), 'Shroom received his little certificate that he was going to first grade.

What a year.

Looking back, we have no regrets retaining him for his second year of kinder. However, I'm hoping with summer school and mommy homeschool, he'll stay on top of his game and not forget everything he's learned these past two years.

I think I'll give him a day off before starting with the summer school lessons. What do you think? =)

Congratulations 'Shroom!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The fruit tree of all fruit trees.

Here is a bigger photo of the frea--I mean, fruit tree that originally started out as a lemon tree. It is now a lemon-limon-orange-grapefruit-orange tree (two types of oranges).

I really hope the grafting works because that would be really neat to have a variety of citrus fruits growing on the same tree (takes up less landscape - would be perfect for NYC gardens!) If this citrus tree works, I'll have to think of a way to get an exotic fruit tree going - one that will produce mango, pineapple, papaya, and parsimon. The melons will come right after with cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon all on the same vine!

Mmmm . . . now I need to get me some fruit to eat.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Landscaping Project - Day One

Today marks the first full day of landscaping work at our home in Torrance. The project began last week when our landscaper showed up to dig up some old shrubs and spray weed-killer on our grass (which just weeks before, I had been trying to coax to thrive). We are excited to finally be able to have the kids play in the backyard as well as dine al fresco in the balmy SoCal breezes (contrary to what I used to believe as a pre-LA resident, the summers here in the South Bay are very pleasant, mild, and quite enjoyable - not at all steamy, hot and humid).

Here is one part of our backyard. Right now, we have one lone tree - a lemon tree that has recently had its branches shorn off (I'll have to get a close up of it another day). The story behind this tree is that I had mentioned to Air Boss' parents that I didn't like the lemons this tree produced since the lemons had thick tough rinds, big seeds, and super pulpy juice which made filtering freshly squeezed lemonade a pain in the behind. Air Boss' parents were so gracious and brought clippings from their lemon tree and grafted them onto our lemon tree in the hopes that this tree to produce juicy limons (half lemons-half limes). The tree is somewhat of a "freak" tree as it now has grafted branches of two type of oranges, a variety of grapefruit, limons and lemons. Right now it looks like a overgrown petrified bonsai. But I digress . . .

This is the view of our very bare back deck. See, no furniture, no shade, no personality. No fun. We're hoping to add a pergola in the back that will give us some nice indirect shade for our outdoor meals. Oh, the palm tree in the pot is probably the only thing growning (other than the freak fruit tree mentioned above) in our backyard.

The photo below is a section of our front yard which I call our "courtyard". Our roof extends over a portion of this which makes it hard to grow anything that requires any amount of sunlight. We may end up throwing down white stones or river rocks in this area. The fence you see on the left side encloses the courtyard. It's coming down along with the white brick wall. Maybe the mailman will now feel inclined to deliver our mail in our mail box which is behind the fence.

Anyway, stay tuned for more photos!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trying to fly under the radar....unsuccessfully

Today was the second killer day with public school math class observations during the day and evening classes at night.  I had my one and only meal of the day at at 8:30 PM after I put the kids down for bed.  I guess that meal would be called "brunner."

Anyway, I'll make this short as I promised to email my project group tonight . . .

 In two of the math classes I was in, the teacher had me stand, introduce myself and say something interesting about myself (nothing like being put on the spot).  In the other classes, I just tried my best to blend with the bulletin board or the building mechanicals in the back corner.

This one class must have been bored becaused they noticed me.  Actually, one kid noticed me and he was sitting in the opposite corner of the classroom from me.

"Hey.  What is that little Asian girl doing there?" he asked.

Several heads turned in my direction.   They couldn't have been talking about me because I wasn't even standing.  How could they have know I was little?!?

Unfortunately, it was me and part of the HVAC system in the back corner of the classroom.  I'm betting $5 that I look more "Asian" than than the HVAC system.

How dare they call me "little" and "girl"!!!!!

And to make matters worse, it was a FRESHMAN class.  What do they know anyway?!?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One day down....47 days of summer school to go...

While I didn't fall asleep during my first day of class, I went to my 4 PM class with jitters and butterflies in my stomach.  I wasn't nervous about being a student again (after a 16 year hiatus from academia) nor was I necessarily intimidated by the 5 hours of classroom lecture that awaited me this first day.

A few days prior, I had received the course syllabus for one of my classes (an intro teaching class the was the prerequisite and stepping stone for all other teacher ed classes).  While the 7 page syllabus didn't seem that extreme - even for a 6 week class - the 30 hours of fieldwork did.  I would be spending just as many hours OUT of the classroom as IN the classroom doing O&P (observation and participation).

"How can this be?!" was my indignant first reaction.  "Public school gets out in two weeks!  What is there to observe?  Senior skip day?  Class field trips?!"

I hadn't yet read the part that I'm also required to teach a class in my subject content area as well (guess reading stories in 'Shroom's kinderclass wasn't going to cut it as an upper level math lesson).  Lesson planning won't even be covered in my grad class until AFTER public school lets out for the summer.

See my reasons for freaking out?

The prof's sympathetic response was "I guess you'll need to find a year-round school.  Good luck!"


Well, needless to say, I still enjoyed my first day of school.  More accurately, I enjoyed my second class (substantially more than the first class).  I'm looking forward to learning more about classroom management skills (such as identifying and stopping a fight before it becomes a fight, how to combat cheating and the enabling role technology plays in this problem, and how to motivate kids).

Tons of work to do.  I don't think my problem will be fighting to stay awake in these long classes.  It will be more like trying to complete all the assignments on time . . . 

Wish me luck.  I'm needing it!