new years eve involved a lot of driving

Like last year, this year we planned to spend New Years Eve (and weekend) up in Pennsylvania with some friends (and fellow Muskoxen). Brendan’s body however, had other plans. He went from feeling slightly-a-little-sick-but-willing-to-power-through to pull-the-car-over! somewhere around the Delaware line. Still, we headed onward. As soon as we arrived, Brendan took himself to bed upstairs and the kids and I hung out, helped with dinner and played around. But alas, Bren didn’t make a quick recovery (as he had hoped) so after some delicious lasagna, I put the kids in their pajamas and we came back home.

We made it back here with plenty of time to spare to watch Dick Clark and the ball drop. (And by “we” I mean me and Bridget.) After the boys were tucked in, she and I snuggled (under her new Snuggie naturally), had ice cream, counted down the seconds and banged pots and pans outside to ring in the New Year. Not exactly what I had planned, but still enjoyable.

yes, i really did just write a whole post about vomit

One night when I was about fourteen my brother who was around twelve got sick in an epic fashion. Vomit was everywhere. All over the wall of his bedroom and even inside the light switch. Yes my parents had to replace it. The thing I remember the most was that it was spaghetti and the noodles stuck to the wall.

We had our own night like that Thursday night. Bridget got sick in a spectacular way and it was also pasta (tri-color rotini, to be specific) . She did though manage to get herself to the bathroom. And afterward I felt so bad. I was in our room getting the baby settled when I heard her walk out of her room, as she always does, and so I told her to get back to bed and I was getting a little upset with her for not listening to me. Then it became clear why she didn’t. After it was all said and done she wanted to apologize. Poor thing. The event is still fresh in her mind. She’s talked about how “then I spit out noodles” to a few people.

She is definitely better now. No more getting sick, but she has taken herself up for nap since Friday. So far no one else has had any symptoms, but I wouldn’t put it past the universe to sock it to me tonight.

is this thing on?

I’ve been terrible at posting lately, I know. Things have been a little bit crazy around here at the Kelly household.

As you can see, Bridget is getting perilously close to walking. Not only is she pushing around her walker, but lately she’s taken to forgetting that she’s holding onto something and just standing there on her own, until of course she realizes that she’s not holding onto anything and she promptly plops down on the floor. She had a pretty nasty cold this week that has almost finished running its course. I can’t complain, really. It wasn’t too bad, and it’s only the second time that she’s been sick. You could probably even call it the first time because the other was more likely a reaction to booster shots. Breast feeding really must be doing its magic.

Bettis is currently recovering from surgery on both his hip and his knee (on the same leg). He’s doing OK. Right now he’s pretty well sedated on pain medication and sleeping in a Pamper’s box. Of course that means that he’s not really making it to the special litter box we have set up for him. Something tells me we’re in for a long week. I’m not really sure how things are going to go with me working since his recovery suite is in the office. It’ll all work out, I’m sure.


Today was a big driving day. We’re halfway back to Sacramento, staying off CA route 36 in the middle of nowhere just outside of Lassen Volcanic Park. Tomorrow we hike and otherwise explore the park before heading 3 hours south to Sacramento to catch our 11 pm flight home.

I drove the whole way here today. Brendan woke up last night “violently ill,” as he put it. We figure he must have gotten some kind of food poisoning. Although, I just noticed he has some pretty bad sunburn on the back of his neck — it’s blistering and a little swollen — that might have been a contributing factor. He seems better now, he’s just really really tired since he didn’t hardly sleep at all last night. It’s a good thing that it happened in Eureka and not here. Our room here is spare. We have a bed (king sized, though), a chair, a few small tables, and a very tiny bathroom. At least I was able to sleep last night. If we were here, I don’t think that it would have been possible.

We had planned to take it rather slow today and get here on the later side. We came through the mountains along the Trinity River. I don’t really drive too much these days, so it took some getting used to. the car doesn’t quite get up and go like my Jetta, so sometimes we were a bit slow coming up the mountains. People were going past me left and right. Plus, the road was super windy, and I was constantly pulling over into the turnoffs so people could fly by me. How anyone could stomach going much over 50 on that road, I don’t know.

We were going to stop at some ghost towns along the way, but Bren was finally getting some sleep past a few and when we got to Shasta, the one he really wanted to stop in, he just wasn’t up for it. So, we just kept on going pretty much nonstop until we got here.

When we first turned off the highway onto 36, the landscape was as close to a desert as I have seen. It was fairly barren, with some low hearty trees, and brown short grasses. The land was fairly flat, but with some hills here and there. Then we went up a mountain or two and the landscape changed and was full of pine trees. There’s some sort of canyon to the west of where we are. The lodge is just past the park. Mineral is pretty darn small. According to the sign its population is a whopping 90. It seems like it’s a ski destination more than a summer one.

head stand

Today I feel like someone is standing on my head. No wait, not just standing, but also jumping. Ugh. I don’t normally have allergy problems, but there are just some days when the pollen is at this point where I can’t stand it. Usually, it’s only a couple of days, so I don’t take any of the medications… Of course, today it doesn’t help that the guys who mow a lot of lawns in our neighborhood are here doing their thing. I have to say, they don’t seem to good at it. The weed wacker keeps going on and off and on and off. Talk about annoying. So the pain is two-fold (it was three until I had coffee), pollen and noise. Don’t get me started on why a person with a little postage stamp like us needs to hire someone to cut their grass… We should actually start paying Glen! We only have the front to worry about mowing and two thirds of the time, Glen gets bored and cuts the front from his house to ours. I suppose taking care of their cats for a weekend and running around closing both our windows and theirs in the thunderstorm is a fair trade.

In other news, classes start tonight. The summer is usually really light. And since today is the very first day, I’m expecting only two or three learners. There hasn’t been time for people to feel like they need extra help. Of course, I should see quite a few people who will just pop by to say hello at break time. This term is only 10 weeks, so it ends mid-July, and the next one won’t start until after Labor Day. They want me to teach a "real" class, with a curriculum and a text book and homework and the whole deal, in the Fall. I just don’t know if I’m ready for that. I didn’t know if I was ready for being the official teacher of the Learning Lab either, but it feels like a bigger step. I have a certain freedom and flexibility in the Lab. I get to work on what the learners what to work on, I don’t have to cover anything. And it changes from week to week what people need because different people will come. Plus, I get to really know each learner as a person. I really like that. I’m afraid I would lose all of that in a real class. The learners want me to teach another class too, but I think that’s because I’m so flexible in the Lab. They can chat, they can do what they want. I’m generally a really nice person… In a real class, I’m afraid that I’d be much more of a hard-ass. When it comes down to it, I don’t think I’ll be anyone’s favorite anymore if I take on the Math Applications class. I really love being a favorite. It would really hurt if that went away. Selfish, no?

Sweet Lord. They have their machines on again. Christ. I don’t want to have the windows open to let more pollen in, but I don’t want to have them closed either, because it’s so damned nice outside!

pain and Punky Brewster

Sunday night I got no sleep. All of a sudden, I was having these intense pains in my abdomen. Not too long after, well, I was as my Dad would say, "Having a conversation with my friend John." I had that conversation about every two hours. Of course, when I was up at 6, I couldn’t resist checking my work email. Without getting into details, I had to go in yesterday for 4 hours. Not fun. The nausea stopped, but the pain had moved to the right side of my abdomen. They were pretty intense. Today, I stayed home and slept until 2, and the pain is much duller. Phew.

I’ve always been terrified of appendicitis. It’s all because of one episode of Punky Brewster. Henry and Punky and everyone were getting ready to go on vacation, and Punky wasn’t feeling well. She was having intense stomach pain, but she didn’t want to say anything because she wanted to go on vacation. Eventually, she passed out from the pain and woke up in the hospital and had her appendix removed. There were a couple times in college when I had a stomach ache where I wondered if it was my appendix. And yesterday, everything I was reading seemed to point to it. Of course, I wondered if it seemed like it because I have always been afraid of it… So I was giving it until today to get better before I went to the doctor.

Right now, I’m satisfied that I’ll live.


Maybe you thought I had disappeared; not to worry, I haven’t. We haven’t. I was out of commission early in the week, with an awful stomach virus. A stomach virus so potent, it had it’s own article in the Post this week.

If you’re still eating breakfast while you read this, or catching a quick bite for lunch during work, that is good fortune and bad. Looking at life positively, it means you are not suffering from the miserable sickness that is the subject of this story. A couple of paragraphs of description, though, and there’s no guarantee you won’t start feeling queasy.

How else to explain the sledgehammer effect of an affliction with such a grossly apt moniker as "winter vomiting disease"? This highly contagious stomach bug, which mimics many aspects of food poisoning, is a norovirus that hits hardest this time of year.

For 24 to 48 hours, it lays waste to its victims.

I’ve been spending a lot of time playing catch-up at work. (In fact, I’m at work right now, waiting for a simulation to run.)

But the big news is that we added two little members to our family this weekend.

Meet the kittens. They are two little purr-boxes.

She takes a bit,

but he revvs right up. Aren’t they just so cute??


Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

And just so everyone is clear, what we say here is not endorsed by either of our employers.