Friday, July 31, 2009

Stars on Stage

Mary's Stars on Stage camp had a talent show this afternoon. She played Goldilocks in the sequel to Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Goldilocks Returns.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears II: Goldilocks Returns from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My dad bought Thomas an electric four-wheeler for his birthday. Thomas was afraid of it at first. However, after three days of this (check out the look on his face):

We got this:

Thomas Rides from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Video Catch Up

I've gotten behind transferring videos from the camera to my computer. Here are three from last month.

Thomas loved this Barbie for about three days. Then, he threw her over for a less traditional, American Idol style boy-girl singing duo.

Thomas's Singing Girl from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

From the night MJ died. This was the first time Mary had ever heard any of his music.

RIP MJ from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

Thomas using my Ipod as an Ipod instead of as a phone.

Ipod Dance from Leslie Ann McNolty on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

While I Was Away

After 10 days away, a few things change.

The crepe myrtle in the front yard exploded.

This is a single watermelon plant. When I left, it looked like a single plant. It must have eaten the peas I planted under the trellis.

All the food disappeared. I guess it only magically replaces itself when I'm around.

Jeremy found a place for this mask and mirror. I bought these years ago when I was living in Wichita. Most of our decorative stuff was Jer's from before me, so it's nice to see something that I picked out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Food Friday - Ratatouille

One of Jeremy's students has been giving us fresh vegetables from her organic garden. This week he scored 2 eggplant, 2 crookneck squash, 2 pattypan squash, a cucumber and this monstrous zucchini.

What do you do with an enormous zucchini? Make ratatouille!

I used my biggest baking dish but there is still a lot of that zucchini left over back there. I may have to make a chocolate zucchini cake out of the rest. What a chore.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
Crookneck Squash
Red Bell Pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

The amount of each vegetable you need depends on what size dish you use and the size of each vegetable. I used 1/2 a huge zucchini, 1 large eggplant, 2 medium crookneck squash and 2 red bell peppers. Cut each into very thin slices. A mandolin would be nice for this but I don't have one. A sharp knife works just as well, but it takes a bit longer.

Stir onion and garlic into pasta sauce and spread into the bottom of your baking dish. On top of the pasta sauce layer vegetables however they will best fit into the dish.

Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Cover with parchment paper and bake for 45-55 minutes until vegetables are cooked but not shriveled and brown. Serve over rice.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Postcard from the Titanic

California is a mess. The state has a $16 billion budget shortfall. Republicans refuse to consider tax increases to close the gap even after democrats agreed to staggering cuts in public services. Up until a few weeks ago we had no idea how much this was going to affect us. Even now, we only have a partial understanding of our place in this desperate mess.

All California State University employees are being furloughed for two days per month, which amounts to a 10.75% pay cut for Jeremy. (And they're the lucky ones; all other state employees are taking 3 days). This hasn't taken effect yet, but it will soon, probably next month. So far there is no plan to reduce the workload for faculty members, who have the same number of classes and students whether the campus closes for two days a month or not. When Jeremy accepted this job, we were told that faculty would be getting a series of raises that amounted to a 16% pay increase over the next two years. The contract with the faculty had been signed but now, it's not worth the paper it's printed on. Since my fellowship ended in May, I had been planning to take a part-time job to replace my income. Now, with Jeremy's pay cut, I need to work full-time which means we'll be increasing our expenses because we'll have to put Thomas in daycare.

These furloughs only close half of the CSU system's budget gap and will only get Sac State through the fall semester. At the beginning of next year, there will be another round of cuts. The furlough will probably go to three days a month and there will be layoffs. Around 9,000 employees will lose their jobs across 23 campuses. There are two classes that get the axe before they'll get to Jeremy's job. But we're not counting on that; there is some question as to whether CSU will be eligible for any federal funds because the budget is so late. If the federal funds fall through, entire campus's will have to be shut down. There may not be a Sac State next year. It seems unlikely right now but it's possible.

Budget cuts have been just as deep for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department which patrols our neighborhood. They are going from 38 two-man patrols to 10. There will be no auxiliary forces to pick up the slack during busy times. If you call the police and all 10 units have already responded to other calls, no one is coming to help you. The sheriff has said that they will not have the man power to respond to burglaries at all. They won't even be able to take a report, let alone try to find your stuff.

South Sacramento, the area we live in, has the highest crime rates in the city. Our neighborhood has a subscription service for extra sheriff's patrols. Homeowner pay $51.00 a month for dedicated service. Now that the sheriff's department has suffered such deep cuts, it's likely that the only patrols we'll get will be those we have paid for directly. Those obviously won't be enough.

California is a sinking ship and we are rats clinging to the ever more precariously tilting deck.