The Vegetarian Accountant's Garden

Home Economy: food, exercise, and chores.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Goodbye, Sunny

Sunny came to us about six years ago, almost to the day. He had been abandoned by someone near a friend's house, and my friend had been taking care of him, but as an outside cat, as she was very allergic to cats. She asked if I knew of a place to take abandoned animals, and could I help, because I was not allergic to cats.

When I met this huge, furry cat, I was instantly won over by his friendliness. I wondered who would abandon this beautiful, friendly cat. Instead of going to the animal rescue, he stayed on our patio. When it started to rain, he came into our house. 



But he was a cat who was used to being on his own. He regularly hunted, catching mice, rats, birds, squirrels, and even a bat (once). When he got older, he learned to make friends around the neighborhood, regularly eating meals at several houses.


I am sure that he will be missed, by us and also the neighbors who fed him, they kids that played with him, and the old lady up the street who brushed him. 



Saturday, April 09, 2016

New Beginnings

As all of my children have entered into elementary school, I have been struggling with the idea of returning to work. After having been gone for so many years, the idea initially seemed daunting. Where do I start? How much do I need to learn to catch up? Do I still even remember how to be an accountant?

Fortunately, that last one was not so much of an issue, because anyone who is a fully trained accountant knows that your brain is re-wired in business school to think as only accountants do, under a staunch set of rules and regulations, in terms of valuations and numbers. As for being gone so many years, well, that actually wasn't an issue either, since I had had clients from time to time when my children were little, had managed the accounting for our own small business and household (don't scoff; it's a 152-page-long tax return), and spent what little free time I did have volunteering as treasurer for various non-profits along the way.

The question of where to start was answered by an associate at church where I volunteer as treasurer, leading to a bookkeeping position at a wonderful little church nearby. At first I thought it was silly, taking a job that averaged ten hours a month, but then the reality of John's transition to kindergarten set in, and I was grateful to have a job with so few hours. He needed me still on most afternoons, and even though he was doing very well during his three and a half hours of school each day, he was clearly exhausted afterward.

And then that changed. All of a sudden, he was walking himself to class and asking for after-school classes. He wanted to go to extended care, so that he could play with his friends. Then came an email, from another person with whom I volunteer, asking if I would be interested in a bookkeeping/accounting systems design job. The next thing I knew, I had a new client with exciting work in a field that I felt passionate about (Sustainable Agriculture Education). Combined with my existing job at the church, my hours had increased to 20 hours a week, on the busiest of weeks.

This week was my first week. I count on the kids to take initiative and to help me in keeping the house running through these changes. Both older girls help me with our Daily 7 Chores: making the beds, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the recycling or compost, cleaning the cat box, folding & putting away the laundry, helping prepare food, and getting their little brother to after-school enrichment and home on the bus. It helps to have a meal plan in place and do the bulk of the grocery shopping on Saturday (early). And I still have one flexible day (either Tuesday or Wednesday) to clean the house, work on projects, and volunteer at the school.


Monday, February 29, 2016

I Always Forget to Take Pictures...

We had quite a week, even though I only captured a small amount of it on film. We had an uneventful drive up to Copperopolis on Monday afternoon, hiked at Natural Bridges on Tuesday (plus got haircuts and ice cream), visited Mercer Caverns on Wednesday, and packed it all up and came home on Thursday.

But I did take pictures of our hike:








Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Birthday!


I couldn't remember to send someone a birthday card if my life depended on it.

I have tried so hard for so many years, but unfortunately, the most enthusiasm I can muster is to remember that I forgot someone's birthday (usually the day of or soon thereafter). I know that some people are overwhelmingly good at remembering other people's birthdays, which makes me wonder if birthdays are super important to them or if they are just really conscientious of other lifespans passing by.

Honestly, I couldn't care less about my own birthday, especially as I get older. It's just another day, and to me, each day should be treated as special and individual, lived out as fully as possible. In fact, setting our desire on one particular day to be "special" sets it up for disappointment. Additionally, it takes us away from being present in the current day, which makes that day more meaningless.

So, be present in whatever day you are in, be it the anniversary of your birth or just an ordinary clean-the-house or go-to-work day.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Family Fun Day: Blackhawk Museum


 For our first family fun day of 2016, we tried out the Blackhawk Museum. Formerly just a collection of antique automobiles, the Blackhawk Museum has teamed up with the Smithsonian Institute and remodeled their small collection to a wonderful museum that includes an exhibit on the Westward Expansion in the United States. Filled with impressive dioramas and authentic display pieces, the "Spirit of the West" exhibit is informative and fun, with plenty of hands-on pieces for the younger crowd.


When we visited, the museum had a special exhibit on model European trains, which completely captivated my five-year-old boy, as he examined and explored yards and yards of working model train track. Sadly, that exhibit is moving on and the last day for viewing was January 3.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Scarf Drive


St. Clement's Episcopal Church is having a scarf drive this month. The goal is to collect/create 100 scarves by December 1. Here are my contributions.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekend Work

Friday, we made a scarecrow for the Piedmont Harvest Festival's Scarecrow Alley, to be displayed on September 27, for John's Kindergarten class. Several of John's class mates joined us and had quite a time eating frozen treats and assembling this cute guy (below).



Saturday, September 19 was the California Coastal Cleanup, so we met up with our school's Community Service Crew and spent the morning picking up junk at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland, which is actually a wonderful bird and marine habitat.


It was ridiculously hot on Sunday, so I hid in my sewing room, getting costumes ready for Halloween. I know it's a long ways out still, but I have to start working on these projects early, because I never know what crisis or event will blindside me along the way.



Sunday, August 02, 2015

Trip to England, Part 2

7/22 Transport Museum. British Museum. John Soane Museum.






7/23 Rudy: Greenwich Park. Royal Observatory and Gardens/Wilderness. Victoria and Albert Museum.







7/23: Betty & kids: London Zoo.



7/24 B and H visit the Victoria & Albert Museum. Grocery shopping with H and J. Rained all afternoon.




7/25 Science Museum. Farmer's Market. R to Highgate Cemetery, family to Battersea.





7/26 Ride from Paddington to Kemble in the Cotswolds. Hike to source of the Thames. Lunch and Corinium museum.






7/27 V &A Museum, Jewellery Gallery and some costume play. Harrod's food court. Dinner with parents, Viants and Dorsches.





7/28 Thames river tour cruise. Beirut Express lunch with parents. Walk through Kensington Park with Alex. Betty sick all day. John throws up overnight.







7/29 Homeward. Hour to Heathrow. Wait three hours. 11 hour flight. Hour to Rockridge. Cab ride home. Same driver from Japan trip.

Trip to England, Part 1

7/15 Arrived. Played in Natural History museum courtyard and Italian dinner.



7/16 Natural History Museum. Duchess of Wales Memorial playground. Walked through Hyde Park.




7/17 Train to Bromsgrove. Hanbury Hall. Dinner with Viants.




7/18 Warwick Castle. Train back to London.



7/19 Battersea Park. Playground and picnic. Battersea Children's Zoo.






7/20 Buckingham Palace. St. James Park. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery. Hamley's. St. Martin's in the Field.






7/21 Tower Bridge. St. Paul's Cathedral. Harrod's.