Wednesday, January 30, 2008

One more week to go

with our six week plan.

This week, we are flying. We had company on Saturday this last weekend, and really worked hard to get the place clean. Ziad and Maya were wonderful. I gave them a chore list, and amazingly, they did everything on it, plus a few extra things I threw in as I thought of them. On Friday, when I was doing most of the cooking, Ziad basically spent the entire afternoon washing dishes.

The upshot was that on Saturday, when everyone had gone home, I had plenty of energy to completely clean up, instead of needing to go lie down the way I always have before.

And the house is still clean.

I'm very happy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vegetable week in review

Ten days ago now, I went to the Farmer's Market with Barbara Kingsolver on my mind. I got a whole pile of vegetables, and they weren't cheap either. I spent $30 at one stand alone, although not nearly so much at any of the others. Here is what I bought:

purple cauliflower
a cabbage
salad greens

This is what they became:

leek and cabbage soup
potato and turnip puree (think mashed potatoes, but with turnip in there, too)
steamed cauliflower
beet salad
green salad
a beautiful vegetable lasagne made with a recipe I saw in Sunset magazine

The vegetables lasted all week. In fact, I still have the turnip greens but I doubt now that I'll have the fortitude to cook and eat them. They look kind of tough.

The cabbage was incredible. I like cabbage OK in general, but this cabbage tasted fantastic.

I think I like buying a week's worth of vegetables at a time. It was really fun to always have something fresh in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tagged by Vivian

Four things:

4 Jobs I Have Had
- Short order cook at a golf course
- Cashier at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz
- English teacher in Japan
- Math teacher at SJSU (while a graduate student there)

4 Movies Watched Over and Over
- The Gay Divorcee
- Roberta
- The Secret of Roan Innish
- Kiki's Delivery Service (although not necessarily because I wanted to)

4 Books Read Over and Over
- The Rainbow
- Cape Cod Stories, by Joseph Lincoln
- Jane Eyre (but not since I was 20)
Too many new books to be rereading others right now.

4 Places I Have Lived
- Sudbury, Massachusetts
- Shingu, Japan
- Paterson, New Jersey
- San Jose

4 Shows I Watch
- Psych
- Monk
- George Lopez
Guess that's only three. I would watch SNL, except it's all reruns just now.

4 Places I Have Been
- Rome
- Paris
- Philadelphia
- Victoria, BC

4 People Who E-mail Me
- Vivian
- Lesley
- Zelda
- Lynn

4 Favorite Things To Eat
- Interesting salads
- Roast Chicken
- Freshly baked bread
- Cherries

4 Places I Would Rather Be
- Hawaii
- on a hiking trail with leaves and pine needles underfoot
- someplace snowy
- San Francisco

4 Things I Look Forward To This year
- Summer
- our trip in June
- Ziad and Maya's guitar graduation this Sunday
- Many more fun piano lessons

4 People To Tag
Sorry, only Jennifer

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bookclub Highlights

Our January book was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I think all of us felt inspired by this book to bake more, cook more, taste more. Some of us even want to try our hands at canning and cheese making.

Zelda pointed out that the section on BSE (aka mad cow disease) could have been expanded -- the big scare is over, and this disease rarely makes the news any more, but the devastation is still continuing. She backed that up later, sending out e-mail linking to a really scary articles.

How did we end up discussing our children's underwear? I think it's funny that two of us have had the experience of folding the laundry and slowly realizing, "Hey! There really should be a lot more underwear in here!" That pales, though, next to having a child who rebels against undergarments altogether, and takes them off and hides them in the blink of an eye. Yes, it's fun to be a mother.

Overall, an enjoyable evening discussing a book we all were glad to have read.

Thanks, Vivian.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Late again

and still feeling inadequate.

Lesley came by, though, and gave us the conditional thumbs up. We're making progress! If we can just avoid backsliding too far before spring break, I think we'll be doing well. When my schedule opens up a little I can focus more on tidying and organizing, and if in the interim things don't get too dirty, we'll have taken a big step forward.

Go, team!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The last straw

I think the first twinge of dislike I felt for Alice Waters came when she talked about the food she brings up to Chez Panisse from Southern California:

An old friend living in southern California happened upon the Chino family farm produce stand in Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego, and immediately air-freighted us the most beautiful and flavorful tiny green beans any of us had ever seen outside France. Ever since, we have bought all the Chino family produce we can.

from Chez Panisse Vegetables, published 1996

Even in 1996, it seemed a little too much to be bringing vegetables up all that way, especially to a kitchen that touted the value of just-picked, fresher than fresh food.

Then I read, elsewhere in her book, that dried basil has no place in her kitchen. For some reason, this got my back up. Yeah, fresh basil is wonderful, but dried basil is a whole different thing, to be used in a different way, and totally has a right to exist. I can only freeze so much pesto.

And now this.

I've spent a fair amount of time looking into the Ameya development. (If you don't follow the link, Ameya is a luxury development going into pristine Montana land that has many local residents up in arms.) It's hard to see how she could ally herself with this. It seems to be the opposite of everything she stands for.

Plus when I look at the photo that accompanies the article, I have to wonder -- when did she go from Green Goddess to Beautiful Person? What's with the glam shot? Where did her cute French countryside look go?

The whole thing makes me sad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's the story, Morning Glory?

I said Wednesday was going to be my check on how things are going day, and I wish I hadn't. I really don't want to even think about housekeeping any more. I'm feeling all whiny, like my attention just wants to go someplace else, but unfortunately the house is still here, so if I don't keep at it, we're going to slide back into chaos. It even feels like too much trouble to tell the kids what to do, so I know I'm really in retreat.

The kids have been great, though, and Ziad is being very good about all the chores that have fallen to his lot for the next two weeks. The result? The house, while still really messy, is actually fairly clean. This means that they two of them are entitled to their rewards, but I've got some serious decluttering to catch up on to be eligible. Because have I honored my half hour a day pledge? Only if you average out the massive hours I spent at the beginning of the month. On those grounds, I could coast for several more weeks. But what I really meant was that I would declutter every day, without fail, for a minimum of a half hour, and that I have not done.

"So sue me," I'm muttering under my breath. So, how mature, I'm rebelling against my own self and refusing to honor goals that I myself thought were worthwhile at one point. And I actually do still think they're worthwhile, I just want them to go away for a bit. Or for the house to just not get any worse while I read a book. I need to get real and get with it. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Budgie Brouhaha

Ziad and Maya have budgies that live in Maya's room. These birds are not especially tame, or particularly bright, and when they get out of their cage it can be really difficult to get them back in again. Most birds, homebodies all, will eventually make their way back into their cage, but these are some freedom-loving budgies. Or some not-so-bright budgies, maybe, because even with two doors in the cage open I've seen them have trouble figuring out how to get back in. And of course since there are two, getting them both in and the door closed is twice as difficult. Honestly, they are the most trouble I have ever had with caged birds. When (not if, unfortunately) they get out.

Now Ziad and Maya like to handle these birds, and are trying to tame them, and love to interact with them. That is why I say when, and not if, they get out. That's all well and good, but seriously, chasing budgies into a cage when you are late for guitar class is one of the most infuriating wastes of time I can imagine. Especially since the guitar teach will definitely guilt-trip you for being late and then be unable to add extra minutes for the one you missed (it's not the fault of his next student that you came late), so that I can hear a little meter ticking off the dollars it is costing me to chase those annoying birds.

Which is why I made the decree that if those birds were EVER flying around loose again, they were out of here. There's a new place downtown that's opened up with the purpose of placing birds, and I have no qualms at all about taking those budgies and putting them up for adoption.

So of course, it turns out that they have been flying around loose again. The process by which I discovered this is not all that relevant, but when I did, and got ready to follow through, of course, there was a huge upheaval in the house. Ziad was crying his eyes out, and eventually revealed that he had set them loose ON PURPOSE because he felt like, in his words, "causing some trouble."

Naturally enough, this caused even more upheaval. I am not that keen on children who deliberately defy me. As I pointed out to Ziad, letting the budgies fly around loose is not really that good for them, they are not toys for his personal amusement, and it was that much worse that he decided to something that entailed serious consequences for Maya, just because he felt like it. So of course he cried even harder.

Not being made of stone (and being very fond of the budgies myself, I have to admit) we eventually settled on a compromise. Ziad is now personally responsible for all household chores for the next two weeks, he apologized to Maya, and he is going to be losing a substantial number of toys, although they are mainly birthday presents I've been holding back due to space considerations.

Now I'm wondering: which is the better course? Should I absolutely hold to what I said, or should I work with my children to let them find consequences that sting, but are bearable? Am I going to find myself with a drunken teenager who has no respect for the rules, and feels that everything is negotiable, or am I going to have a child who trusts me to care how he feels and wants to maintain our relationship of trust? I honestly don't know. Maybe nobody does.

Feedback welcome.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll

The Search for Dare Wright

by Jean Nathan

Trashy and compelling. Does anybody remember The Lonely Doll or any of the other books from the series? Apparently it is wildly popular in certain circles: library copies worn to pieces, used copies on eBay spurring frantic bidding wars, used booksellers with long lists of people willing to pay high prices.

I myself do not really remember these books, although I think maybe I might have seen one when I was little. If I did, I didn't like it. These are books told as a series of captioned photographs, and this has a static, creepy feeling to it that is just not to my taste. Looking at some of the photos from the children's books in this biography of their creator, I have to be impressed with how life-like she has made them, and to admire the details she has crammed into the frame, but I still don't like them as a children's story. But that's just me.

This biography looks at the life of their author and photographer, a reclusive artist of apparently unlimited creativity and weirdness. (Now there's a combination you hardly ever see. Really.) There is some attribution to written sources such as letters, but mostly it seems to rely on word of mouth from family friends. It's pretty heavily slanted. Dare Wright spent most of her life in an what appears to be a very unhealthy relationship with her mother, who the book depicts in a most unflattering light. And of course, it is titillating in a coy kind of way, implying but never saying that there was an incestuous aspect to it all. I suppose the main reason I actually read the whole thing is that it is short and to the point, and in not particularly trying to be balanced, manages to be fairly concise. Certainly Dare Wright was an interesting woman, and the photographs scattered throughout the book (almost every other page, it seems) are really something.

This book has been staring at me from the New shelf in the library for more than a year (and how is it still new in that case?) so I finally just gave in and read it. If you liked Dare Wright's books as a child, you might like to read it, too. Or if you're interested in artists with unhealthy personal lives. Or if you like photography. Or you might just want to find something more instructive and wholesome, like a biography of, oh I don't know, Queen Elizabeth.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Pit Dragon Trilogy

by Jane Yolen

Dragon's Blood
Heart's Blood
A Sending of Dragons

I don't have anything against Jane Yolen, and it's not as if these books are actually terrible, but I'm just going to go ahead and say it anyway -- I don't like them. (And if you want to know why I read all three, it's because unless a book or series is totally unbearable, I just always have to see where it's going. I'm obsessive that way.)

These three books pivot around an odd and gruesome conceit -- by spending the night in the birth canal of a (dead, obviously) dragon, humans become telepathically enhanced and able to communicate wordlessly with both dragons and other humans. There is an involved plot about the politics of a planetary Australia (original penal colony struggling to emerge from its past as a dropoff point for jailbirds) and inter-species understanding and cooperation, ending on a hopeful note as the protagonists head back to civilization to bring their newfound enlightenment to the people. Whatever. I still don't like these books.

I'll say one thing, though, she sure has managed to come up with some new material in the telepathically linked human and dragon genre, which is becoming rather pathetically overworked. BTW, the phrase "pit dragon" refers to the fighting pit where specially trained dragons compete for the entertainment and financial gain of their human masters. In case you were wondering.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne

by David Starkey

I liked this book very much. By now, Elizabeth's story is available to pretty much everyone, what with all the TV and movie attention it has been getting. There are also books by Antonia Fraser, or Philippa Gregory if you prefer, as well as numerous academic studies. I like this one, though, because its limited scope allows room for lots of interesting details of how Elizabeth actually lived -- more about her closest servants, advisors, and friends, people who get only a passing mention in books that have more ground to cover. There is a lot of attention paid to the ways in which Elizabeth distinguished herself from her sister Mary, and the ways in which Mary's rule influenced the decisions Elizabeth made on her ascension to the throne. So for anyone interested in Tudor history, this book is really a good read. And aren't we all really? Those Tudors seem to be pretty damn sexy.


Friday, January 11, 2008

January Bookclub

This month we're reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. Two chapters in, I really like it. I would so like to see this book get off the NPR talk show circuit and reach out to a broader audience. Kingsolver has a lot to say about the multinationals and the effect they're having on our food supply, and I think it's really worth hearing.

Since there's no plot, hence no worries about being a spoiler, I want to mention something that occurred to me when she was talking about genetically modified soybeans. This way you all won't have to listen to me going on about it when we actually meet, but I'll get it off my chest just the same.

The genetically modified soybean crops in Mexico are starving the monarch butterflies there. Why is this? The soybeans have been modified to resist weedkiller, as Kingsolver points out in her book. This means the soybean farmers can blanket the ground with pesticides, killing all nearby vegetation except their soy crops. Unfortunately the monarch species relies on milkweed at a crucial stage in their reproductive cycle, and the milkweed is killed by the pesticide. No milkweed, no monarchs.

This is why I try my very hardest to look for organic soy products. In an aside, I will say that most soy products I see come in such a highly processed form that I would be unlikely to buy them anyway. I'm starting more and more to like the idea of only buying food that has ten or less ingredients on the label. I don't mean to be all self-righteous and obnoxious, like the non-TV-watching bores (boors) that Zelda wrote about recently, but something that started out as a gut-level instinct seems to be turning out to be a step in what I see as the right direction, both personally and (God help me, I am insufferable) planet-wise.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

A day late

We lost our phone service, and our internet connection, for a while there. Then we kind of got phone service back, but with such a nasty buzz on the line I couldn't stand to use the phone. It was also not possible to establish a dial-up connection with the interference on the line, and then even when the DSL line got fixed, for some reason the service was sporadic anyway, so what with one thing and another I've been denied my internet access. Yikes!

So here it is Thursday, not Wednesday, when I am thinking about how we did with the house this week. And I am coming to the conclusion -- not bad. Wednesday was hectic, as it so often is, but we still managed to get some floors clean. We've been putting in a lot of time trying to organize, but still did most of the necessary chores as well. We're tinkering with a system that will help Ziad and Maya stay on top of keeping their rooms clean. I'm dreading going back to our full schedule, because I really would like to get things more under control first, but if we can maintain things at this level till we break again in the summer, we'll have taken a giant stride forward.

If the next five weeks are like this one, then I will definitely think we'll have earned ourselves some positive reinforcement in the form of material goods. Hanne Falkenberg, here I come!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Clockwork Twin

by Walter Brooks

Walter Brooks wrote a series of books that I absolutely loved when I was a child. The main character in these books is Freddy the pig, a talking pig who works as a publisher, a poet, a detective, and general jack-of-all-trades on a farm in upstate New York. Of course the farm has many other talking animals as well: the hens and rooster, the three cow sisters, the ducks, Freddy's friend the farm cat, and the villainous rats who are always hatching nefarious plots from their stronghold in the barn. My stepmother very generously bought Maya two books from the series as a Christmas present, and to my joy and wonder she actually managed to give her two that I had never read.

The Clockwork Twin is a story with such an innocent attitude toward technology. Through various plot machinations, a young boy who comes from an unhappy home with his aunt and uncle winds up on the farm. An inventor staying there constructs a clockwork boy to be a companion for him; the boy is constructed so that a rooster perches inside to act as an engineer who controls the clockwork. When the aunt and uncle show up on the farm to reclaim their ward, they end up taking back the clockwork twin instead. And they can't tell the difference! Oh. my. God. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, this is on an entirely different level.

I love this book anyway. Reading some of the pompous speeches given by Charles the rooster, a recurring character, I can't help thinking that I appreciate the language more as an adult than I could have as a child. So again, like many of Astrid Lindgren's books, I feel that this is a multi-leveled writing experience that I understood one way as a child (although, of course with different books by the same author) and yet enjoy with different perception as an adult.

I would strongly recommend any of the Freddy the pig series, especially the quintessential Freddy the Detective. You know what? I think that Ziad and Maya would, too.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Life is a Jigsaw Puzzle

Blogging as Half-Baked Metaphor

I like to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's doing jigsaw puzzles. My husband disapproves of this practice, and actually this tension between us has been escalating over the three or four years that I've been doing it. He maintains that it's a waste of time, and shouldn't I really be cleaning the house or something, whereas I take the attitude that I like it and if the only time I do it is this one week, then really, WTF? Get out of my face. I actually got in his face this year by declaring this to be jigsaw puzzle week, making the dining room table off-limits, and working on jigsaw puzzles in there (note the plural) alone or with whatever child happened to feel like working on their own jigsaw puzzle of the appropriate level. And I'm talking 9-10 hour days here, although of course I would cook meals and do other family-support stuff now and then.

The last day of the week turned into a speed jigsaw-puzzle event, because we really do like to have the table clear for a candlelight family dinner on New Year's Eve. At this point, Ziad got enlisted his father's help, which was when we learned that Nabil dislikes jigsaw puzzles because they are (gasp!)difficult.

I personally can't see how a doing a jigsaw puzzle is any more a waste of time than watching television. In fact, I think I could make a good case for most television watching as being a much bigger waste of time. I also can see, though, how someone who goes to work all day and deals with various kinds of stress and mental challenges might not really want to come home and do it some more for relaxation. Because really, when you stare at those little pieces of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, lying all loose and disconnected all over the table, it's a somewhat daunting. I admit it, I feel overwhelmed. And all those times when you're looking for that one piece that will finish the part you're working on, and you just can't find it? Frustrating, for sure.

Here's the part that I find interesting, though. My version of jigsaw-solving does not allow for looking at the cover of the box. I like to piece the puzzle together by looking for patterns in the pieces and working out the design elements until there is enough solved that it's easy to fit in the remaining pieces just by process of elimination. The feeling of accomplishment when the puzzle has been solved is tremendous. Which is where the metaphor comes in. The jigsaw puzzle is a huge, complicated problem, but if I focus on the pieces of it I can understand, I can eventually get enough of a foothold to solve the whole problem. And I totally believe that my life is like that. Problems that seem insoluble can be dealt with, if only I focus on the parts I can deal with, and work outwards from there. Having faith that the problem can be solved is probably the most important part of finding the solution. And it's only taken me 50 years or so to figure this out.

There are caveats, of course. I'm not sure that this sunny outlook could really be maintained in Baghdad or Sudan. Luckily for me, I live in a peaceful, prosperous country, I have a stable family and a support network, I've been educated well, and I always have as much food and rest as I want. I don't think it's possible to stress enough how fortunate all but the most unfortunate Americans are compared with most of the rest of the world's population. And I think that for all of us, taking a good clear look at our lives and letting ourselves move, however slowly, toward the life that we choose and away from the life that we stumble into, will always bear fruit.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Does Medicare Appreciate My Call?

If they do, they're not saying. Unlike the hold messages you hear when you're waiting to speak to, say, an airline representative, the little messages that interrupt the on-hold music all seem like variations on a theme -- "Hang up, check online, we don't really want to talk to you." I heard those messages plenty of times yesterday, because I spent a good hour and a half on hold in the course of a three-hour marathon of Medicare fun.

I'm on hold right now.

Apparently the supervisors don't want to talk to me either, because every time I ask my current Medicare buddy a question, he has to go check with someone. But when I asked to speak to that person directly, he put me on hold (what a surprise) and came back with a different answer than the one I had been challenging.

It's easy to see why people hate big government, when this is the face it wears. Even though I've spoken to some genuinely pleasant people, the long hold times, the way no one gives me the same answer twice, the agony of starting back at square one with every person I speak to -- this is a public relations fiasco. Not to mention that the stress of dealing with all this is enough make a healthy person sick.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thinking out loud

about housekeeping.

Well, no way anybody in this family is getting any rewards for our housecleaning this last month. And this is really my fault, since I'm the one who set up the plan. It failed largely because it was both overambitious and inadequate, and we were too busy to follow through with it in the way I envisioned.

Our inaugeral week, of course, went swimmingly. But then on the second and third weeks, I pretty much had to do everything myself before the kids even got up, because there was obviously no time on the designated housekeeping day. The fourth week Maya did a minor portion of the work herself, and on the fifth week Ziad did. As I said, very poor follow through.

And of course, despite what felt like enormous effort on my part, only a small fraction of the house got dealt with. The downstairs carpet always needed vacuuming, the downstairs bathroom wasn't getting cleaned enough.

The overall cleanliness of the house improved, however, and now I'm ready to revamp the process and try again. All incentives are still on the table, and if we can find a workable plan, and stick with it for six weeks, then let the joy be unconfined! Presents all around.

So here's a recap of our schedule. Tuesdays and Thursdays are impossible. Wednesdays are busy. Friday through Monday I wanted to keep the days open, both because we are sometimes gone all day, and because I would like to primarily focus on school when we are home. This is why I thought of putting chores on Wednesdays, where, alas, they did not fit. Also, although our chore list would have left the middle floor sparkling, they did not really include the stairway or lower level, both of which also need attention. So now, I think we will opt for spreading out chores over Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the option of shifting days around as scheduling requires.

Our new plan: Sunday/Monday we clean downstairs, and the stairs and woodwork leading up to the middle level. Wednesday is for the entry, and Friday/Saturday the rest of the middle level. I personally vow to spend at least a half hour a day decluttering until I feel I have sufficiently dug may way out of this mountain of paper surrounding me. The first week of each month I am going to concentrate on helping Ziad organize his room, the second Maya's, the third mine, and the fourth the office. I am going to create documentation for this that will help me remember to follow through. My weeks are going to go from Wednesday to Wednesday, so that will be my day to post about our progress, and for those of you who find this excruciatingly boring to skip this blog.

I will close with an affirmation: I know we can do this! Furthermore, I think it will help improve our family teamwork, and instill in Ziad and Maya a sense of responsibility for their living space that will serve them well as they grow. And if it helps them grow into people who don't need to wrestle with this issue the way I have, what an enormous benefit that will be. I am, as always, extremely optimistic about this.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Meme

So, here are some questions to get your year rolling:

New Year's Eve -- do you like to stay in or go out?

Do you like to stay up or just go to sleep?

Any special plans this year?

What's your favorite New Year's memory?

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

Feel like sharing them?

Do you do anything special on New Year's Day?

I tag Lesley, Zelda, Vivian, and Jennifer. And I answer them as follows:

New Year's Eve -- do you like to stay in or go out?

Stay in, definitely. I don't feel safe with all those crazy drunks on the road.

Do you like to stay up or just go to sleep?

Stay up, for sure. I love it when the clock hits midnight.

Any special plans this year?


What's your favorite New Year's memory?

I think my favorite is the year Nabil and I went to a comedy show downtown. We enjoyed it, although the balloon drop at midnight was mildly disappointing. Despite what I just said about crazy drunks, it was fun being out and about on New Year's Eve.

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

I love New Year's Resolutions. They give me something to throw myself into, which I apparently enjoy beyond all common sense. So yes, I always make New Year's Resolutions.

Feel like sharing them?

Well I would, but I'm still mulling them over.

Do you do anything special on New Year's Day?

Not really. We watched the Rose Bowl parade a couple of times, but it just seems like too much TV, especially since Nabil always wants to watch the Times Square coverage the night before.

Bunnies Accomplished

Maya had been watching me knit them, and dropping hints like, "Oh, is that for Ziad? That's really pretty ...." When she saw hers in her stocking, her eyes lit up in a very gratifying way. I personally wasn't all that happy with how they came out, although maybe I was just sick of them, but most of the people who've seen them exclaim over their cuteness. Ziad and Jenny liked their bunnies, too, and Jennifer even remembered to take hers home (sometimes she kind of forgets stuff here). Since Christmas, the bunnies have been accompanying us on any car trips, although those have thankfully been few and far between. And if I can figure out the process without bugging Nabil, I may even post pictures of them eventually.