Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

mr potter

C obviously is enjoying hearing the Potter series (earlier books for now until he's older). Sarah is reading them out loud in the evenings... (in case you can't read what he wrote under her "Beware of Voldemort" it's "I can easily counter Voldemort.")

Thursday, August 14, 2008

happy code talker day

An early morning conversation today:

Me (just having gotten up upon hearing C coming upstairs). "Good morning!"
C: "Happy Code Talker Day Daddy!"
Me: (stares sleepily; does not quite compute yet)
C: "Argghh! Don't you know what Code Talker Day is?!!"
Me: "No, I don't, but tell me about it"
C: (some additional angstful noise) "Why didn't you know it was Code Talker Day today?!"
Me: (now waking up slightly) "You mean the Navajo Code talkers?"
C: (calming down finally) "Yes...Code Talker Day honors the Navajo Code Talkers who served in the Pacific in the war against Japan.."

Later on in the morning:
C: (holding his Code Talkers book from the library) "In 1982 the President awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers... In 2002 the others were given the silver cross [I'm making that up; not sure what medal they got, wasn't as big as the 29 got posthumously]...There were over 200 Code Talkers total during the war... (etc. etc.).
Me: (thinking it was typical of our government to finally honor native americans after many of them were dead)"Cool! What should we do to celebrate?" (He ended up setting off "fireworks" in the afternoon, which in this case were water balloons and various containers of water he dumped on the heads of A and her playmates out front--they liked it though at least).


Monday, August 11, 2008


Last Wednesday I contemplated biking into work, but the thought of packing up extra clothes and digging up the key to my U-lock was just too much for 7 a.m. To avoid having any such excuse in the future I brought in clothes/ towel on Thursday. So today I had no choice but to give it a try.

Traffic was low since I was out early and everyone’s on vacation, which made it less nerve-wracking than it might have been. I avoided the problem I have with exercising in the morning (can’t eat when I first wake up or I feel sick; can’t exercise until after eating or I’ll get dizzy) by taking my time and not particularly exerting myself. (There are only two uphills of any significance on my way to work. The route home is harder.) My only issues:

a) I could really use a side mirror. I can’t keep from drifting while looking over my shoulder, even for a second.
b) I couldn’t get in to the showers here until after 9. I did without today because it was a cool morning and I don’t have any meetings, but I do sweat buckets and will normally have to shower when I get in. I need to find someplace that will copy keys that say “do not duplicate.”
c) I suspect that if I rode home my quads would be unhappy with me. Obviously that problem will solve itself if I commute regularly.
d) Rumor has it that I’d be much happier with road tires than my current mountain tires. I’ll consider switching them out if I start riding more.

I’m probably not riding home because it looks like the thunderstorms are not going to clear up as I’d hoped. But we’ll see. (I was very much wishing I’d ridden last Thursday, when I sat in traffic for an hour on the way home due to flooded streets.)

C can ride surprisingly fast. On short stretches I can only overtake him by using higher gears. (Dan claims this is cheating because I have 21 and C has 10.) Unfortunately his bursts of speed doesn’t translate to getting places faster- he was taught at school to dismount the bike and walk while crossing intersections. Dan has been regularly biking the kids to the pool (2-ish miles) and it definitely slows things down. He’s starting to feel more comfortable staying on his bike past small streets at least.

Dan has been biking more and is starting to get disenchanted with having A’s bike seat permanently attached. In addition to looking dorky it prevents him from using the toe clips on the pedals. However, besides being useful, I also see it as a good theft-deterrent- if you’re about to steal a bike, you don’t want the one with the bright blue toddler seat on it, right? We’ve decided not to invest in a removable one for that reason and because we expect that she’ll be ready to use the tagalong bike next spring. (She won’t be able to help Dan by carrying six-packs of beer for him anymore but he’d have space for a bike rack to use instead.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm so dull that I blog about what I ate for dinner

I’ve had the hardest time planning meals since I started working. I used to figure out what I was cooking for the week, carefully maximizing efficiency (planning double batches of grains or beans or tomato sauce to work for several different meals) and minimizing monotony (the extra rice would go into a casserole rather than another stir-fry). Maybe because what little intellect I have left is devoted to other things or maybe because I’m now only responsible for 3-4 dinners a week rather than 5, I just can’t motivate myself to do it anymore.

So we end up with dinners like last night’s which, despite their eclecticism, actually work. I got beans going in the pressure cooker. Next step- figure out which vegetables from the CSA need to be used up most. The answer, unfortunately, was a large eggplant. I’ve never understood the appeal of eggplants; they have a funny texture and not much flavor and generally if they’re tasty it’s only because they’ve been slathered in something else that’s good. Why trouble to grow it when you could just plant zucchini instead? But eggplant it would be since my antipathy toward food waste far outweighs my eggplant prejudice (1). I wanted dinner to be ready within 20 minutes, so none of the methods described in the first two cookbooks I searched would do- there would be no salting or soaking and there was no way I was willing to leave the oven on for 30+ minutes for roasting on such a hot day.

But- a recipe for broiling! Which will only require the oven to be on for three minutes per side! That’s my speed. I’d never actually used the broiler before but I figured it out and slid in the eggplant, sliced and splashed with tamari. And it came out FANTASTIC. Still not quite enough flavor, though the soy sauce helped a lot, so I made a sauce with lemon juice, peanut butter, parsley, and some sugar to tone down the lemon.

Made a vinaigrette for the beans and cut up some CSA carrots and green beans for color. All I was missing now- a grain. I’d rather overused bulgher lately in my last-minute cooking so I went for the obvious choice- popcorn. (Do most families of four devour two batches of popcorn in fifteen minutes? Everyone with their own bowl, since we’re not good at sharing?)

And dinner was a hit. Or at least it got eaten, which is good enough for me.

(1) I’m not really an eggplant-hater; I dressed up as one for Halloween one year. But I still maintain that their good looks are hiding a dull interior.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

a geeky way to disturb your children

A: We can make pyand sometime.
S: What is pyand?
A: No, PI END.
S: (?)
A: It doesn't have to go on forever. We can write the whole thing down.
(Loyal readers may recall that we discussed pi with the children about a month ago. A has voiced frets over it several times since then.)
S: Well, um, in a way you're writing the whole thing every time you draw a circle.
A (thankfully ignoring my last statement): We should make pi end. Let's do that now.
S: Well, usually people shorten it, so we can just decide to stop after three digits and call it 3.14.
A: (displeased)
S: The rest of the numbers after that are so small that they're not very important anyway.
A: Why aren't they important?
S: Because they're so small compared to the first three numbers.
A: But I want it to stop at 9.
S: Oh, so you want it to be 3.14159?
A: Yes!!
S: OK, sounds good.
A: What is it again?
S: 3.14159.
A (after taking a bite of dinner): What is it again?
S: 3.14159.
A: 3.14159?
S: Yes.
A (very pleased): Oh!

wheat prices again

The last time I bought a 50-pound bag of organic whole wheat flour I thought it was expensive at $42.50. That was up from $26.50 the previous year. This time- $69.50. Ouch.

But hey, the Research Foundation gave us 3% raises, so we only took a small pay cut in relation to inflation.