Sunday, July 24, 2005


I Am Eating Flourless Chocolate Cake In Celebration!! We are well on our way to being packed for the trip without forgetting major items, and... I just finished our tax return!!! What's that you say? What about April 15? Well, er, um, I filed an extension. Never mind about that -- Woo-hoo!! Happy, happy, joy, joy! Tomorrow I'll do the always confusing yet brief state return, and drop these things in the mail. I much appreciate the IRS's use of PDFs you can fill in and then print out. I got to switch among many tabbed PDFs as I filled my mind with the labyrinthine logic of the IRS (we file two forms and two schedules). Even better: we DO get a pretty good refund, and can fix the fence and the chimney; maybe even fix the roof leaks. So what if we have to wait until we get it to spend it (we're a cash-basis only family) -- woo-hoo!!

Okay. Cake sliver is all gone. I am putting myself to bed now. Tomorrow will be a day of relief, preparation, and excitement. Maybe after some coffee :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hello hello

I guess this will be the super-condensed, haven't-blogged-though-I-meant-to update.

Dear husband and Son1 were gone for an entire week in mid-July, one to a sort of workshop and the other at church camp. They both had great times, and Son2 and I found a new normal while they were gone. I got to practice parenting the way I mean to, without two kids arguing with each other and bugging each other and so on. Son2 got lots of Mommy time. The house was quiet (too quiet, in the end) and tidy (not worth going without dear husband and Son1, though!). Despite the good week for all, we were all very happy to get back together this last Monday.

This week has been one of transition. We're happy to be a family together again, but the kids and I leave Monday for three weeks of visiting family in Washington state! I'm working hard to get the laundry and house and meals back in shape for us to leave and dear husband to go it alone for the two weeks he'll be here (he'll join us for a week). I also have, oh, let's say, several Important Tasks for our household and for other groups that must be done before we return. Tasks I have to take care of. So, doing them now. Also, it's a lot harder to parent the way you mean to when the multi-kid hubbub is back. And that will all change when we head out to be mini-family in the land of extended family and away from home.

Regarding meals, it is good to bake when you're trying not to buy groceries that will just sit for three weeks while most of the family is gone, but, rather, use what we have. So, we have enjoyed biscuits made with part stone-ground whole wheat flour, cut square 'cause I was in a hurry. Also I made my coffeecake, spreading the batter over chunky peach almost-jam on the bottom of the pan and blueberries (once) or blackberries (once) scattered across the peach almost-jam. YUM! I gave in to the boys' pleading and bought Rainier cherries and a local canteloupe at the farmer's market Wednesday. Yay boys; they gobble up melon when they get to use the melon baller!

When the two guys were out of town I hosted a wine-tasting party for 12 MOMS Club members (our moms night out for July), and it was great! We tried four whites and four reds, had champagne to start and a sparkling red wine before the reds, learned a lot, ate good food, and had fun. I served my flourless chocolate cake for dessert with the red. Yum, yum, yum.

Oh, I also missed my one-year blogiversary a week ago. That year flew by!

This week Son1 and I both read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I requested it from the library the day after they began accepting requests (June 27), saw that I was 80th on the wait list, and figured it'd be a while. Well, no. It was waiting for me on Monday when I looked for my holds! Good book. Sad at the end. Got me all ready for the next book. I think we're taking books 4 and 5 on the trip for fun reading! (Son1 has them in paperback.)

I also read the first Lemony Snicket book to see what that's all about. Very dark. I'll probably read the second sometime to see how they develop the characters and stories, and leave it at that. I returned all of the western books -- running out of time before the trip -- and borrowed a couple of native American history/overview books. Son1 and I returned to the quick and fun Charlie Bone series after finishing Potter; this series is a easier-to-read version of the Harry Potter type of book. Enjoyable, and probably also great for kids who aren't quite ready for the extended book length and involved stories of Harry Potter.

Sock doings

Somewhere in the oddly different routine of the last week or so I made a baby version of Son2's navy-blue-and-striped socks as a record (cast on 24 stitches...). And I started Son1's Harry Potter socks once I found and ordered some great colors of sock yarn for the Gryffindor scarlet and gold: Lang Jawoll cotton superwash (45% wool, 35% cotton, nylon) in variegated gold and Lang Jawoll superwash (74% wool, acrylic, nylon) in solid scarlet.

I'm adapting the Go Team! pattern from the Six Sox Knitalong to have a shorter leg, use the colors I've chosen, and spell out 'Harry' on the outside of one sock and 'Potter' on the outside of the other sock. I've completed almost all of the colorwork on the leg of sock-the-first!

Tiny hand-knit record of Son2's socks.
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Front -- well, outside side -- of the first Harry P. sock.
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Inside side of the first Harry P. sock.
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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Son1 is away!

We left Son1 at his first "away" camp this afternoon (church camp for a week). He didn't think twice about us leaving, and in moments was happily enjoying the swimming pool!

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That bottom bunk is his (with a little screened window opening, a fan, and an attic whole-cabin fan), and the top three shelves in use are his, too.

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The outside of his cabin. His bunk window is the lower one on the far right.

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A view of the main building, which houses the dining hall and non-camper meeting accommodations, and the field between it and the pool, cabins, etc. Nicely accented by dear husband and Son2, talking with a grandpa who brought a second-generation camper today.

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I promise I didn't shed a tear. Maybe I would have, if he had showed the slightest tremor at saying goodbye, but He Did Not! I believe he will have an absolutely wonderful time. Maybe Wednesday night's swimming pool Eucharist will boggle his mind, hehehe.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cookbooks from a swap

This morning I took home from the swap this eclectic group of cookbooks. Check out the wooden covers on the Vermont Cook Book!

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The other books are: Simple Food for the Simple Life, by Helen Nearing; a 1985 edition of Once a Month Cooking; The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook; The Williamsburg Cookbook; Fruits of the [Sonoran] Desert; The Amish Homestead Cookbook; Yankee Magazine's Second Annual Great New England Cook-off Cookbook; and Yankee's Main Dish Church Supper Cookbook.

I'm a contented swapper :)

All of my cookbooks on the swap tables were gone by the end, except the spiral-bound booklet and the tiny slipcased set. The remaining swap books will go to the Friends of the Library for-sale shelves, which is fine with me.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Cookbooks for a swap

Tomorrow morning I'm going to a cookbook program with a swap: a speaker will talk about the history of cookbooks and we'll get to participate in a swap of cookbooks.

I dug through my cookbook shelves and a few boxes, and found some cookbooks I'm willing to take to the cookbook swap.
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Some are older (spiral-bound booklet by a founder of Current, Inc.; a Bon Appetit tiny slipcase set of summer cookbooks; and the 1985 edition of Butter Busters). Some are newer and gorgeous (Williams Sonoma series cookbooks, and Greens: A Country Garden Cookbook). The little one on top is a chocolate chip cookies cookbook.

I have never used any of these cookbooks more than once or twice (obviously, with the amount of dust I wiped off and blew off when I prepped these for the swap, sigh). I'm happy to give these up for the possibility of some interesting new-to-me cookbooks.

In the process, I also rediscovered good cookbooks on my shelves that I might pull out a whole lot more often for ideas and/or recipes. Yay!

Oh -- I completely forgot: the book in front on the right is a keepsake, a personal treasure, and is NOT going anywhere but to my current books-to-enjoy pile!! The New York Times New Natural Foods Cookbook (early 80s) was unearthed by yours truly this evening in a storage box of miscellaneous books. I used this a LOT when I was a new explorer in the world of cooking on my own, and there are many marked pages, special recipes, and friends' recipes stuffed in the pages. I'm thinking about making the wheatgerm snickerdoodle cookies that my coworkers gobbled up way back when. I wonder if we'd think they are yummy now?

Finished: Second pair of socks

C'est fini! Son2 loves his mom-made socks and I'm happy! There seems to be enough ease in the ribbing and the length that he may be able to wear them all fall (!).
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Sock-the-second news flash!

The socks are ready for toe closing!
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But wait! First we must try them on with the spikey needles sticking out every which direction!
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Ah, they do match, they do fit, many little sighs of relief by Mommy.
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Today's mental exercise

Seminar announcement
Vortex Formation in Horizontally Elliptical Thermal Bubbles in an Ambient Vertical Shear

Idealized inviscid numerical simulations have shown that in a quiescent, environment, a quadrapole of vertical vortices form within isolated horizontally elliptical thermal bubbles. New results are obtained by adding an ambient unidirectional vertical shear. The couplets are no longer necessarily of equal strength, as often one pair is stronger than the other for various bubble geometries and orientations with respect to the shear vector. The morphology of the updraft concentration within the thermal is implicated as a possible mechanism for the enhancement of the vertical vortex pairs.
I know, I know, I had you glazed-eyed at "inviscid", right? Or maybe it was "vortex", I dunno!

I signed up for these meteorology seminar announcements a while ago because I'm curious what they talk about now, 13 years after I left grad school in meteorology and a future path with science as a profession.

When I read this particular announcement I realized that another reason I read these is: I like the practice in reading these and constructing the mental house of cards of understanding each piece -- each phrase -- setting up the first floor of the card house, understanding each of the next pieces, putting them together into the next floor, and so on. A little mental challenge!

I'll admit, I'm not clear on what a quadrapole is. Maybe pairs of paired vortices. Yep, maybe that's it, LOL!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Our list of fun for summer

In early June we started talking about fun things we wanted to do this summer. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing them down. As we think of new things we've been adding to the list, which is now three pages long. We've done some of these now; I may tape the list on the pantry door so we think about it more often.

Make bubbles with Zome shapes
Go swimming
Grow tomatoes
Eat our own tomatoes
Look at the National Geographic magazines (we have two years of these, and I want to enjoy or toss them!)
Have snacktime at an upscale bakery/coffeeshop
Eat dinner from Sonic Drive-in before or at baseball
Make ice cream
Go to the science museum in the city
See an Omnidome movie in the city
Go to the children's museum (an hour away)
Attend an outdoor concert in a park
Make cookies
Send mail to grandparents
Go for walks in our neighborhood
Visit the new splash/spray play area in a local park
Buy snow cones from a snow cone stand
Do Mario Cart racing (video game) as a family on Friday evenings
Son1: learn to make cookies, pancakes, waffles, coffeecake, bread, pizza, pizza rolls, pie, cake (oh my!)
Play Frisbee at our neighborhood park
Go on bike rides with Daddy
Make pizza
Order pizza for dinner
Son2: read books with Mommy (oops)
Son2: learn to read
Buy toys and/or candy with their own money
Eat dinner from Subway
Go to a local game store to sell, look at/play, and buy games (console and handheld)
Look at rental games at a video rental store
Visit the library (of course!)
Borrow movie DVDs from the library and from friends
See a movie at a theater
Son1: see The Revenge of the Sith (if we give permission)
Go to a AAA baseball game in the city
Watch our Star Wars DVDs (episodes 4-6)
Play board games
Play cards
Have a good friend overnight
Get a fish and a fishbowl (end of summer -- after our trip)
Play mini golf
Son1: go fishing with Daddy
Ride a city bus
Son1: learn to cook on the grill (with Daddy supervision)
Ride the city trolley bus