Wednesday, February 29, 2012

State of the fam

Work is busy right now. Some dumb things have taken my free-time attention. Self reporting below.

My right ear doesn't work quite right but it is not infected. I went to the dr. yesterday to ask. I felt crummy but was told nothing exciting or prescription-worthy is going on. So I'm on decongestant and tylenol and I am ready for this shit to move along.

Lice came home on Lexi's head. I spent five days washing clothes/bedding/coats/everything and combing and picking and cussing. But it was well spent because we have gotten rid of them. I will do a careful check tonight in front of the sunlamp before I get too cocky.

Do not read if you are already feeling itchy. I am sorry to say that I have practiced enough to have a favorite method but here it is. Do a check behind ears, the back of the neck and by the temples. Drop nits/lice found into soapy water, flush when done. Then use the chemical shampoo. Our school district requires one dose of that stuff before kids with lice can go back to school. But I don't think it actually works. Check for and remove lice and nits every morning and evening. On a weekend day put olive oil on the kid's head. Let it stay for 20 or 30 min. Comb through and remove any lice/nits. The oil suffocates the adults and makes them slow moving. It will take three or more shampooings to get all the oil out. So the kid may look oily for a while. Better oily than buggy! Keep checking and do the follow up dose of the medicated shampoo as indicated (ours is 7 to 10 days after the first use). In your spare time, wash everything that comes into contact with the kid's head.

Thus endeth the lice chapter. God willing.
My sweater is getting a left sleeve. Am I doing it right? Hell, it's my first sweater. I take comfort from seeing that the sleeve is getting longer. I have gotten past the initial excitement for my project and view it as a large mountain of loops to pull at this point. I am looking forward to that landmark moment when I get both sleeves done. Each sleeeve will be sewn together with a seam at the end. If it's unwearable I guess I can sew all the openings shut and make it a pillow! I found the mitten I didn't quite finish crocheting when I was pregnant with Lexi. Aw. Guess I should toss that sucker.

I haven't cooked anything interesting for a while, being quite occupied with bugs or going to bed early. Unrelatedly, I'm going grey in a big way this year. Nod is too. We're silvering, right? I like the contrast between brown and white. But I do resent the general loss of color on my head. My hair is longer than it's been for quite a while. A ponytail is even possible although it's teeny.

 March is staring us in the face and it's time to renew our lease for the townhouse. We're re-upping to Aug 2013. Onward! Nod has some reservations. He thinks that we might find the perfect house for much less rent but I have no energy to put towards that at this time. I think we'll get to August '13 and be surprised how quick it's come. Or if we do need to make a move the owners here have said that they'll make it easy for us to go. I think that's true. They are big hearted folks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stationary Wave

From the Twisted Physics blog at Scientific American
Erwin Schroedinger (of the famous cat paradox) was the one who proved that electrons are really waves (although they show up as particles when you perform an experiment to determine its position), and those waves are stationary.
That is such a lovely brain stop for me. A stationary wave is an absurd illustration, a surreal possibility. Of course there is also the possibility that I am understanding the phrase incorrectly. But leave me with my vision of a frozen wave! Physics is weirdly lovely. When it's not outright creepy. The picture above is a hydrogen orbital pattern.

Math Tantrum
Last night an overtired Katy was getting ready for bed and burst into tears when I told her she couldn't do something. What was it that she had her fervent little heart set on? Studying math a year ahead of her grade level. Yes, my kid was pitching a fit because I wouldn't let her do more challenging math. I rolled my eyes and told her that we'd talk about it another time. I had our parent/teacher conference last night and had tackled her teacher about Katy being bored in math. He said that he thought he had a handle on the situation. He has been able to give her some material that she hasn't gotten right the very first time. And he has been making an effort to introduce more advanced concepts when he can. He also said that occasional moments of boredom never killed anyone.

I agreed at the time and was persuaded. But miss passionate-about-numbers wants more and I am persuaded by that too. So now I'm going to propose a compromise. I suggest we get a hold of a fifth grade math workbook (textbook?). And when Katy has finished her in-class work she be allowed to work through that on her own. The teacher won't be able to coach her through it, it'll have to be independent work. Maybe that'll provide a release valve so she doesn't feel stifled. I'm so proud of her and I want her to race through this stuff just as fast as she wants to. I have a feeling we'll be talking about this with next year's teacher as well. I assume that middle school will provide more opportunities for testing out and working at her own speed. I should probably start gathering actual info instead of vague impressions in order to prepare. Katy just has one more year of elementary school next year. Whahoomazooma.

Just Registered
Just heard this taunt yesterday, I'm probably the very last one, right? "I must be the bus driver... because I'm taking you to school!" I heard an interview with George Clinton (Grandaddy of Funk) on a Boston Public Radio show today. He was not sounding extremeley cogent at first but then he was making the point that hiphop is based on playing the dozens, stylized taunting. He talked about how as a young kid he couldn't play that game, his feelings always got hurt. But practicing it can show you that no one else can hurt you with words. And I found that very insightful. Yay funky George!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Responsibility

Knit Urgency
Finished second mitten. Both girls have worn them. Katy says they look like Little House on the Prairie mittens. Ha!

I bought blue wool/acrylic yarn on Saturday and started a sweater pattern. Found circular knitting needles that I haven't used since the early 90s. I really impressed myself by digging those up. Got to row 12 and realized I was lost. Ripped out and started again trying to keep better track of where I was. Now I'm back to row 10 and realized that I've dropped one stitch. I think I can add it back and continue. But maybe I should rip back and correct, argh.Otherwise I'll see the slub up by the neck of the sweater forevermore. Knitting is like a craft and a puzzle all together. Provides good cursing exercise too.
Two days later: I decided to go on and ignore my missed stitch. Sweater is on row 15 and has a new flub. I find that I should not knit much past 9:15pm as my error rate goes up. I like to knit in front of the tv but probably the radio is a better companion. Maybe I can blame my dyslexia on all the glancing up I was doing during Smash. I seem to reverse my loop formation every once in a while for no reason. For the first time I regret whatever ambidextrous tendencies I have. The pattern is now telling me to  "repeat these four rows" about 20 times until the next dramatic development. This would be less daunting if my errors were fewer. I like the yarn color and the weight. I hope I can get a wearable sweater out of this.

Rube Project
Katy has been talking for months with her enrichment teacher about a Rube Goldberg device competition at the university. I signed a permission form after carefully scanning it for parental responsibilities and not finding any. I figured they would construct something at school. But no, the mom of another student told us she was freaking out because the due date approacheth but she didn't know what the requirements were or how to help her kid. She did get the info finally. I am unwilling to take on the burden of project managing the effort. So I am open to the idea that they may not be able to get it done in ten days. But Katy is going over to her friend's house after school today and we'll see how far they get. Maybe friend and friend's parents will want to finish it up at their house. I am again taking my brain by the hand and consciously not taking this on.

Beat with Sticks
Is how I felt after work yesterday. It was a day with nonstop requests for responses from our team. Most days are not so hectic. In addition we had a walk-through for a new process and I was completely at sea. I wasn't feeling very well and being so unable to do the thing I was being shown put me close to tears. I realized I was taking it all too personally but that didn't make me feel immediately better. I asked a couple of questions and said that I'd try it on my own and see where I had trouble. So far today I'm avoiding it. But today I am not taking things so to heart. The software that creates printing access documents is not really all about me after all.

Time for Jeeves
It's time for me to read the February Jeeves and Wooster novel: Right Ho, Jeeves for my Goodreads group. I am sure I will enjoy this dip into the Wodehouse waters. Nothing else bookwise is grabbing my brain at the moment.

A Moment of Inattention
On Sunday I volunteered to help coordinate the Common House committee for our neighborhood community. It was a bit accidental. But at least I had the sense to wait until I a co-conspirator was identified. I'll have someone to complain to. Yikes I think I'll have to start reading the email threads more than once a week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Luv Spuds

I baked potatoes on Saturday and treated myself to the world's best twice baked pots. It's an Indian spice taste bonanza. Pretty sure I've linked the Bon Appetit recipe before. This weekend I was a little exasperated by all the chopping and mixing this time around. Chopping, grating, mixing and wait, there's more! No way is this going to be worth all this effort. I must have misremembered the deliciousness. But lo and behold it was entirely worth the trouble. These potatoes are yumazing. My only modification is that I didn't have a fresh chile on hand so I added some cayenne liberally to the potato filling. And I think it's good to go light on the grated cheese, it doesn't need much. I am almost ready to go back to work and do it all again.

I had a little leftover baked poato that didn't get the Indian spice treatment. I ate it last night with sauteed mushrooms and a little sour cream. That bowl of food also made my toes curl with happiness. I do eat things besides potatoes. Last night I also made a pot of tomato soup (repeat link) for Katy and I to enjoy. I don't usually make it with cream or half and half. I had planned to add a dollop of plain yogurt to our bowls from a new pint of Dannon. But I discovered it had an off taste. It's not spoiled, it smells like vanilla. It's not sweet at all but it tastes as though 1/4 of the vanilla flavoring from the vanilla variety had been added. Odd and no good for tomato soup. Instead I put a little pat of butter and a splash of milk in the soup. Tasty. We both noticed that it coated the spoon with a sort of rubbery layer. The acid of the tomatoes must do something to the milk protein, right? It did not seriously detract from our soup enjoyment.

The girls are making their own valentines this year. I am surprised at how enthusiastic they got about it. And I haven't had to cut out 50 tiny paper hearts or anything to help. They are growing up! If I want to cut out 50 tiny hearts I'll have to do it on my own behalf. I think Katy is completely done with hers and Lexi might be done as well.

Doesn't the new Selena Gomez song sound like Gaga to you? It's not just the autotune stutter, I wonder if the same producer is involved.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Too late, blizzard

Getting over my first winter cold. I can check that off forh the season. I have stopped waiting for the blizzard. Our weirdly mild winter is marching on and we are past the time for any vengeful deepfreeze. My last post's cold snap lasted only a couple of days and no precip. We got some rain and thunder last week, it was appreciated.

Super Bowl viewing was via the internet feed and was not everything that I have come to expect from network television. A neighbor brought her screen and laptop down to the common house so we could all squeeze in and watch together. It was fun for the festive vibe and the great eats (wings, chips&veggies and dips, Guinness cake yum). We didn't get the commercials until after they had run on network, then they were clickable. We didn't get the Madonna halftime show. This set off a tantrum from my oldest child. She was naturally more interested in the halftime show than anything else. The rest of us were a bit disappointed that we didn't get to watch the spectacle. But Katy was bereft. Nod took her home to see if he could get it to come in on our tv. The performance was over by the time they got there and Katy wailed. Nod lost his temper at this moment and stomped out of the house. Then he scraped himself together and comforted Katy. They found ol' Madonna on YouTube and peace was restored. Katy played it for us when we got home too. The SuperBowl was a long boring televisual event for kids. As is traditional. But what a good football game. It wasn't the match up I wanted and it wasn't the winner I wanted but there was plenty to watch until the very end. Pretty boy award goes to JPP. Tom Brady has grown out of that category but he's still more appealing than Eli who reminds me so much of a stump. That's it for football until next August (dusts off hands).

I got bored on Saturday night and taught myself to knit again. I have a great little knitting magazine from circa 1962. It has patterns and basic stitch instructions and pictures of babies with not-really-funny captions and pictures of cool models in the finished items. The model wearing the shoulder shrug (not an item that translates to current style) has the hairstyle and makeup that my mom had when she got married. I love it. I started a child's mitten figuring it would be a good finite learning project. I got a lot of practice casting on because I kept having to rip out the second row. My alternated 2 knit and 2 purl stitches were somehow resulting in way too many stitches. Five do-overs did not improve matters so I dug out my other knitting book (from only 20 years ago) and found the answer. She wrote something like "Remind beginners to switch the yarn when they switch from knit to purl or vice versa." That was it! Much better progress after that. I stayed up too late last night to finish off the first mitten. I'm proud of my accomplishment. (Imagine a small mitten glowing with triumph here.) I intend to start the mate tonight but no more burning the midnight oil. I've proven I can do it now so I can slow down this breakneck pace.

Nod is trying to get back to work on his potboiler novel. He solicited a spare desk from the next-door-neighbors and is going to plug in the old pc in the basement. This will result in a Facebook-free writing environment. There is a tiny house in the neighborhood that Nod says he fantasizes about making into his writing studio. Just enough room for him and no internet! Maybe when he sells that script...

I am intrigued by this metafilter link to a MUD chatroom where everyone is a cat.