Friday, August 31, 2012

Bouncing Stones

Urgent update --- British art installation (just managed to not put "" around that phrase) titled Sacrilege: is a life-size replica of Stonehenge made as a fully operational bouncy castle.

That is all.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Small Potatoes

Went out to the park last night to join the hula hoop meetup. Katy went with me and we didn't find any other hoopers so we plunked ourselves right by the beautiful butterfly garden and fooled around with our round toys. After a while we were joined by a couple of college women. From their conversation (which contained many instances of the verb "hooping") they sounded like freshmen. It wasn't a fiesta but it was a beautiful evening to be in the park. Katy saw some tricks that she'd like to learn. I would claim to not be focused on tricks... except that I want to figure out how to transfer the hoop from my waist to my neck and back again. Katy does this with a masterful dip of her shoulders. I can sometimes do it but sometimes I dip and nothing happens. I have a "hoop dance" dvd reserved at the library, we'll see what that shows me.

I've reached a point in the Golden Fool book where I am tired of all of the characters. I'm tired of the protagonist and his stupid self sabotaging secrets. I'm tired of the male dominant / bastards are rejected society. I'm tired of life at court where the events to look forward to are conversations while taking exercise on horseback or conversations before/during/after the ball. As I told Nod last night, someone's horse was killed menacingly by the secret society a couple of chapters back and that seemed promising but nothing has come of it. I will take his advice and skim until exciting events are revealed. It's the middle book of a trilogy but surely it's not mandatory for it to wander aimlessly. One last whinge -- the cover! It's a tease image of a young woman's back with an elaborate dragon tattoo. Nothing of the sort has appeared in the book so far. We'll see if it is quite unrelated to the text as book covers sometimes are. Grumble.

We had start of school open house night on Tuesday. They fed us hot dogs and we got to look at our kids' classrooms and meet the teachers. It felt less intense than other years. I guess as the kids get older and we get (a tiny bit) more organized it's easier to get to the after school events. Katy just about popped because I went to Lexi's class first. Such intensity. We got there in the end. Lexi showed me her haiku about trees. It had a drawing of a willow tree and reminded me of a sampler. Nod didn't get home in time to go and has been in a snit most of the week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In the press

It's the second day of classes on campus. My kids are enjoying their fifth school day of the year. I'm busy at work but not as overwhelmed as in past years. This position is not front line so I don't talk to students or faculty directly for the most part. It's a luxury that makes me a little uncomfortable. I feel like I should be helping all those teeming masses. Yesterday I did sit at an information table to help students find buildings and give them free planners, maps and water. That was jolly. Neon running shoes are in. Low or invisible socks are still the style for women. No one was wearing pyjamas (yet), they all had the first day of school buzz.
I have enjoyed The Magicians by Grossman so far but I am getting leery of our anti hero. He is a pathetic mess and I am not liking his friends much either. Now that they've gotten to the magical land I wonder whether the author is going to squish them rather than give them the safe adventure they were hoping for. I may go so far as to skim to find out.
I've picked up the second book in Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series and am chomping at the bit to start that one.
Lexi's hoodie is turning out to be a winner. I've used a pattern from Tracy Ullmann and Mel Clark's Knit 2 Together. Aside from one not very well explained neck detail, the pattern is totally working for me. The colors that Lexi chose are great. After I proposed some sober looking yarn she said "Mom, I like bright colors!" And so she does. We ended up with purpley/bluey self patterned and a bright raspberry for the sleeves. It's 100% cotton because I love the feel of cotton sweaters. Gen tells me that in a larger garment one needs to beware the dreaded cotton droop. But this sucker is small enough to get away with. The fit is not the greatest. I've got the sleeves about the right length but the torso is not only long but wide. Ending up with well fitting garments can be a goal for the future. I'm just happy they're wearable now. I asked Nod whether he wanted a sweater since I've produced one for everyone else in the family. I told him that I wasn't too keen because it would be so much bigger than the other garments I've made and because I didn't want to foist anything on him. He replied very diplomatically that when I want to tackle knitting socks he will wear those.

It's nice to have Missouri taking a turn in the national spotlight as the state with backward ignorant fudie politicans. Kansas appreciates it! We're just absorbing the news of a congressman who went skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee while on an official visit. I like skinny dipping, Kevin, you don't need to apologize!

Finished with The Magicians now. The end of the action in Fillory was better than I expected. But I thought it was too literal a borrowing of the setting of Lewis's barrow under the stone table in Narnia. The very end of the book felt like it was tacked on. How weird that the magicians appear in mid air outside the office tower window as though they were superheroes. Which leads me to the disgression that one of my favorite silly action movies, Long Kiss Goodnight, is really about what it means to be a mother while being a superhero. (What does that title mean, anyway? It sounds so much like The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. And this movie is not a noir at all.)

Finished sewing on the kangaroo pocket on the front of Lexi's hoodie last night. I will wash it and see if it fits any better after. I'm feeling very proud of it.

Has anyone else noticed Twitter not working right over the last couple of days? I don't twit myself but I look at a couple of people's streams. Right now I can only see tweets from the last 12 hours. The older ones never load. The completely inadequate message is "Loading seems to be taking a while.
Twitter may be over capacity or experiencing a momentary hiccup. Try again or visit Twitter Status for more information."  Of course there is nothing recent on Twitter Status to explain this. You tweeters, send a complaint for me!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


How to eat sunflower seeds. Living in the rectangular sunflower state, it feels like a right and good thing to eat. I like the sweetness of the raw seeds. Our drab but well stocked grocery store sells shelled seeds in the bulk section, roasted/salted and raw. Of course I can't sit around shelling seeds at work, too messy and finger occupying. Even though they are ready to eat, how to get the itty bitty seeds in mah mowf? I almost wish I had a small bowled, long handled spoon. That would work if I lived in the prim etiquette-heavy alterna-universe of my dreams. Mostly I pour the seeds into my palm and then toss them in my maw. But then I have to wipe lipstick off my hand. More strategic contemplation is needed.

This article is convincing me that my disdain for seedless watermelon is nothing but the mark of being a hidebound traditionalist. They say that nothing is lost taste-wise in the seedless fruit development. I scoff because as a kid watermelon was sweet and delicious but also an invitation to sanctioned spitting. Going for distance spitting against my brother was lots of fun. Why give that up?The seedless thing is just to make the fruit easier for mechanical preparation I'm sure. Nod says he likes watermelon if it is very crisp. He can't take it if it has a mushy texture. Lexi loves watermelon. Katy doesn't like any melons at all.

I made this (Quinoa Salad with Grilled Zucchini, Poblanos and Feta) with the broiler and it was mind blowing. The smell of the poblano chiles blistering was perfectly satisfying to begin with. I popped them into a glass bowl with a plate on top so they could steam and their skins would be easy to remove. Then I broiled the zukes and that worked excellently as well. I am not a griller but I luuurv the broiler. I used chicken broth to make the quinoa. I'm getting ready to make it again. I'm going to use bell peppers and just one hot pepper so I can make it more Katy-friendly and keep the hot for the mature audience. I had to scrape the last of the quinoa out of the bulk item bin at the grocery store last night so I would have enough. What I needed was a tiny quinoa dust buster but they haven't thought of that yet.

A neighbor has been giving out cilantro seeds (coriander). I want to plant them right now but am told I should wait 'til spring. I have a big plant pot on the west porch that I think of as my flowers and herbs pot. Not that it grows much but that's what I put in it when I have a surge of gardening interest. This year it has been regularly rumbled by a squirrel searching for roots and goodies. I caught him at it last week and went out and slapped the porch railing and yelled at him. Perhaps next spring it'll be time for battening the hatches with some wire or cloth to keep out the rodents.

Just finished this book, How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater. I found it annoying at first but it grew on me. I liked the ending except for a quibble with a guest star appearance. High school theater geeks in the class of '84, how could I resist?