Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Garden plot

Beets! I cooked a pound and a half of them last night. They were from our farm share from about a month ago. They had been sitting in a ziplock in the fridge so long Nod asked if he could throw them out. I said no. Hell, they're roots, they ought to last a good long time. So glad to have them cooked, they smelled wonderful in the pan and tasted great. I think a few were actually salad turnips but they boiled just fine with the beets. I am the only beet eater in the family. Kat told me that I am a fan of the less common vegetables. There are still unknown frontiers in my future: cardoons, celeriac, fennel, etc.

Thank goodness for roots. I had to do a general purge of veg things that were squishy last weekend. I haven't yet been out to the garden to see if we have any small whales of yellow squash lurking  I have potatoes and a couple of farm zukes so I will need to make potato/veggie fritters. The recipe is in my favorite pancake class of foods.

I made banana pancakes to use the swarthy bananas. I modified this recipe to use more banana and less egg. But here's a paleo no flour option that I might try to use up the 1.5 bananas in my freezer. Nod eats banana bread and banana muffins but discovered that banana pancakes were just too banana-y for him. The girls and I took care of them.

Our corn patch is past its prime. I tried a just-picked ear but the kernels were big and starchy. Then I tried an ear that Nod had picked while I was out of town. Same story, sigh. Such deliciousness for a such a brief time. On a hopeful note, there are cherry tomatoes coming in. Need to go whisper encouraging things to them.

Work has many things to do. I am remembering my mantra: Don't take it personally. Have submitted my travel receipts. Have scrounged up the contact info I forgot to get while at the conference. Have had a first meeting to share out the work of testing on an upcoming Sunday morning. Am looking at job openings again just to keep it in mind. A friend found a job with a start up recently and it does make one think.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For the birds

Birding moments in DC: watching an osprey dive into the Potomac. Didn't come up with anything but I got to watch the bird fly and shake the water off its feathers simultaneously. I haven't ever seen that trick before. I read later that sometimes bald eagles in the area rob ospreys of their fish. Also saw some ravens at a distance. I'm glad to know there are ravens in our nation's capital.

Birding moment at home: green hummingbird checking out the rose of sharon bush. Rejected. Wish we had a trumpet vine for them.

The ugly plants in the front have large collections of tiny pale pink/purple flowers that the bumble bees and butterflies like. I'm glad I didn't pull them up by the roots in the spring. I removed a bunch of burr weeds and cut down a lot of goldenrod in the back. It looks much better and less sneezy back there. Mowing the back yard on Saturday and the front yard on Sunday knocked me out. Would like to build up the stamina again. Five days in a hotel made me want to exercise but heat advisory temps make me want to not. It's supposed to break tonight.

That reminds me that yoga is tonight. Everything happens on Tuesday: music lessons for both girls this morning. An intro lesson from the voice teacher for Bun at noon thirty. A tryout circus class for Bun this evening, Kat's circus lesson. Yoga. Kaboom.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Morning thunderstorm, the sky was getting darker as I was driving to work. On Monday Kat played softball and we expected to roast. We had a heat advisory, hot and humid, but enormous clouds were drifting around as well. Play was stopped due to lightning, then restarted in light rain, then called off when the storm line continued right over the field. Bun's last game is tonight and then Freedom! from softball schedules at least.

Conference next week in DC which will be a refreshing shot of hot and humid. I am slightly disappointed that we are in a luxury resort down the river away from Capitol Hill and museums and touristy stuff. We may be able to get over to Alexandria and kick up our heels if we have time. Otherwise I'll just have to put up with the luxury.

Quite tired of discussions with my spouse and parent about whether Kat will go to ABQ this summer. As part of the long list of alternatives we thought about sending both girls. But Bun says she doesn't want to travel without parents so she's out of the picture. Both spouse and parent want me to explain the other's reasoning to them. I can't do that.

Kat will perform with her circus school at the renaissance fest this fall. Four weekends, we don't have to drive her, we get family passes for one weekend. I wonder what else will be going on in Sept and Oct that will conflict that I can't foresee right now. ABQ Balloon Fiesta is one.

Wonder when I'll be able to get the front mowed. Would my softball nickname be Sensible Shoes? I do still like to play sometimes, not just mow the lawn and cook vegetables. Had a great afternoon at the Tonganoxie city pool. Threw the pool football with the girls until my arm hurt. Somehow I am very brown, tanner than Kat.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


A glimpse of our favorite monument in Morehead City, North Carolina, a bust of Captain James "Woo Woo" Benjamin Harker IV:

Woo Woo Ha...
Nod said the attribution should read 'perpetrated by' instead of 'sculpted by'. It's my favorite southern nickname to date. Here's a page with the captain's angling strategy when going after red snapper: Captains' Confidential.

I watched a national news story about shark attacks in the Carolinas last week and saw that there were attack dates before we visited and attack dates after we visited. But we hit the coast just as the sharks took a one week vacation, thanks be to Fortuna. Global warming, presence of sea turtle hatchlings, bait fish running very close to shore, and lunar cycles were all offered as possible contributors to the presence of so many sharks in close at swimming beaches. That link also mentions that low rainfall means the seawater is extra salty right now and sharks like that condition as well.

Our eco-tour guide said that he'd been sent to count sharks after beaches were closed in the 80s due to attacks. He went up in a helicopter and counted sharks. After a couple of days he concluded, yep, there's lots of sharks in the ocean and it's not possible to tell when they will come in to a beach. They re-opened the beachs at that time and didn't have any more trouble during the season. Right now the National Parks Service is recommending caution at barrier island beaches.

One kid is lice free. The other kid had just one nit the last check. I will comb again tonight. Sleepovers are beckoning, but can only be resumed when the all-clear is sounded. I also need to call our NC hosts and be humble and warn them. I've been putting that off for a few days.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Extended weekending

I took Nod out for pity coffee on Friday morning in the rain. He had to work and I didn't, thus the pity. It cleared after the wet gray morning and he got done by a reasonable hour so the day ended well. Nod recently had a doctor's exam for an unrelated matter which discovered a small hernia. He's been walking around like a cat with its fur fluffed up. I think it's touched a mortality nerve. Can't blame him. He's going to schedule a consultation and find out if surgery comes sooner or later.

Fam all played pictionary on Friday night and it was a hoot. We use our Apples to Apples cards for prompts and everyone is allowed to reject a card if it's too abstract. Nod's cross-section drawing of the hallway beneath an attic with pulldown ladder and boxes, etc. was fascinating but utterly unguessable. Fire escape? Battleship? City skyline?

Went to see Inside Out with Bun on the 4th. The other half of the family couldn't be tempted. We had a good time with our outing but I am still trying to decide how to describe the movie. Good but not exactly Fun is what I'm coming to. It was thought provoking and touching but not quite the sno-cone I was hoping for. Which is fine. It's the family movie that earnest Berkeley parents will love. Favorite bits: Bing Bong's cotton candy torso and the marble sound effects for the memories.

Fireworks watching on the levee was fabulous. Our friends were in the designated spot first and we all sat just beyond the CAUTION tape. Luxury conditions: it wasn't too hot and we had enough bug repellent. Camellia introduced us all to the fireworks name game in which you think of poetic and silly names for each color/shape combo. Cherry Snowball was my contribution. Nod brought 80 glow sticks and between the seven of us we used most of them to general delight. After the show Gen and Molly strung all the leftovers onto Camellia's bicycle so she was more colorful and visible. I may need to buy her a bike light. The finale was super amazing and I was commenting about how the fireworks crew has gotten better and better at their job during my eleven years in this town. Then two more shells went up, bang, pow. Guess they missed them earlier and didn't want any leftovers. Continuous improvement!

He and I got out to the skinny dip pond yesterday afternoon. It was sunny and still a bit cool in the water. You can tell that we haven't had any triple digit highs yet. Too many kids and two too many dogs for my preference. Not a peak experience. Am I getting jaded? Rescuing a beach ball from the cattails was my favorite bit.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Righting the boat

Bobbing up and back on a more even keel. There was no bathroom crying yesterday. I made the decision not to make any progress with my tasks tracking updates. And I am not feeling the same existential dread. As with most things in the workplace, it's not personal.

Glad we bought that batting helmet. I found more nits in Bun's hair yesterday.  May do the olive oil treatment tomorrow. As with other caretaking chores, it's like having a time-consuming hobby that isn't very fun. I have to admit that my primate grooming drive is satisfied when I get through. But I would feel more satisfied all 'round if I found fewer bugs rather than more. Grrrrrr. No sleepovers this week.

The girls are chicken sitting for the neighbors who are gone to NC sandhills for a week. I'm going to give the chicks our terrible watermelon and buy a new one. Please, o watermelon god, direct me to a good dense sweet one. Gotta have it for 7/4. I wonder what offering would propitiate a melon god...

We'll be on the levee to watch the city fireworks show on Saturday.

Bun's sunflower that she started from seed in elementary school Garden Club is blooming. Hello, summer. Nod and I may try to go skinnydipping this weekend.

Just realized that a French translation of Spontaneous Tomato is La tomate spontan√©. This is making me smile.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


New way of working has been proposed for our team. It involves using calendar and notes software to track projects and tasks. My subconscious finds it very threatening judging from the time I spent crying in the restroom yesterday. I also was crying about not getting the youngest to her softball game on time. Not sure if that was just because the pump was primed or if my amygdala considers it of equal weight.

Instead of feeling broken and like I'm doing something wrong at work I decided to try and imagine my dream job. It includes a hefty amount of reading. Some puzzle solving must be present, in the form of customer service is fine. A workplace with some bustle is preferred, not too quiet. Pleasant routines plus 40% variable would be ideal. Include some proof reading and writing for internal consumption. Working for a group with broadly altruistic aims is best.

Quick glance at local offerings does not give me reason to work up the resume. Yet.

The softball game was execrable and our kids couldn't pick up a grounder to save their lives. Went home and got out the sun lamp so I could check heads. Headlice confirmed last Friday night. One nit found on each kid last night. I'll keep at it daily and we should be able to get past this itchy unpleasantness.