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2015-11-16 01:28 pm

Strategy gaming starts early

My child would be the one who noticed that the pinata at the birthday party had a hole through which to load goodies and, instead of whapping the thing to break it open, was using the stick to try to tilt it up so the prizes would fall out of the hole. Alas, this was discouraged as soon as the adults caught on to what she was doing.
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2014-06-06 10:55 pm


We have invited the neighbor kids and their parents over for a pool party tomorrow. There are 5 neighbor kids within -1 to +3 years of C's age and only one of them has their own pool.

I was raised by introverts. Introverts with a profoundly disabled child. I can count on one hand the number of times I remember anyone other than a relative entering any home I lived in before the age of 18. I am nervous, but I would like C's experience to be different and I am willing to endure some discomfort to make that so. However, the house and yard are not up to perfectionist standards.

Today I decided that I would deliberately let that go. I am thinking that we could choose to be the neighbors you were not afraid to invite over because they clearly weren't holding themselves or anyone else to unrealistic Martha Stewart standards.

That's sane, right? As long as I sweep the floors and wipe the counters, the fact that there are toys and books everywhere and the back yard (outside the pool area) is a jungle is ok?

Dear Internet, please validate me.
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2014-01-17 11:23 am

(no subject)

I have started getting rid of old notes and papers from college and grad school. If I haven't looked at them in over 20 years and I don't even remember the class they came from, it's probably safe to recycle them now. I may keep a few souvenirs, though, like my Bio 1/2 lab notebook. Also my binder from my senior year directed reading. It was in a field that I now work in and it amuses me that I now collaborate with a number of people whose work I was reading then when the world of research was elevated and mysterious. Now I know where the sausages come from.
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2013-11-19 10:26 am
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Baby's first SF

I was lucky enough to put a library hold on Neil Gaiman's new Fortunately the Milk in the brief window after it had entered the library system but before it was available for check out. So I got one of the first copies. C came in as I was starting to read it, so I began reading aloud to her. And she listened. She listened through all 128 pages of it. In one sitting. I guess we can start chapter books now. Maybe Alice in Wonderland next?

Anyway, after a couple more reads over the course of the fortnight (good thing I enjoy that book), I was telling her that it had to go back to the library and we couldn't renew it because someone else had a hold on it. "You know," I said. "The one with the milk. And the dinosaur. In the balloon."

"Floaty-ball-person-carrier," she corrected me.

:) Win. I guess she was listening. Half a day after that conversation she told me she was sad that we had to give the milk book back to the library and couldn't renew it. I have offered to procure a copy just for us.

(Suggestions for other whimsical books of about that length welcome, please. But note that C does not like books with too much narrative tension. Bad Guys who are actually threatening are not fun for her. Bad Guys who are silly are ok.)
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2013-08-04 04:03 pm
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Two recipes

I have two Graham Kerr cookbooks, each of which has one recipe I used to make but haven't used for years. Archiving those recipes here so I can let the books go.

Spinach Salad:

1/2 C canned Mandarin orange sections
1/4 C toasted walnuts


1/4 C strained yogurt
1/4 C orange juice
1 Tbsp mustard

Assemble as you would expect.

Peanut Butter Spreadin'dipity:

1/2 C strained yogurt
1/2 C peanut butter
1 banana, peeled and mashed


To turn into dip, add:
2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp cayenne

To turn into sauce, add:
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 tsp soy sauce

I should see whether C would like this spread.
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2013-06-09 09:20 pm
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New Contender for Most Adorable Thing Ever

C was very excited about going to visit Mommy & Daddy's school. She had her suitcase packed for Alumni Weekend weeks ahead of time. So she was very disappointed when we explained that the airplane had a boo-boo and we wouldn't be going after all. (Long story, shortest version is multiple canceled planes, last one with busted hydraulics, with the result of ~24 hours in Philly if we'd actually gone.) But she took it like a trooper. She said that she should've brought her box of Dora bandaids so she could give the airplane a bandaid so that it would feel better. She says that next year she will bring her bandaids.
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2013-04-29 02:22 pm
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Recipe to try


1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 cup of sweet corn (use frozen or canned, or if you’re super fancy, scrape kernels off a fresh cob)
2 whole citrus fruits, diced (grapefruit tastes lovely, but you can use any citrus, like oranges or clementines)
1 large avocado chopped
1 bell pepper diced (preferably red)
1 half bunch of kale destemmed and chopped
1 half bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 red onion diced (to help with the sharpness of the onion, dice at the beginning of throwing everything together, and soak in cold water. throw it in towards the end.)

The juice of 3 limes
2 tsp of cumin
big pinch of sea salt
2 tbs of olive oil

1. Bring quinoa to boil with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
2. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or untils it fluffs easily with a fork, and all the water is absorbed.
3. Let the quinoa cool while you prepare everything else.
4. Combine beans, corn, citrus, avocado, bell pepper, kale, cilantro and onion in a large bowl. Toss all together.
5. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing.
6. Add the quinoa to the bowl and pour in the dressing, tossing everything together to combine. Enjoy!!!

(Courtesy of Paste magazine blog.)
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2012-12-21 02:17 pm
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Things I will want to remember someday

C has trouble pronouncing words that begin with 's' followed by a consonant. It is charming. I never correct her and savor these lingering signs of babyhood while I can.

She likes to join me while I am dressing and often declares that she is 'tinky' and demands my deodorant, which she quite properly sticks in the neck hole of her shirt, under each arm. In the last month or so she has figured out that the deodorant has a cover and now takes this off where before she would insert the lidded stick into her shirt.

She has just started getting better about letting us brush her teeth. Part of the bargain now is that I must hold her up to 'pit' into the sink after the brushing. She is not yet very effective at 'pitting', but I figure that will come.

We have gotten her a step stool so that she can reach the sink in 'her' bathroom. There is much hand washing of late. Messy, messy, wet, watery hand washing. She is having a grand time.

At the playground, there are two possessions of other kids that she consistently points at and asks "I try that" - soccer balls and scooters. We got her a soccer ball last week so that she can bring her own to the playground. F says that her initial attempts with it were like an old video game - she would be pointed not quite at it and her kick would miss it entirely. But he says that she caught on quite quickly. As to the other (shhhh - don't tell!), Santa has her covered. I am very excited/curious to see her reaction.

We are off in a couple days for the annual tour of the grandparents. Both locations have (or are predicted to be about to have) recent snow. So perhaps C will have the opportunity to sled or make snowpeople.

Happy holidays, everyone!
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2012-10-29 08:38 pm
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Must write this down in case I lose the issue of Vegetarian Times that it came from:

10 oz chocolate chips
1 C peanut butter
12 oz silken tofu
1 tsp agave
1 tsp vanilla
graham cracker crust

Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Blenderize melted chips, peanut butter, tofu, agave, and vanilla. Pour into crust and refrigerate. Tah dah! Chocolate peanut butter pie!
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2012-10-26 02:31 pm

A thing that resonated with me today

"C[onstructive] L[iving] asks one to accept reality (whatever one's is), know one's purpose (objectives), and do what must be done to reach those objectives." - Library Journal's review of Handbook for Constructive Living quoted on Amazon.
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2012-08-22 10:05 am
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Grocery list according to the almost-two-year-old

peanut butter

Pie and cake are always said together. We started to wonder what this mythical pie-cake could be. We speculate that it is the turducken of the dessert world.

In other adorableness, we have taught C how to play hide-and-go-seek. She needs some help counting when she's 'it' or hiding when she's not, but she enjoys it very much. So now we get occasional outbursts of "Hide! Two, three, nine!"
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2012-06-08 11:09 pm
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Nigh unbearable adorableness

For a while now, C has pointed at every stroller we pass, excitedly exclaiming "Baby!" So we are probably somewhat overdue in having gotten her her first baby doll. She has a collection of stuffed animals and one plush dolly with a rattle inside, but didn't have a realistic human doll until today.

Her excited grin when she first held it made my heart melt. I hope I remember that smile always. Just like any new mommy, C first inventoried her baby doll's body parts, pointing at and naming mouth, nose, eyes, toes, and hand. She marveled at how the doll's eyes open and close. She brushed baby's hair. She went and got a diaper for baby.

The cute, it burns.
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2012-03-26 12:59 pm
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Happy Birthday, Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy is an interesting guy. I'm sure everyone here knows about his career in music and has probably heard The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. But did you know that he's a professional photographer? Really. And some of his stuff is pretty cool:


(Note that pics at that link might be considered NSFW.)
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2012-03-16 09:55 pm
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4 C water
1 C corn meal

Bring 3 C water to a boil. Meanwhile, mix 1 C corn meal with the remaining 1 C cold water. Stir corn meal mixture into boiling water. Lower heat to a simmer & cover. Cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic or onion powder with corn meal if desired. Stir in egg or cheese at the end if desired. For maximum authentic nostalgia value for F, serve with ketchup. (C appears to prefer hers with ketchup too.)
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2012-03-08 09:42 pm
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I am a person with braces.

I am rather proud of myself for having gone from someone with significant and longstanding dental phobias to someone doing the right thing for her long term health in the space of only a few months. And really, getting the braces on wasn't so bad. And the teeth aching isn't so bad. The problem is my tongue. The anchor bands on my molars have pokey bits on the inside and I can't eat ANYTHING without feeling as though my tongue is being sliced open. I was prepared for the teeth to hurt. I had pots of soup and mashed potatoes and yogurt and pudding all lined up and ready to go. And I can't eat them. The tongue movement required for swallowing feels like I'm being sliced open. Today I have consumed one smoothie and two mugs of thoroughly pureed potato soup. Not good. My google searching is returning results varying from 'use wax and wait until your soft tissues form calluses which should be 5 days - a month' to 'call the orthodontist and ask if they can file the pokey bits off'. A month of consuming < 1000 calories a day is not going to work so I think I'd better call. But they're closed on Fridays, so I'm afraid I'm stuck with this for the next three days at least.


Anyone here have any personal experience to share? I had braces in high school. But that was a long time ago. The main thing I remember is that the impressions were awful. That wasn't so bad this time. (Having upper and lower done sequentially rather than simultaneously helped a lot. 45 seconds versus three minutes helped a lot. Having agency - knowing that I chose to be there myself - helped a lot.) This time I will wear my retainers. Promise.
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2011-08-11 11:05 pm


My understanding, via popular culture, is that many young girls spend some time imagining themselves as mothers. "I will have X number of children and I will name them A, B, and C!", "I will never say X!", I am told they say to themselves. I, for the most part, did not ever imagine myself as a mother. But here I am. (And loving it, for the most part!) The one exception is that I recall my parents declining to sit on the floor and I remember promising myself, as a young child, that if I was ever a parent, I would sit on the floor to play with my child. I am very happy to say that, so far, I am keeping the promise I made to myself way back when.

What about y'all? When you were small, did you imagine yourself as a parent some day? Did you have specific things you were/were not going to do? Have you done/not done them?
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2011-08-04 10:33 am
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Hah! I haz life skillz! I am rather pleased with myself this morning after borrowing a teeny tiny phillips head screwdriver from the sysadmins at work and replacing the battery in my car's remote entry/key fob.

Hopefully this will solve the mysterious "slow to start" problem I've been having sporadically for the last month. (It should. The key fob battery is supposed to last 1-3 years and the car is almost four years old and the procedure for "what to do if the key fob battery is dead" worked for getting the car to start, so all signs point to this as the problem.)
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2011-07-25 09:38 pm
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(no subject)

This weekend's edition of "Mommy time" was a trip to the movies to see Beginners. It was an excellent movie though a more serious one than I was expecting based on what I had heard about it. Christopher Plummer and his character, Hal, stole the show though there was much to like in the other characters and performances as well.
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2011-07-17 07:33 pm
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Mommy's morning out

I have not really taken much time for myself in the last 10 months. I think I need to start doing that more. We're at a point where it's easier logistically. And I think I'm a more patient mommy when I've had some "me time". Also, as the mother of a little girl, I think it's important to model taking some time for oneself. The idea that the ideal wife and mother puts everyone else ahead of herself is still fairly strong in our culture. To some extent, I have drunk that kool aid. And I think it's not entirely healthy.

Yesterday I took two and a half hours for myself. It was lovely.

There is a meditation class every Saturday morning in the Japanese gallery at the art museum. I had read about it a while back but once upon a time 10:15 on a weekend morning seemed early to me. (Hah!) Yesterday I went to the class. I've done mini meditation sessions in my yoga class and guided meditations via my iPod. But I believe the longest meditation I had previously attempted was 12 minutes. The class was 45 minutes. We sat on our museum-provided cushions on the floor. There were six of us. The instructor asked me and another newcomer about our prior experience and then explained briefly that the idea was to focus on our breath and that she would ring the bell four times to start and once to end. There followed 40 minutes of silence. It was great. I sat. I focused on my breath. Inhaling. Exhaling. Thoughts wandered in and I tried not to follow them and to go back to my breath. Inhaling. Exhaling. I had a mental imagine of my brain as a monkey jumping up and down and waving its arms. Monkey mind. Hee. Inhaling. Exhaling. I had the occasional doubt about whether I could make it to 40 minutes. No way to know how long we'd been going. Probably we weren't even halfway there yet. Inhaling. Exhaling. *DING*

I made it the whole 40 minutes! And it didn't seem like nearly that long. And I felt very relaxed afterwards. It was excellent. When the class was over I went downstairs to see The Missing Peace, an exhibit of art inspired by the Dalai Lama and his work. Some nifty stuff in there. I liked the portraits of the Dalai Lama and the Buddhist-related art the best. I ended my morning out with a lovely piece of mushroom and brie quiche and a cup of coffee on the terrace of the museum cafe, overlooking the river.

I likely won't do that every week, but I definitely do want to do it again sometime.