Saturday, October 04, 2014

PBP: March, 2013

Here, have some snow pictures from March of last year.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Photo Backlog Project (PBP): December, 2012

Let us hop into our way-back machine...

...back to Christmastime a couple of years ago. The kids and I had gone to the playground at the rec center to try and take Christmas card photos. You may remember the finished product from that year.

D'awww. Look at them. Cute little beastlings.

Anyway, there were quite a lot of other photos that didn't make the cut but were actually pretty decent pictures, and I've finally gotten around to going through them.

We gave the elf hats a solid try, but they were a little big and just kept slipping off.

"Mommy, can't you put the camera away and just let us plaaaaaay?"

Spider-Boy and a little elfin watcher

Some people understood the concept of "stand behind the tree and peek around" better than others. ;)
(In her defense, she wasn't even 3 years old yet. Hehe.)

Eleri has always been the queen of the "resting b-face."

"No more pictures!"

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Coming Soon

In an effort to (re-re-re-re-)revive this blog, I'm getting ready to embark on the task of going through what has become a rather sizable backlog of photos sitting idle on my hard drive. I'm not kidding; there's unprocessed/unposted stuff going as far back as December 2012, so this will be no small undertaking. But I'm hoping to post weekly-ish about my progress here, as well as work to organize and update my Flickr albums, which are also kind of a haphazard mess these days. So stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whole week at once!

Man, it's easy to fall off the blogging wagon if I skip a day. Hah. Let's get caught up.

As I think I mentioned before, something we're doing as a family this summer is keeping daily journals. Tom and I both have little notebooks, and the kids each have a big notebook, with space for a sentence and a drawing on each page. We haven't set any requirements beyond "do an entry every day" - kids can write about something they did, can make up a story, whatever. Eleri really took this flexibility to heart with her entry yesterday.

"this is A volcAno."

Most of the time, though, their entries have been variations on a theme.

Tae kwon do: our daily activity since school let out. They have really, really enjoyed it. And I'm not kidding; 11 of the last 13 journal entries have been about going to tae kwon do, with accompanying pictures of kicks, punches, jumping jacks, et cetera. We'll probably try to pick it back up in the fall, join up for real and let the kids start working their way toward belts and things. (At this particular studio, they can start doing actual belt testing at age 8, but before then, they earn striped belts based on attendance.) Anyway. It's great exercise and good reinforcement of self-control and discipline and all of that. I'm definitely on board with pursuing it further.

But back to the recap. The reason I mentioned the overwhelming presence of TKD in the kids' journal entries is that one of the two non-TKD entries came as a result of our Monday and Tuesday evening activity. I bought tickets for a special 2-night screening thing. Monday night, Soren and I went to watch the Doctor Who episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel."

D! on the left is for "Doctor" and C! on the right is for "Cyberman"

The little dude was so excited. Doctor Who on the big screen! Date night with Mommy! It was super loud and kind of too intense in places as a result, but he loved it. All week afterward, he's been telling anyone who will listen all about it. Hehe.

Oh yes, and I guess the US won their soccer game that night, too. ;)

Tuesday night it was El's turn. The second night they were showing a nature documentary called "Wings 3D" (narrated by David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, so there's your tie-in, fishbulb).

"I went to the Wings movie."

El's drawing requires a bit more explanation. The documentary followed a bunch of different migratory birds. It was all shot in 3D, and some of the footage was even captured from cameras strapped to the birds themselves. It was quite pretty and really neat overall, but there was one scene wherein we were watching African Cranes get a free dinner. Basically, they hung out by a bunch of seals, and when the seal pups ventured away from shore out into Great White Shark-infested waters, the birds would follow the pups out know...pick up whatever the sharks left behind. It was gory. I mean, that's nature, I get it, but the scene went on a bit too long and really, apparently, stuck in Eleri's mind. She's drawn herself in the theater on the left and a shark with its big teeth on the screen on the right. Poor kiddo. Overall though, she had a good time, too. She was wiggly for the first third or so of the movie (fortunately there were only about 8 of us in the whole theater), but after that I pulled her up on my lap and we snuggled for the rest of it.

Wednesday morning we went to the indoor trampoline park with some friends. Both kids discovered the dodgeball courts and had a grand time bouncing and throwing balls around. Wednesday night we had a crazy intense thunderstorm in the middle of the night. Woke Tom & me from a dead sleep at midnight, rained so hard we couldn't see across the street, huge crashes of thunder and super-bright flashes of lightning. Lots of wind, too (I think Tom said they registered 78 mph at the airport). There were a lot of branches down in the morning, and one of our tomato plants got snapped clean in half. Bummer.

Thursday we went back to the barn, though I left my iPod in the car, so I didn't get any photos this time. Soren got to hold the reins this time though and practice steering. He thought this was super awesome.

Friday we hit the coffee shop in the morning, then came home to do some cleaning in preparation for my mom's visit!

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. TKD class in the morning, followed immediately by grocery shopping and Chipotle pickup. When we got home, I had time to eat just a little bit of food before I had to get ready to go out again. It was the Alexandria Food & Wine Festival, and every year for the past 3, the studio where I take zumba classes has done a zumba demo at the festival, so I said I'd come participate. The first two years it was really, really, unpleasantly hot! But yesterday was an unseasonably cool, overcast, kind of drizzly (if still rather humid) day. Perfect! It was a ton of fun. There was a Latin band playing before it was our turn, and they were actually covering some of the songs we do in class, so a bunch of us were dancing in front of the stage before the demo had actually even begun. The demo itself went really well, too. :)

When I got home, Tom and the kids had done a bunch of cleaning. I had the rest of my lunch and a shower, then helped finish up the last couple of rooms. As stressful as cleaning for guests can be, it really does feel awfully nice afterward when the house looks better than it has in weeks. ;) Hehe. Mom's flight was supposed to get in at 7pm, but delays in Chicago meant she didn't actually get here til almost 9:00. Soren was super duper unhappy about not getting to come with me to the airport to get her (even more upset due to the fact that he was completely exhausted), but both kids dozed for a bit and then woke up again after we got home, so they got to have some welcome snuggles after all.

Remember Eleri's journal entry from yesterday? The volcano? No idea what that was about. Here's Soren's.

Today, Mom got to come see the kids' last TKD class in the morning. The three of them have been playing extraordinarily quiet games all day long. It's been kind of glorious. Delicious BGR for lunch, and we've got a pork roast marinating for dinner. More soccer is on tap tonight (USA! USA! USA!). And! It's stayed cooler than usual today. All in all, a pretty excellent week. The next one promises to be pretty freaking awesome as well. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you guys. :)

Happy Father's Day, Tom! You are awesome and wonderful, and I hope you enjoyed your day full of soccer and delicious lunchtime burger and more soccer. ;) The weather was pretty mild today, which was nice. I gave Tom a bit of quiet this morning by taking the kiddos to TKD. They've gone 7 days in a row! (and are set to go 7 more) I'm glad they're still enjoying it, though Soren was a little ambivalent about getting out the door this morning.

In the evening, S&E played for a good long while with the kids next door. I'm really glad they get along so well. It's always nice to have buddies in the neighborhood.

I may not get a chance to update here tomorrow evening, because Soren and I will be going to see a special showing of some Doctor Who episodes in the theater! He's very excited, and...I'm not gonna am I. We're meeting up with a friend of mine, and I think it'll be a lot of fun. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sorry, it's a two-fer tonight

I didn't get around to posting yesterday, and today's would have been like 2 lines long, so I'm combining them.

Friday, during the school year, is typically Coffee Shop Day. I've got a small group of moms I tend to hang with once a week at Grounded, and while it's a bit less calm and relaxing with all of the kids in tow, it's still nice to get together. So we did that, yesterday morning. We went over to the rec center afterward to let the kids run around. It was a muggy day, and they were pretty quickly sweaty, but it wasn't too bad in the shade. We came home, had lunch, did language time, and generally laid low til TKD time, though there was a huge (but brief) thunderstorm in the middle of the afternoon. I ran outside for less than a minute to pull a couple of plants under cover and came back into the house soaked. My shoes didn't dry until the next morning! Crazy.

Today there was TKD in the morning, so Tom got to come along. The kids were pretty excited to show off for him. The rest of the day was spent mostly lazing and watching World Cup soccer, though I did do a major clean-and-organize of our bathroom upstairs. (It had been bugging me for a while.) Delicious carne asada tacos for dinner and more soccer rounded out our evening. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Barn day!

Since the Thursday TKD class starts at the same time that I'm usually heading out to the barn, we made today a pony rides kind of day. The kiddos helped me groom Vanya and fed him tons of carrots. Then I exercised him on the longe line, and then they each got to take a turn riding at the walk.

Vanya is such a good sport, and it was pretty clear he enjoyed all of the attention (and snacks). The kids were mostly well-behaved. Sometimes it's hard to keep the enthusiasm under control, but they were good about taking it down a notch when reminded.

It started raining hard while we were driving home, so our timing was pretty good! But it also nixed our original plan to go to the pool in the afternoon. Oh well. There will be many more opportunities I'm sure.

Evening TKD was good. Both kids have of course already made friends. Soren and his buddy of the day were separated for talking too much (my shocked face, let me show you it), and Eleri was holding hands with her new friend by the end of class (again, shocking). I'm glad they're enjoying it, though. :)

This week's new park: Clemyjontri

One of my goals for the summer is to check out one new park or playground per week. I think some weeks we may fudge this rule a bit to include parks we've been to before, but not for quite a while. This week though was a brand new one, and one I've been meaning to go visit for about 3 years now - Clemyjontri Park.

It's kind of magnificent-looking, nu?

Anyway, we met up with some friends there yesterday morning. The kids all ran around in a little pack of four most of the time, climbing on all of the little things there were to climb on. It was pretty adorable.

With friends at Clemyjontri Park

With friends at Clemyjontri Park

With friends at Clemyjontri Park

It had been storming off and on earlier that morning, so the park (which is quite popular and often extremely crowded) was not too busy. And with a bit of a breeze early on, it wasn't terribly unpleasant out, even though it was muggy. A couple of hours later, though, it was rather a bit warmer, so everyone was ready to pack it in and call it a day.

Tire swingin'

But not before lunch and a trip on the carousel, of course. ;)

Carousel girl

The verdict? I really wish I'd gotten my act together and come out to this park a year or two ago. It was cool, but the majority of the play structures and things seemed geared toward younger kids. There's also not a ton of shade, and once the sun comes out in full force, that rubberized play surface heats up like a mofo and just radiates the warmth back up. So it was neat, and the kids had a good time, but it's also a good 25-minute trek (without traffic), so not likely to be a place we return to often.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Last Slow Morning

"Slow morning" is actually kind of a misnomer. Today was the last day this week we didn't have anything planned for the morning. Nowhere to be. You'd think this would be a great thing. Or, I mean, I would.


Yeah, there's more initial work involved in getting everyone ready and out the door in the morning, but most of the time you (we) end up with less of the manic bouncing-off-the-walls that tends to happen when we stick around the house. It's not as though I don't know this, but somehow I always seem to lull myself into the false sense of "but it'll be so much easier if we don't have to rush anywhere." Sigh.

But! We made some more bracelets on the little rubber band loom thing I bought them, and once lunch time rolled around, I got my act together and got us out of the house. A rare lunch out (they've been begging for lunch at Noodles & Co for months now), and then some erranding. Home again, and an early dinner prep because tae kwon do was at 6pm tonight. I'm surprised it took this long for the people there to be all, "Soooooo, you planning on continuing here once your free two weeks are up?" I told them that we're already pretty booked for the rest of the summer, between classes and camps and stuff, but that we'd maybe be interested in coming back once school starts up again, provided the kids keep enjoying these two trial weeks. It seems like they have a pretty solid, well-rounded program there, and I can see a lot of benefit from kids doing martial arts type stuff, what with the constant reinforcement of respect and discipline and such. Anyway, we'll see. If they want to pursue it, I think it definitely could be worth the investment.

And oh yes, for my own future reference: dinner tonight was this marinated pork tenderloin recipe over an arugula salad (featuring beets, goat cheese, and green beans from our own garden!) Super tasty. A++ will make again.

Monday, June 09, 2014


So, here we were. First Monday of summer break. I had stuff planned, but not too early, sort of easing us into things. As a result, the kiddos were a little bit manic in the morning. We had breakfast and tried to figure out the little rubber band loom thing I bought. The kids played cards and built with Legos while I did some writing. I've instituted a "foreign language every day" policy for the summer, so they're allowed to choose a Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese or ASL program to watch during lunch. Soren is stubbornly opposed to this plan, so Eleri got to pick today, since he was being a pill. (She picked Spanish.)

We won some tae kwon do passes in the raffle of the fun fair at the kids' school this spring, so we're using those for TKD classes every day for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, I pulled a major mom fail and misread the schedule, so instead of being 10 minutes early today, we were actually 20 minutes late. To a 40-minute class. Whoops.

Luckily, the people there were super nice and let the kids join in anyway. Soren & El both had a really good time. It's going to take a little bit of prep and planning tomake everything work (twice a week the classes start right around dinner time) but I think it'll be worth it.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Car repair!

The air conditioner in our car has been broken for a bit less than a year. It went out toward the end of last summer, but the repair was going to be kind of expensive (and we were already paying to have a bunch of other stuff done), and we were heading into fall/winter, so we put it off. However, as we are now ramping up to the start of the sweltering time of year, it seemed prudent to get that handled.

So, I called around, got a few quotes, but it turned out that the dealer actually had the lowest repair cost by far. Go figure. I drove over there this morning, and three hours later, I was driving away with a freshly-fixed air conditioner. Huzzah!

While I was gone, Tom took the kids to the playground, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

What we did are doing on our summer vacation

Hello again, ye olde blog! Today is the official start of the summer break, and I am bound and determined to document our goings-on.

Yesterday was the end-of-the-school-year celebration and Soren's kindergarten "graduation." Holy whoa, the kid's going to be a first grader in the fall. I can hardly believe it. He was super jazzed to wear his suit and tie (and to go to work with Tom for the afternoon), and Eleri picked out a fancy, sparkly headband to go with her dress.

Kindergarten "graduate"
Fancy attire

Soren also got a haircut while he was at the office with Tom, so he was freshly shorn when I took the beginning of school/end of school comparison photos this afternoon.

Beginning of the year / end of the year
A bit better

El's face has changed a lot over the course of the year! Soren's less so. But he's definitely growing up.

We kicked off the summer with a birthday party for one of the boys in Soren's class. Eleri & Tom hung out and took her scooter over to the neighborhood basketball court to ride around. It's been a lovely, not-too-hot, not-too-humid day. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Johnsons go to Washington

Tom's parents are in town visiting us! We spent much of today showing them around DC.

Walking to metro

Headed to the city

Examining a quartz sphere at the Natural History Museum

Carousel break!

Allllll tuckered out, heading home

More photos uploaded on Flickr.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I can't think of a title right now

I spent a chunk of this morning reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, even though it's not my designated Book For February. Cloud Atlas, which I started on the 1st of the month and picked up again exactly zero times thereafter, keeps sitting there staring at me accusingly, but I got so annoyed that the first chapter ended in the middle of a sentence that I just haven't been able to bring myself to continue it. Yet. I will! Probably. But first I'm going to finish Bird by Bird.

A huge part of Lamott's advice is, not surprisingly, that if you want to write (or "be a writer" or whatever), you just have to suck it up and write. Even if it's crap. Especially if it's crap, I guess, because you have to get through the crap to get to the good stuff. The same is obviously true for any type of creative endeavor; piles of shitty drawings and hours of painful-sounding attempts at music are the gateways to actual eventual proficiency. None of this is groundbreaking or anything. In fact, it's the most basic thing to remember. It's probably rule #1.

It's why I tried to set my 3-posts-per-week blogging goal. It's why I wanted to take a photo a day. It's why I've been trying to work on my own writing and help my writing buddy with hers. It's why, in a perfect world, in which I had unlimited levels of discipline and self-control, I would make time every day for continuing to learn to code or practice a language or do some drawing, regimented little blocks of time to work on stuff. Maybe not everything every day. That's probably insane. But "Photography Day!" or "Spanish Hour!" or things like that. If...and this is a huge IF, here...I could ever make myself actually stick to anything.

This is hardly a unique problem or personality flaw or whatever you want to call it. And I don't know, hyper-scheduling my life probably isn't the right answer either. I'm not even fishing for advice or trying to make this some sort of big confessional post or anything. Mostly I'm just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I haven't written anything here in a week, and I missed my 3-posts-by-Tuesday quota, and my tendency is to get all frustrated and avoid the blog and stuff but NO. Instead I'm going to finish this post and hit Publish even though I know it's kind of meandering and self-indulgent and pointless. Because there's no other way to get it done.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I'm really glad Tom managed to get home yesterday. And not just because it meant I didn't have to be the one to dig the car out this morning. ;)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Tom's on a business trip this week. Was supposed to fly home Thursday morning. Yeeeeaaaaah I'm totally not going to see that guy before Saturday, I bet. Stupid snowstorm.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Uh, here are the other 7 photos I took in January

Jan 8: I was in kind of a hurry and took a craptacular photo of El's fantabulous birthday cupcakes (magenta frosting with sparkly sprinkles, yo...she was over the freaking moon). At the time, I said to myself, "Welp. This will just be a cropping/processing challenge. Surely I can figure out some way for this craptacular photo to look decent." Um. Not so much. But yay cupcakes!

Jan 10: Lights inside, lights outside. It is neither high art nor high concept. But it is kinda pretty, maybe.

(also) Jan 10: Sleeping Leo on a hairy blanket.

Jan 11: Now, before you recoil in horror that we would treat a book so terribly, consider this. Between the two of us (okay, mostly Tom), we have literally read this book apart. Seriously. I can pretty reliably tell when Tom's stressed out with work (or, previously, grad school) because this book will be in his hands.

Jan 12: Behold, the majestic Leo. Whose eye boogers I painstakingly cloned out.

Jan 31: Um yes. There is something of a gap there, date-wise. Whoops. Anyway. The top photo amuses the hell out of me because it makes it incredibly clear that we live on the side of the street that gets the morning sun in our front yard. And this time of year, there are a lot of morning clouds and not so much of the morning sun. We still had snow covering our whole lawn for days after the snow on the other side of the street had melted away. Go figure.

Bottom photo is the snow fort that Soren & Eleri built with the neighbor kids. They were very proud of it. And despite several days in a row of not-freezing temperatures, it's still hanging on out there in the yard. Hah. Way to go, kiddos.

Goal Fail (uh, again)

So, uh, yeah. I was going to try to read a book a month. And let's be real, I'll probably still average at least a book a month over the course of the year. But I made it a whopping 25% of the way through January's book (according to the Kindle app on my iPod). It just wasn't all that riveting. I didn't exactly read a ton of fanfiction last month either (did a lot more writing than reading), so there's that. Or something. Anyway, possibly I will come back to Cocaine Blues later in the year. Possibly not. We'll see.

On Saturday I went ahead and started one of the books I've got checked out from the library. Cloud Atlas was touted by someone online as "the sort of book for people who like Doctor Who." Well. I am precisely that sort of person, so I went ahead and picked it up. I'm through the first chapter, and though I'm not quite sure yet about the whole Whovian-appreciation claim, it's not a bad yarn thus far.

I have also failed miserably on the photo-a-day front. I made it a week! Whoo! Reinvested aaaaaaand then crapped right back out again. In a minute I'll go through my camera's memory card and see what's actually on there and put it up in a post. I did also snag a cool photography book from the library, so if I ever actually get around to cracking that, I might have some renewed inspiration or something.

All right. Enough beating myself up holding myself accountable to my own goals. For now. Onward!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Saying Goodbye to the Big Orange Angerball

In our house, it is unfortunately not that rare an occurrence to be awoken by the sounds of cat yarf. This morning, though, my customary chagrin rapidly gave way to concern. You see enough cat puke on a regular basis, you know pretty much immediately when something's out of the ordinary.

So I called the vet. In California, our vet kind of diplomatically suggested that, since our cats are indoor-only, we maybe shouldn't bother bringing Loki in for things like vaccinations except when required by law (moving out of state, for example). He was not exactly what you'd call a model patient. But I made him an appointment this morning, because something was very obviously wrong. I emailed Tom and said, "I'm honestly not sure he's walking away from this one."

So, you know, I thought I was prepared. Then again, if any cat has used up all nine proverbial lives, it's that cat. Between the multiple urinary blockages and the "holy shit this is not compatible with toddlers in the house" temper and various bloody injuries, never mind the ungodly amounts of plastic he managed to eat, Loki earned reprieve after reprieve. So yeah, I suppose there was some maybe-not-so-small part of me that thought somehow he would pull off another miracle save. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Bone cancer was the most likely diagnosis. It would have cost a thousand dollars just to confirm what the initial blood test was strongly suggesting. Really there weren't any other likely options. Weekly blood tests and rounds of chemotherapy would have been the course of treatment, only to prolong his life by a few months. That's not an especially kind thing to do to any animal, in my opinion, and for that particular cat, I can't think of a worse punishment. 

So I signed the form. Loki was put to sleep a little after noon today. It was harder than I anticipated, but it was the right choice. The kids were sad when I told them (they knew he was sick and that I was taking him to the vet, but I hadn't let on just how sick I feared he was), but they seem to be handling it more or less okay. appears there is such a thing as being too up-front and pragmatic with kids at this age. He asked what was being done with Loki's body, and I explained that he would be cremated. Soren did not think this was a good option and wondered if we should get his body back "so we could use the meat." Uh, you think we should eat Loki? "Well yes. We should make sure that his life wasn't wasted." (This, folks, is what comes of telling your precocious five year-old to be sure and eat all of the chicken/pork/beef on his dinner plate out of respect for the animal that died so we could eat it. Sigh.)

Anyway. It's going to be a little weird without him around, of course. It was eleven years ago next month that I brought the "feisty" little orange fluffball down to Tom's place in California. He's been with us almost as long as we've been together. It'll likely be a while before I stop expecting to see him when I get home. As much as he feared strangers, he almost never failed to come running whenever the front door opened. Granted, I'm pretty sure he was just always hoping it'd be Tom, but I still enjoyed that quirk of his.

I'll miss you, big orange angerball. I'm sorry you got sick, and I'm sorry you had to spend your last morning uncomfortable and freaked out at the vet's. But you had a good run of it, and for all your grouchiness, you were loved. Which I guess is all any of us can hope for, in the end.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I went to the library this morning (by myself! whoo!). I walked out with kind of a varied selection.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Check it up

Eleri had her four-year checkup today. She grew three inches in the last year! The results of her vision screening were a bit dubious; we'll have to keep tabs on it and check again next year. Hope the poor lass hasn't inherited my eyesight.

All three of us had flu shots, plus El had 2 other vaccinations, so despite the 21-degree temperature outside, we of course went out for our customary ice cream cones afterward.

All HP all the time

Tom started reading the first Harry Potter book to the kiddos a few weeks before Christmas. Soren has since blazed through the first four books (and re-read big chunks of, if not all of, the first three). We got the box set of the movies for Christmas, so the kids have seen the first four of those, as well. Basically, there's been some very intense wizarding immersion around here lately.

Naturally, a lot of their games have been revolving around the HP universe as well. There has been a fair bit of backyard quidditch. Eleri got a wand for her birthday, and they've both been playing a ton with that.

What's hilarious is when Soren makes up spells. One that had Tom & me rolling the other day was "Oscallus pistorius!" which Soren claimed would make a mechanical hand spring out of the end of the wand to grab a thing. There have also, predictably, been many, many cries of "Expelliarmus!" and "Expecto patronum!"

Ahhh, it's fun to have little nerds.

Unfortunately, er, I don't think either of us expected them to make such rapid progress through the books. Soren is now at the cusp of where the series starts to get really dark and, um, maybe not completely appropriate for the 4-6 y.o. set. So that's a little tricky. Fortunately, they both seem to be perfectly content to revisit the first few books, for now.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I need to call for a pass on this past week. I know, I know, it's terribly early in the year to be slacking, but there's a reason I didn't call them resolutions, you see. It's because I know me, and I know how easy it is for me to fall behind on something and then go, "Welp! Streak broken. Failboat. Better luck next year." This past week, though, not to be a whiner, but it was kind of a doozy. Busy mornings Monday through Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon Eleri had her first ballet and tap class at the rec center (which she loved) and then Wednesday evening I went to the barn. Wednesday *night* is when the real fun began.

The kids had been coughing kind of off and on for a few days, but Wednesday Eleri coughed nearly all night. She was a sad little rabbit, and I ended up keeping her home from school not only Thursday but Friday as well. Sadly, by Thursday evening I was also feeling crummy, and by Friday Tom had joined the party as well. Yaaaaaaay 75% of the household down for the count. It was a snot-filled weekend, punctuated by sneezing fits and the ever-present sound of hacking. Really, really delightful.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it before and I'm not going to go back and check at this moment, but this month I'm participating in this writers' workshop thing with some people online. My writing partner for this past week and I hit it off quite well, and the time that I haven't spent wiping noses and reminding people to cough into their elbows, I've been exchanging writing samples and working on polishing prose. Which has been a lot of fun! But it's kept me from blogging as much as I'd planned. (Or, you know, at all, in the last seven days.) Not that that's much of an excuse. It's not as though I can't do both, especially since what I write here is generally pretty short anymore. I'll make more of an effort to pop by and fling a post up every couple of days this next week.

(Also to pick up my camera again, because...yeah, that goal is also most emphatically not being met.)

Anyway. Giving myself a pass on the last week, reinvesting for next week. Onwards!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Salad with roasted pork tenderloin

I am flat out of ideas for tonight and want to at least make it through the first two weeks of the year before I completely fail at my 3 posts/week goal, so here we go! Recipe post! Suuuuper easy recipe. But tasty.

  • bag of arugula (or salad greens of your choice)
  • package of baby beets
  • pork tenderloin
  • lemon
  • stuff for dressing (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, generous hunk of goat cheese)

Step one - Dump salad into large bowl.

(No. No, I take that back. Step one should probably be to turn on the broiler. Get that sucker going. Then dump the salad into a bowl.)

Step two - Thinly slice beets. Add to salad.

Step three - Make the dressing. Put a big dollop of goat cheese in a measuring cup. Add enough vinegar to cover, and about half that volume of olive oil. (I also drizzled a bit of hazelnut oil into the mix.) Mash and stir with a fork until the goat cheese is all nicely incorporated.

Step four - Pour dressing over salad. Stir til everything's coated. Set aside.

Step five - Put the pork in a pan. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze half the lemon over the pork, then sprinkle with salt & pepper. Flip the tenderloin and do the same thing on the other side.

Step six - Put the pork under the broiler for five minutes. Flip. Cook for five more minutes. Turn it on its side. Give it another 3 minutes. Pull it out of the oven. Let it rest for just a couple of minutes, slice, and serve over the top of the salad. Done!

I think I whipped this up in about 20 minutes tonight. Not bad! And it's quite tasty. Huzzah!

Shill. baby, shill

Yaaaaaaaay outdated cultural reference...

I just wanted to take a moment to talk about a few websites that I've found useful particularly of late.

Free college courses online. Allow me to repeat.

Free. College. Courses. Online!

And not lame ones, either. Cool ones. I've taken a Python programming course from Rice and a Calculus course from Ohio State. I started (but decided to bail on) a mobile app development course from the University of London. Now, it's not as though you can earn an actual degree or anything. Money is still typically required for something like that. But for people who just want to learn something new for the heck of it? Awesomesauce. Interested in art? Science? History? Literature? Music? Film? They've got you covered. And then some! (Mom! There's a class called Music of the Beatles!) Seriously, Coursera is pretty great.

Remember how I said I took a Python programming course through Coursera? Well, I was hoping to continue my CS studies a bit, but there weren't any upcoming classes that seemed interesting. Enter Codecademy. They have a bunch of tutorials for web programming languages, and they're set up in a pretty user friendly way. I blazed my way through the HTML/CSS lessons (great review, and I even learned some new CSS while I was at it), and now I'm working on Javascript. Sweet!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

What day is it, again?

This week has been weird. Monday, school started up again, but only Soren went, because El was under the weather. Tuesday, both kids were home because we had a "Polar Vortex" and it was buck-ass cold and all of the schools were closed. (Side note: I find it really interesting how different regions of the country deal with inclement weather. We've already had - I think - three snow days this season, for what has really amounted to not all that much actual snowfall and very little in the way of ice on the roads. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, they can have 3 feet of snow on the ground, and schools are never closed. But they are equipped to deal with it there because it is so much more commonplace, and we are not. Anyway.) Wednesday - which I'm pretty sure was yesterday? - was Eleri's birthday, and she was finally well enough to go back to school. Huzzah! I got to do my usual Wednesday morning thing of exercising with my friend K and going to Trader Joe's all by myself. Today, I'm fairly certain it's Thursday, and again, both kids were at school. Okay, writing it all out like that makes it very obvious which day is what, but for whatever reason, the snow day on Tuesday and El's birthday yesterday (which sort of felt like a weekend with all of the festivities) have had me convinced - convinced! - at multiple points today that it's actually Monday. So it's been weird and confusing to repeatedly remember that, no, it is actually Thursday.

Okay. This has been way less interesting than it seemed at first, in my head. I think perhaps I had better just hit Publish and go to sleep.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

This week in photos

Jan 1: My friend C is teaching me how to knit. My first "real" project was a hat for Soren. It has kitty ears and is adorable. I'll get a picture of the finished product soon, but this was a photo I took of the work in progress.

Jan 2: We went to the Lee Rec Center playground for the first time in a while, and when we got there, we discovered they had built another play area. The kids were pretty excited. It was really cold that day (started snowing/sleeting on us eventually, and we fled for home).

Jan 3: Snow day! We actually got a fair bit of snow. That bottom photo is Soren playing quidditch. (He's been reading the Harry Potter books and is super into all things wizard right now.)

Jan 4: The tail end of winter break is a terrible time to get sick. Poor girlo. I really hoped she'd be better by the first day back to school, but not so much.

Jan 5: Getting slightly more ambitious with knitting project number two. This is eventually going to be a wrist warmer. (And then I'll make a second one, as these things tend to come in pairs.)

Jan 6: Not a lot to say about these. Cute things on the couch.

Jan 7: I went into the kitchen this afternoon and discovered that someone had been decorating. Two someones, in fact. Heh. They took all of the ornaments off their tiny trees and hung them off every cupboard and drawer pull they could reach.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Don't call 'em resolutions

I have made some goals for the new year. I don't think they're too outlandish.

1. Take one photo per day that I like.
It's long past time to get back behind the lens. I'm not setting a specific themed challenge or anything, but if I can start practicing again and at least take one decent(ish) photo per day, I'll be quite pleased.

2. Read at least one ("real") book per month.
I read a ton in 2013. Seriously. A lot.

(of Doctor Who fanfiction...ahem)

Fanfic does not have the best reputation as far as quality is concerned, but there honestly are a not unsubstantial number of decent writers out there in the various fandoms. It's a major creative outlet for a lot of people, and I have read tons of stuff I've really enjoyed.


It's maybe time to cut back a little and reinvest some time and energy into more general literature. Nonfiction stuff, too. (I can't remember the last nonfiction book I finished.) So this year, I'm giving myself the conservative goal of one book per month, at a minimum. I think I'll be able to manage that and still get more than enough of a fic fix.

This month I've started something called Cocaine Blues. I'm not sure yet if I like it, but I'm at least going to power through and finish it.

3. Write here at least 3x/week.
A return to daily blogging has been my goal off & on for many, many months. Invariably, I do all right and keep up with it for a week or so, and then I skip a day, and then I don't write anything for a month. So again with the conservative goal. Surely I can manage three posts a week, even if they're short ones.

I've got some other things I'd like to accomplish this year, but nothing I'm ready to really commit to, just yet. I think these three goals are good for a start.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 in iPod pictures...

...of me!

(Because I refuse to call them "selfies." Mah lawn...remove yourself from it, please.)

Yeah, this is a pretty self-indulgent way to kick off the new year, but where better to be completely self-indulgent than on my own blog? Anyway. Here goes.

Jan - Silliness with Eleri
Feb - Sporting the TARDIS shirt I had printed
Mar - Intimidated by the wild panther hanging out on the computer desk
Apr - Leo is a ridiculous cat
May - Headless! But dressed up to go to the Marine Band thing
Jun - (actually photo from the end of May; didn't take any of myself in June) Up late writing Python code, with stress hair
Jul - Fauxhawk at the library
Aug - Further Leo ridiculousness
Sep - Scully cosplay!
Oct - Engirlified for my cousin's wedding
Nov - Wearing my crazy backup glasses after I broke my regular ones
Dec - Risking a mauling for the sake of humor...and maaaaaybe channeling my mother just a tiny bit ;)