Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Boooooks

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

Mulligan

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.

Ingredients
  • 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.

Coursera
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.

Codecademy:
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.

But.

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 ;)