Friday, October 21, 2011


I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity.
Simone de Beauvoir

Egyptian symbol
for 1 million or "many"
For as long as she's been talking, Clementine, five, has been asking about numbers. For years, she has asked me half a dozen times a day, every day, to tell her what time it is. I answer, knowing that she can tell time at this point and is only asking for confirmation. She let the fact that she could tell time  slip out last summer when she was taking her Kindergarten placement tests. We also discovered that she was reading well enough to answer multi-step math problems. This was only slightly surprising.

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica

Clementine has always been all about math. She gets it from her daddy. Dan is an engineer and thinks in the same terms, sees the world the same way.

This way of viewing the world is foreign to me. I am not all about the math and really have to think about it sometimes. It helps to tie math to something concrete. For me, geometry works better if I'm calculating something real, a wall to be painted, for example.How much fabric to buy to make a dress.Real stuff.

finger symbols for numbers, 
from the 16th Century

Because their thinking is foreign, I find it fascinating to watch Clementine make all these connections that don't always seem obvious at first. Dan, too. I love to listen to him explain something new. I love to observe the way these two think about the world.

the Ancient Egyptian symbol for 100,000, 
a frog or tadpole

Clementine learned to skip count by 2s recently, and the next day, she taught herself to count by 3s and 4s. 5s were easy, because they repeat a pattern of 5 & 0, but she quickly taught herself 6s and 7s, too. Clementine asked about 9s, and we taught her the rule (the "ones" number goes down by one and the "tens" number goes up up by one as you count up). The next day, she knew her 8's, figuring how to take away 2 instead of the "take away 1" from the 9 rule. On Monday, she asked about 11s, and was counting them within minutes.

Clementine asks several times a day about what will happen if you add two specific numbers. Or if you subtract them. Or what would happen if you added them to negative numbers (which she calls "minus numbers", and has understood since she was tiny). Or what would happen if one number was a minus number, and one number was a positive number.And so on. She thinks about numbers and sees patterns all day every day.

And Clemetine constantly asks about infinity. She's fascinated by the concept, and is always asking different questions about it, trying to find a way to push the idea of an endless number into a space she can handle. We've explained that it isn't a real number, but a concept, an idea about numbers. She loves that part. She wants to be reassured that you can
"always add one more".

 train tracks by DarrenHester,

Clementine seems to worry about infinity a bit sometimes. One day, I showed her the symbol for the concept. I"See, it goes around and around. It never stops." She "got" it and loved it.

This is infinity:

In math and physics, the figure-8 infinity symbol on its side is called a lemniscate. Like a Mobius Strip, it never ends.

I showed her this, from my own childhood:

There are other, similar lemniscates in math: the lemniscate of Bernoulli,^ the lemniscate of Gerono^, and who can forget the lemniscate of Booth^?


Recently, we went out and grabbed a bite after a busy day. We were given a number, an 8 on a red acrylic disk so that our food could be brought to our table.

 Einstein at the blackboard

Clementine, put the number in the holder, declaring that, "Our number isn't 8, it's infinity!"

Not an 8!

Watching her thoughts unfold is like trying to talk to someone with whom you don't share a common language. You know that they probably make sense somewhere, but not necessarily to you.

I love her so much, for so many things, including letting me see what is important and what makes sense in her world.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tangentially Speaking (or) How to Waste 20 Minutes In No Time Flat

I read a brief article earlier about a local man who is facing several years in prison and up to $100,00.00 in fines for picking up a Rocky Mountain Big Horned Sheep skull, possibly cougar killed, and trying to sell it without getting it "plugged". It doesn't sound like the man poached the ram. It sounds like he may not have been aware of the rules. I feel sort of bad for him. If he doesn't hunt, he may not know all the rules surrounding a specific species. I hope he's allowed to simply learn from what sounds like an honest mistake.

Bachelor Herd

Now, I had no idea what a "plugged" skull was; so of course, I spent the next 20 minutes trying to figure it out. We have some Pronghorn skulls with horns, and I want to be on the right side of the law.

Plus, I like to know what I know I don't know. And I really like minutiae - details are everything. 


/insert 20 minutes of Googling here/

A plugged skull means that the Division of Wildlife has tagged it in a way that allows the skull to be recorded with the who/what/when/where/how details. It helps assure it wasn't poached, and tells the DoW a bit about the distribution of the animal, how it died, how it lived, etc. Usually, the plug is an aluminum thingy (it's a technical term, I swear) placed in a hole drilled into one of the horns. 

Yay, knowledge!

Bachelor Herd laying in a meadow. 
They walked right past us, as if they hadn't a care in the world.

The law doesn't seem to apply to Pronghorn, not that we would sell our mounts anyway. They were earned the hard way: getting up early, standing in the cold, trying to get close enough (which is still several hundred yards away) to take a shot. Track, clean, deliver to the butcher, pick up, tada! You're in flavor country Pronghorn country.

So, good to know, but it took at least 20 minutes to figure all this out. 

Whoever said the Internet saves time/effort clearly doesn't know me at all.

There are a couple of pictures of Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep (and Dan) a few miles from our house in a local park in this post. Taken a few summers ago, there were dozens of rams, and they calmly walked right past us on all sides, then nestled down in the meadow uphill a bit to snooze. I think this is what is called a bachelor herd, because they are all male (see the horns?). Until a male manages to start his own a harem of females (really, it's called a harem), they live alone or in bachelor herds. We didn't make any sudden moves, and they reciprocated by not goring us or stampeding. 

Bachelor Rams and Dan

Good times.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The First Snow of Autumn

We woke up Saturday to cold weather and snow. Clementine was almost impossible to get moving. She complained about the cold and didn't want to get out from under the covers on our bed after I finished putting her hair up.

After ballet, we ran a few errands. Even after the snow stopped down here, we could see a storm up on Pikes Peak. Here are a few photos from around town...

From the parking lot on the way to the tire store. Dan needed new tires and I'd promised myself that we'd carve out time to get them by the end of the week. There is a snow storm on top of the mountain, and the snow is blowing from the top toward the north.

Snow storm with blowing storm at the top of Pikes Peak. It was dry, sunny and cold down here as we watched the storm. After 11 years here, I still find all of this simply fascinating and love to watch it unfold. 

What looks like the top of the mountain in the previous picture is really the top of the storm, as seen here. 

Later in the day, the sun is beginning to set. Taken at the end of Academy Blvd, in the parking lot of the grocery store. I think that we probably have the best view in the world from this grocery store.

Pikes Peak as the sun sets, with Academy Blvd. in view.

America The Beautiful was written after Katherine Bates in 1893. Bates was an English professor at Wellesley College, and was inspired after a trip to the top of Pikes Peak. She was spending the summer locally, teaching at Colorado College. You can certainly see where the line about purple mountain majesties came from, can't you?

I've lived all over the United States, and the sunsets out west, and particularly over the Rockies, stand out for their beauty and breathtaking color.

The last few moments of daylight... time for us to go home, have dinner, and happily snuggle together against the cold autumn night.



Monday, October 10, 2011


Just when I think I have a handle on the simplest things, Clementine cheerfully shows me that I'm not even close. She always manages to think of things I couldn't have predicted in a million years and I end up like this: 

Earlier today,
we were reviewing her math lesson...
Me: So, remember talking about symmetry? How some shapes have symmetry, like hearts, squares, and circles? You can divide symmetrical shapes to get two identical parts. The parts will always be the same size and shape.

Things in nature have symmetry, like leaves and flowers on many plants.
(shows picture)

Me: Nature seems to like symmetry. Many insects have symmetry. They are the same on both sides. They are balanced so that they can fly. If they were unbalanced, heavier on one side, it would be hard to fly, wouldn't it?
(shows picture)
from here^, used with permission

Yes. Ladybugs are the same on both sides, too.

Me: Yes! You're right. Many things we make have symmetry, like buildings and spoons. This is the Taj Mahal, in India. Look at the symmetry. Both sides are the same.
(shows picture of the Taj Mahal, and a spoon)

Me: People have a lot of symmetry. We have two eyes, one on each side. Two ears, one on each side. And our paired features are usually the same size, are in the same place, and are usually the same color. We usually have two eyes the same color and shape, right? We have two feet. Animals have two pairs of feet.

Clementine: Yes. except some people and some cats have different colored eyes. Like Dustbunny.

Background: Dustbunny was our cat, who passed away a few years ago. She had one blue eye and one golden eye. She was deaf and had a neurological malformation called CH - Cerebellar Hypoplasia^, which made her stagger and stumble). CH happens when the mother cat gets sick when she is carrying kittens. Distemper is a common cause.
Me: Right. Exactly. Most people and most animals have at least some symmetry. People and four-legged animals have an invisible middle line and mirrored features on either side of that line. That line is called the line of symmetry^. Your line of symmetry runs from the top of your head, through the middle of your nose, through your belly button, and between your feet. One side looks like the other in reverse.

Can you show me the line of symmetry here? Some of these figures have it, some don't. Ask me if you have questions. Okay?

Clementine: Okay. (draw draw draw)
Clementine's lines of symmetry
Me: Awesome! You got them all! Now, some figures have more than one line of symmetry. Squares, for example. You can go top to bottom, or side to side and get the same shapes which will be the same size. Can you find all of the lines of symmetry here? There may be more than just two.

Clementine: Okay. (draw draw draw, quickly finding all four lines of symmetry).

Clementine's four lines of symmetry in a square

Me: Awesome! Yay! There is a picture that people think of when they think of symmetry. It's called the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo was was thinking about a book when he drew it, which is how the picture gets its name. The guy who wrote the book was Vitruvius, who lived in Ancient Rome.He wrote a book about using the measurements and symmetry in the human body to build buildings. Vitruvius is who the Vitruvian Man is named for.
(shows picture of Vitruvian Man)

Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci

Clementine: (looks briefly at Leonardo's drawing): But he's not symmetrical, Mommy. One of his eyes is different from the other.

(looking closely) I think he's drawn with a shadow that...

Clementine: He's like Dustbunny. Was he deaf? Did he wobble when he walked? Did his Mommy have bad tempers like Dustbunny's mommy? Do you think he was really moody?

Me: o.0
At this point, the questions are piling up and I have no answers. This is me, in cat form:

After a few minutes, we get everything straightened out and we finish the review and move on.
  • It's just a shadow, he does not have different eyes (at least, that's what I'm going with).
  • I'm sure his Mommy was fine. Please don't worry. 
  • He probably did not wobble because he looks really strong and healthy. 
  • It's distemper, not bad temper. People don't get it (at least I hope not). Probably ought to look it up. She'll hold me to the answer.
  • He is supposed to represent the perfect human, so he probably was not deaf.  
What a smarty pants cat might look like.
Image from an antique postcard

So, I survived another day with my little smarty pants and will live to be befuddled by her another day. 

And Clementine knows a lot about symmetrical shapes and cats with CH.

Not bad for a Monday.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Shall Find Peace

  We shall find peace. 
We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.

Anton Chekov, Uncle Vanya



Thursday, August 25, 2011

I don't know. I've never kipled

Which is, of course, the punchline to the joke, "Do you like Kipling?"
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
I read a poem a few weeks ago, and it really spoke to me, as they say. Its by Rudyard Kipling^ titled, The Gods of the Copybook Headings, and is about having the common sense illustrated in the mottoes of copybooks. I fell in love with the pictures painted by the words, and the sentiment.

Rudyard Kipling, who Kipled his entire life.

Life would be wonderful if we all exhibited simple common sense. It would be Heaven on Earth if we practiced and worked to do the very best we could.

The poem in a moment...

First, some background: Copybooks were books that students copied to learn good penmanship, considered a critical business skill starting sometime in the 18th century. Copybooks existed before then, though, and there are examples online which date back as far as at least 1658. The Pen's Triumph: A Copybook, by Edward Cocker^ (c. 1658), which is a free download at^ is one example.

The books often included intricate pictures made from pen strokes were included, to be copied. This is one such drawing, of a stag:

And this one, of a bird, with a suitably inspiring motto:

And this horse. This is what you did, over and over if you wanted to have beautiful handwriting:

I do not have beautiful handwriting.

The student made as exact a copy as possible. At the top of each page, there were mottoes and common-sense sayings, including Bible verses and historical quotes, meant to give moral lessons to the student, as well as to teach handwriting. This verse was called the copybook heading.

I don't know of anyone who uses copybooks anymore, other than a few homeschoolers, which is a shame since copying verse does seem to help with memory and results in beautiful handwriting.

So, back to the poem. Here it is:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings
by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

The imagery is wonderful. Dinosaurs and monkeys and dogs and fire and wizards.

The message (that we may have to learn even common sense things through experience and not observation) is sort of depressing. Made even more depressing, because my own experience says that this is true. Truth is awesome, even when its depressing.

I really think that this is my favorite poem.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday morning...

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

Dr. Seuss


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This week is...

So much better.

Much less stress, so much more peace.

I want to thank everyone who sent a note or an email or called about Petey last week. It made a bad week not-nearly so bad.

Thank you so much.

I was looking through some photos tonight and wanted to share these, from a city park near our house. We go here for picnics sometimes, and always take out-of-town guests, as it is a great place to see wildlife.

These were taken after a heavy rainstorm, and sort of typify the past week for me. 



Friday, August 12, 2011


This has been the worst week, and I am so glad it is over and done with. I spent today writing emails and making phone calls after discovering that my daughter's school materials (which had come earlier in the week) had arrived without of couple of the key components which I will need Monday morning.

Monday morning.

As in: the office is closed until Monday. I have been kicking myself all day long.

I blame myself because I should have checked as soon as the material arrived, but I didn't because...

My husband had a pretty substantial (but hopefully very temporary) change at work, and I did my very best to be supportive. I think I was pretty successful, but I probably should have done more to stay on track in other areas. I might have made it, too, but for one thing...

The unthinkable happened, which pretty much blew the whole rest of the week for me.

My husband noticed that our kitty, Petey, was acting weird. She was actually acting super-friendly and cuddly. Petey is normally shy and retiring, afraid of everything loud and busy, especially Clementine, so it really was odd. Right after he mentioned her to me, I picked her up and snuggled with her, and immediately noticed a strange scent. Her breath smelled strangely sour - a smell I was sadly familiar with. It was galvanizing.

I lost a cat, Winnie, years ago to kidney failure, and though I didn't know it then, soon found out that the scent was a byproduct of the illness. I smelled it as soon as I picked Winnie up that morning. She was acting odd, and I asked my (now) ex-husband to take her to the vet. He did, and soon the vet called to tell me she was in kidney failure, that there was nothing to be done.

I decided to have her put down. I can't remember the details, but I couldn't go into town that day, and never saw Winnie again.

I'd had Winnie since before we had children.
Since before we lived in the country.
Since before we lived in the state, or even the state before that.
Several houses, and two children and three states away. So much crammed into so little time.

We'd been through so much and she was so loving and she died without me. She was only five. I've never forgotten it.

Our vet was in town, quite a ways from home, near my (then) husband's office, and because there was nothing the vet could do for Winnie, my (then) husband went and held her while she was put to sleep, a kindness I will never forget and can never repay. I couldn't be there, and I couldn't make her wait until I could.

So, when I picked up Petey and smelled that smell, I wanted so badly to be wrong. As the evening progressed, I was less and less able to convince myself. Petey slept on our bed, cuddled with us, and seemed so frail and weak. Petey was not old and had not been sick, and the smell... I just knew.

Dan and I petting Petey together

Dan called early the next morning, got an 8:30 appointment, and I took Petey in. Our vet saw her and gently examined her, and took blood. He told me that he was going to keep her and would call me with the results, but something in his voice told me what I didn't want to hear. I cried all the way home.

The vet called within the hour and told me the news - she was in kidney failure. Her numbers were too high to accurately measure. There was nothing he could do. He would try if I wanted him to, but it probably wouldn't be a permanent fix and... I don't know what else he said, but I told him I'd talk to Dan and call back.

Dan and I decided to have her put down. There is no way to justify making an animal suffer if there is no way for them to get better.

Dan called our vet. I laid down on the bed and cried.

We went over a bit later, and we all held her and petted her while she was eased out of her pain.

Petey's beautiful golden-green eyes

She died before the vet had finished the injection.

It was painless and quiet.

We weren't sure, right before, if Clementine should see the process. Our vet said that he thought Clementine would be okay, but that she could leave if she wanted, one of us would go with her. That's what we told her.

But Clementine asked to stay, and we are all glad she did because right before the injection, Petey raised up and nuzzled Clementine, wanting to be petted. In the moments before she died, she snuggled with Clementine, something she almost never did. Clementine has always been too active and full of energy for shy little Petey.

We all cried. I am so grateful that Clementine's last moments with Petey were good. Grateful to Petey for one last gift. Thankful and grateful to God or whomever arranges such things in the Universe for giving our small child the priceless gift of acceptance and love from our cherished pet.

Thursday, we all went together at lunchtime and picked up Petey's ashes. I've never had a pet cremated before, but I badly needed to have her back, though I'm still not sure why.

Me and Petey

Today we got a note about Petey's passing from the vet. It was moving and heartfelt. We will always cherish it.


I should have looked through the material, and I have a good excuse as to why I didn't. But that doesn't really matter and now I'm kicking myself.

Having written this, though, I think I'll stop kicking myself. I think I'd rather spend my time thinking of other things, doing other things.

My cat is in a tasteful gray box on the mantle. I wish she wasn't, but I thank her for her love and companionship, and am glad to have the reminder.

My husband is home in bed, tired, after a good, productive, but slightly hectic week at work. I'm glad he's here. I hope the "slightly hectic" is ever-so temporary. I will be joining him upstairs soon. 

My sweet daughter is asleep in her bed. She asks questions about Petey several times a day. She thinks Petey is in Heaven with my Dad, and my cat Winnie, and her sister's cat, and the dog my dad had when he was a boy.

Clementine never met my Dad, his dog, Winnie, or her sister's cat. Petey gave her a connection to all those people and pets. All those souls and personalities. She knows that Petey is with them all, and is closer to them as a result.

Thank you, sweet Petey.

Thank you so much for everything.

We will all miss you and we will not ever forget you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sixteen Questions

From Mrs. G, who is always funny and thoughtful^.

1) Do you support gay marriage?

Yes. I think if straight people get married, gay people should have to, too.

Honestly: it's a human rights issue, and I can't believe that it is even a question for most people. Love isn't a zero-sum game. If gay people get married, it does not diminish love or marriage for anyone else. Happy marriages are good for everyone in our society. Also, I think that this is a defining issue for Americans. Someday, those who vocally oppose gay marriage will be scorned and will be look at in the same way that we look down on those who opposed the civil rights movement.
I should have added: Those who call themselves small-government conservatives, who want the government out of their lives, who then also demand that the government should decide which adults can and can't get married, are hypocrites.

Those people should remember not to whine and cry when that same government moves to restrict their lives in ways that scare and anger them. It is inevitable. It always happens. Why they will act surprised when it does is beyond me.

Freedom isn't just for one group. It's for all Americans. Restrict it for some, and it will be restricted for all. That is how giving power to the government works and has always worked.

And it isn't about whether or not you "approve" of gay marriage or not. It's okay it you don't. You don't have to like it. It's about whether or not you can maintain your freedoms in the face of denying freedom to others.

2) How old are you, beautiful?
Old enough to be pleased when someone tells me that I look great for being in my mid-30's.
3) What is the strangest thing you have ever put on a peanut butter sandwich?
Bananas and mayonnaise, according to my husband.
4) Are you comfortable wearing a two piece bathing suit to the beach?
Good Lord, no.
5) Are you honest with your spouse/significant other about everything?
I try to be, but I also try to curb my sharp tongue, so maybe not always. <--- probably a good thing.
6) Are you offended by the adult book "Go the F*ck to Sleep?"
No. I wish it was a series.
Go the F*ck to the Bathroom
Time to Go the F*ck to the Dentist
Pick Up Your F*cking Toys
And so on.
7) Be honest, do you regularly find yourself judging people? On what basis: looks, intelligence, prosperity?
Yes. Intelligence and wisdom. Looks are transient, and there are some good reasons not to be wealthy. There is no reason at all to be misinformed or ignorant, though.
I should have added, Honesty

8) What's the most you've ever spent on a piece of clothing?
A few hundred dollars for a prom dress, back in the dark ages, when that was a lot of money.
My wedding dresses didn't cost anywhere near as much as that dress. It was gorgeous, though. Lavender, with yards and yards of tulle, like a long ballet tutu, with a satin bodice. More or less like this, except this is Barbie's prom dress, not mine:

9) On a scale of one to ten (one being "not much"), how would you rate the importance of your online relationships?
Depends. Some of them are very important to me. A few aren't. So, on a scale of one to ten, most of them would be 9s or 10s. A few are as low as 3 or 4.
10) Do you think sexting counts as infidelity?
Yes. Intimacy is about more than sex.
11) Is Jax from Sons of Anarchy too young (he's 31) to be mancaked?
I have no idea what that means. He's a cutie, though.
12) Do you have a blog?
Yes. This is it.
13) Approximately how many blogs do you read?
A lot. Like, maybe 100 or so. Almost all of them in RSS. Politics, science, geeky stuff, crafts, and food, mostly.
14) What are three blogs you can't wait to read each day (please don't include this one or your own)?
Volokh Conspiracy^ (politics and legal stuff), Zoo Borns^ (cute animal stuff), and Wired Science^ (science-y stuff).
15) George or Johnny?

Why even ask?

16) What current trend are you tired of hearing about day after day?
Most of them? Hmmmm... If I had to pick one, it would be the latest idiocy from the Republican Party. As a former Republican, I have trouble believing the disturbing pattern of bigotry and prejudice that spews forth with no one in leadership denouncing any of it.
I would have added, had I thought about it, that I'm still pretty conservative on most issues. Actually, I'm pretty libertarian on most issues, but that's harder to explain. People understand "conservative". Not many people understand "libertarian".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ballet, Baseball, and Soup

We've had a busy week.

Preparing for a business trip. The last ballet rehearsal for the season. The first baseball of the season. And Dan has been on call. We're always thankful for on-call weeks, because they encourage us to stay close to home, which tends to result in more relaxed time together as a family. A good thing, as Martha Stewart says.

Still, we were out and about a bit.

The first baseball practice of the season was on Tuesday. Clementine's team was assigned and she met her coach for the first time. Dan helped coach last year, and probably will again. He has as much fun as she does.

If you've never seen really little kids playing baseball, you're missing out. Children scatter everywhere when the ball is hit, and they run all over the field for no reason at all. Last year, two kids skipped off to chase butterflies while their team was in the field. Lots of fun.

first practice of the season

Domo-Kun proudly wearing this year's team colors

We had our last ballet rehearsal this week. Clementine's recital is this weekend (she's a dancing flower, the program is Little Red Riding Hood).

It is every bit as cute and sweet as you might think.

 The last practice of the year

We spent a late afternoon outside after work one day, one planting flowers and tomatoes, and re-potting some indoor plants.

We have a few tiny tomatoes already!

what we're hoping for
from here
Clementine has been worried over a barrel of marigold seeds we planted last year. We went outside every week toward the end of summer, deadheading the flowers and scratching in the dirt to plant the seeds.

She fussed over them all winter and spring, and grew terribly concerned that they wouldn't come up this year. It took us a moment, but we were finally able to find the little leaflets of the new plants this week. I was happy because I'd all but promised that they would be back.

from here^
And Clementine was happy because our "sleeping" seeds from last year decided to return.
We took time to play outside in the water with Clementine, and to enjoy the sun and heat after what seemed like an endless winter and a cold spring. Welcome back, summer.

Dennis enjoying the sun

A few months back, I managed to take the tip of my finger off on a mandoline cutter, cutting carrots for the dehydrator. This is what a mandoline cutter may look like:

(okay, probably not)

This is what a mandoline cutter actually looks like:
the real deal
Mandoline cutters make short work of veggies, and are capable of making very thin cuts without mangling the produce. Perfect for dehydrators and recipes that require thin slivers. Thin slivers means that the blades have to be very sharp. And they are. There are warnings all over the thing, and all over the box it comes in, telling you that it has really sharp blades.

Apparently, even though I read the warnings, I didn't take it to heart the first time. Bye-bye fingertip. Been good to know ya.

Ignore obvious warnings
at your own peril
This time was different. I managed to make it through several pounds of onions in a few minutes with all of my remaining fingers intact. The difference? I used the &^%%$&-ing guard, just like the directions said to do.

The resulting French onion soup was delicious. We had it in bowls with gluten-free bread and melted cheese one night, and as an accompaniment to turkey and mushroom sandwiches the next.

In case anyone wonders:

  1. Yes, your fingertip will grow back, but it will be  incredibly sensitive compared to other, older hand parts. It almost hurts to touch anything with any sort of pressure.
  2. When it grows back, it mat be flat at the tip, even if the other index finger is more rounded. 
  3. I don't know if my fingerprint is different or not. The whorls and ridges  look the same to me. 
  4. I have no idea how long the sensitivity lasts or if the sensitivity ever ends. It is good to have this sort of sensation for working in clay though, so I'm good with it either way.
  5. Mandolines are devices which are used in the kitchen to cut food.
    Mandolins are a type of lute.

    Woman in a Toque with a Mandolin
    Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875