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I am doing better suddenly than I have been in a long time. Today I did work on my "hobby" projects, got the kids to help (a little) cleaning the living room, played a lot with Dillo as Casper was out at the neighbors' doing girly stuff all day, and cooked a proper dinner and dessert of raspberry fool and dark chocolate digestives, which we actually ate (well, most of us) at the table while having a sort of conversation.

Now I'm tired, but not depressed and mindlessly surfing the internet, they way I am mosy days at this hour.

(Now watch, tomorrow will be hell. Casper is going to work with mr. flea, a special program for employees' kids, and it's just me and Dillo.)
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This afternoon Dillo asked if we could go the the Alps. I asked why he wanted to, and he said so he could follow dinosaur tracks and then dig at the end of them.

So, maybe after the Badlands. (I can't think of any famous fossilized dinosaur tracks in the Alps, but he seemed very sure.)
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This summer I am planning to be home with the kids most of the time (Dillo all of the time; Casper will go to some part-day camps.) We'll do Camp Mommy again; I need the structure. I have to be careful not to get out of hand with the planning, but if I try to have a rough daily schedule, and theme weeks, I think we can manage okay.

One week is going to have to be Geology/Fossil/Dinosaur week; Dillo said this morning that he wants to spend the summer in the Badlands looking for fossils. (I told him that when he's a teenager we can probably find a volunteer project where he can do this.)

But! Cincinnati is actually very well-suited for fossil-hunting; my father used to do it as a child. Here be links to follow up on:
http://drydredgers.org/
http://ohiodnr.com/tabid/22049/default.aspx
http://familyfriendlycincinnati.com/2011/05/24/trammel-fossil-park-a-rocking-good-time/

I should also talk to our local friend who is a geologist manque and looooves to do outreach about geology, and see what he can cook up.

I also want to do a weekend trip to Pittsburgh to go to the Carnegie and see the dinosaurs (One of my few memories of living in PA from ages 3-6 is the dinosaurs at the Carnegie.)

See what I mean about getting out of hand?
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Our neighbor suggested we join her CSA, which has a convenient drop-off point at her house (across the street). It's $550 for a half-share, which I think is plenty for us, and we get delivery from Mid-May through October. So, probably 20 weeks, that comes to $27.50 a week. We certainly don't spend that much on produce now, although perhaps we should. Fortunately, the deadline is Tuesday, so I don't have long to agonize over the decision.

In related math news, the kids were driven by Phineas and Ferb ("there's 104 days of summer vacation...") to calculate their summer vacation. Sadly, it comes to far fewer than 104 days; they get out May 30, and go back August 15. Seventy-seven. I made Dillo promise he would not take a rocket ship full of cows to the moon while under my care.
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We're in Week 7 of the summer this week - there are 11. The last one is the camp-free week, which I am taking off, but it looks like mr. flea has no vacation for, so maybe his mother and his sister and her kids will come down (his father has jury duty, which I'd have thought you could postpone for a family vacation, but he's not that kind of guy.) All up in the air, mostly.

This week Casper is at her second non-YMCA week camp - the local nature center, run by the city. She wasn't as wild about it as I'd expected - she was much more enthusiastic about the first day of Zoo Camp. Her friends the twins are there, but have been for several weeks so have a regular gang, and S. didn't sit with Casper at lunch. (In Good Save news, a friend of hers from Zoo Camp is there this week, and sat with her.) Her small group is all boys but her, and nobody interesting she says, and her swim buddy is a girl she knows from school but thinks is weird. I emphasized that she needs to be friendly to swim buddy girl just like she wishes S. would be friendly to her.

She's had a good social summer up to now, and this was supposed to be the highlight, with her close friend, but oh well. She's made good friends this year at the Y (so strange to have met none of them) and has successfully navigated some mean girl social stuff there (a girl told her her parents have stupid jobs - that girl's parents are apparently a musician and a tattoo artist. So sue us for not being hipsters!)

Dillo does okay at the Y, but he's not very happy. Like with school, he would much rather be at home, and tells me so. Several boys - at least 5 (Clayton, Michael, Eli, Cooper, and Baptiste) - from PreK - are at the Y too, but they are all already 5 and in the older group. He is with the little dudes - they have nap time! (Dillo hasn't napped in YEARS). Every Monday (this week, Tuesday) I have to use all my persuasive powers to get Dillo to go to the Y successfully. Luckily I am damned good.

He's also had a couple of evenings when he's overtired, and at bedtime segues into a litany of worry and fear and complaint about the upcoming kindergarten. He is afraid of homework (which they do not have in K, and he knows). He once wailed, "They are going to teach me to SPELL!" and it was all I could do not to laugh. I have talked about the cool K teachers (teacher assignments aren't until right before school starts) and how he will have some old friends from his PreK class and some new friends, but he isn't buying it. He's started to ask me to homeschool him, though not in so many words. Poor guy just doesn't like change, and doesn't like organized stuff, and wants to do his own thing. I hope we get the teacher our PreK teacher recommended, who is said to work well with the independent. He used to like school...

Home.

Jul. 4th, 2009 07:03 pm
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Hot. (Supposedly only 90, as of this posting.)

Fleas. (I think next we move on to diatomaceous earth, although Wikipedia is surprisingly positive on the topic of daily vaccuuming

Didn't rain; garden half dead. (Cucumbers lost, beans and tomatoes doing okay, cantaloupes and watermelons thriving, the unnatural creatures.)

Why, again, do I live in Georgia?

luxury

Jun. 29th, 2009 05:01 pm
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To sign one's daughter up for swimming lessons at the beach after watching the teachers do private and small-group lessons for a couple of hours, without even asking what it's going to cost (we pay at the end of the week - they cancel for thunder, and if they cancel we don't pay. We do go if it's merely raining, like this morning).

heh

Jun. 27th, 2009 02:19 pm
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After yesterday's post, which she clearly has not read as she cannot read, Casper picked the purple Lands End Mary Janes - the ones she has not worn in several months and rejects every time I suggest them - to bring on our trip.

Maybe she can read and is fucking with me.

Also, Southern Cities? Why do you insist on scheduling your lovely outdoor festivals during the months of June, July, and August? Durham's Eno (which I attended once in 6 years) and AthFest (which we bailed on today, instead playing blacklighted minigolf at the mall), I am looking at you specifically.
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The University outdoor pool is open to University affiliates in the summer. We went a few times last summer and enjoyed it - lots of acquaintances seem to go there. It also happens to be just about across the street from my building, so I could go do laps at lunch. Hmmm. I definitely need more exercise than I am getting in this new job/location (I used to walk more to work and do more physical activity at work).

The question is to buy summer passes or not. The pool is open May 21-Aug. 13 (with shorter hours, late pm only, Aug. 3-13.

Summer passes would cost: $80 each for me and mr. flea, $50 for Casper, free for Dillo until he's 3, which is July, so I think we can fake that. Also $10 for an all summer parking pass if you buy pool passes: Total: $220.

25 visit passes would cost: $62.50 for each of the three of us over 3, I think. Parking would be $5 per visit. So if we went 25 times that would be $187.50 plus $125 for parking (ouch): $312.50. Better to get the season passes if we think we'd go as many as 25 times.

Day passes would cost: $3.50 for me, $4.00 for mr. flea, $2.50 for Casper, plus $5 parking per visit. Total $15 per visit. So, if we went 14 times or fewer the whole summer, day passes would be cheaper, but if we went 15 times or more, it would make sense to get the summer passes.

There are 18 weekend days we could go to the pool over the summer, leaving aside times I know we will be out of town. Plus evenings - it's open until 7, so we could do a late afternoon dip.

Hmmm. It's a close call, unless I take up lap swimming at lunch. I suppose we could get me a season pass and a parking pass, ($90) and just pay $6.50 every time we went as a family.
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mr. flea and I had lunch together outside in the 75 degree sun and tried to make some decisions. Then dropped by home to pick up the forgotten cell and saw adorable children not yet running amok on their grandmother.

Plans made (I think):

Memorial Day weekend in New England. May 21-25. Brother's wedding 5/23 (our anniversary is 5/24); need to plan some other activities. Discuss staying with mother but also maybe B&B it. Probably too short a trip to leg it up to Machias ME. Annoyingly, last week plane tix were $160 and this week they are $300.

Easter weekend in Ohio (April 10-13)? mr. flea is tasked with this. Plane tix to Cleveland are $180 today. Not sure what city we'll be in though.

June 27-July 4 in MA (Woods Hole). Plane tix can wait; today they are $207.

This means summer for Casper would look like:

Last day of school May 20 - to MA
May 26-29 YMCA (short week)
June 1-5 Camp Invention on campus? (With S & A; short days, but we could work it out)
June 8-12 YMCA
June 15-19 YMCA
June 22-26 YMCA
July 6-10 YMCA
July 13-17 YMCA
July 20-24 YMCA
July 27-31 YMCA
August 3-5 - need something
August 6 - first day of school.

YMCA Camp open house is 4/11; regular registration starts 4/13.
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It got hot and sunny. Okay, it's only 80, and still nice in the house with no AC, but it was damned hot in the sun, with a hat on, pushing some 65 pounds of child in a stroller to the farmer's market. Didn't have much cash, so we just got strawberries (eaten before we left the market), some beets, mixed purple and orange (casper's choice) and some salad mix. Next weekend maybe we'll plan to go pick our own strawberries; they are a dollar a pound, but I imagine people always pick more than they mean to.

I resisted all seedlings, because: moving! So this year will be peas and that's all.

The first of the iris bloomed today. Peas 1 are fading blooms and have 3-4cm pods; peas 1 are starting to bloom; peas 3 and 4 are well up. The kale seedlings I planted have done NOTHING. Rabbit fodder soon, no doubt.

When we moved down here from CT I brought my lemon thyme, a lily-of-the-valley, and a wild iris in pots. They are all still thriving in the garden here. I'd like to take several things with us, but not sure how the space issue will work out. I can certainly dig up some daffodils once the foliage fades and transport them as bulbs. The iris probably too, and the big clump desperately needs a dividing, though I've never moved iris father than across the yard. I'd love to take the thyme again. I have calla lillies in a pot that don't bloom (maybe this year? I thought I'd killed them but they are in shoots again) and two amaryllis that need to be planted out to grow foliage and rebuild. All of those will have to come in pots. I planted parsley and basil in pots on purpose, to be transportable (need to move them outside as they are leggy and unhappy, but it's been too cold at night until just now).

Must mow lawn. Really should have gotten mower sharpened.
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Damn, must run out and start sprinkler. Am in underwear. Wait one sec...

Okay, back, clad in housecoat, rather damp, especially about the left arm (the faucet sprays, and I had to reposition the sprinkler). I suprised a rabbit which went bounding off into the neighbor's yard.

Today harvested the last of the peas, pretty much, and pulled most of them out. It was a sorry spring for peas, in contrast to last year. Too dry, and bizarre cold/hot fluctuations.

We've also been eating a fair amount of decent lettuce. It's a greenleaf, heading lettuce. A little bitter. I do love butter lettuce, but we have the wrong climate - this is a stout heat-tolerant variety.

Progress of other things:
Sweet peas seem finally to be showing some initiative, though I am worried about the heat.
Petunias blooming, doing okay.
Tomatoes up to 2 feet tall, a couple have set small fruit.
Cucumber blooming.
Zucchini flourishing but not yet blooming.
Beans doing well, have 3 sets of leaves and working towards blooming.
In tiny sprouty stage: lettuce set 2, kale, carrots, beets.
Planted today: more beans, carrots, beets, canteloupe.

In flower news, the roses and clematis are blowsy and on their last legs. The first lily is blooming, and I should really dig and divide a lot of the iris this year but doubt I'll get to it.

Herbs: lemon thyme is spreading, new wooly thyme doing okay, mint surprisingly docile, chives and lavendar in bloom.

It's gotten hot - we've had the AC on all day and the forecast for the forseeable future is 90 degrees. Insert ritual annual "I hate summer in the south" plaint here. With added "I forgot how annoying the noisy AC unit is; how I wish we had central air."

Today to Duke Park, farmer's market, home and gardening + sprinkler play, grocery. Tomorrow we're off early to the lake, plan to swim early, have cookout lunch and then go home before it gets too hot/crowded. We hope, anyway.

I have also booked plane tickets for Boston for 2 weeks from today. I haven't asked for the time off from work yet, oops. Also, we get back at 10:30 am on the 16th; at 11:30 am Casper is supposed to be at some church in Cary for her gymnastics class recital. We'll see if THAT happens. The booking of the tickets has consumed my whole energy for the day in stress (nonstops only please, but price is an issue, and trying to work out who needs to be where when). I am going with just the kids; mr. flea will stay here and produce a thesis proposal by June 15. We will have at least 2 nights and possibly 4 at the Cape, and the rest with Grandma and Auntie Vee. I am feeling rather doomful about it at present, which is a sorry commentary on me as it is really YAY FUN BEACH VACATION.
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BY bunnies, not OF bunnies. OF my pole beans, and to a lesser extent the beets. Damned bunnies. Casper said, "Tell those bunnies to not eat your beans. They should eat a carrot." (The carrots are blissfully untouched, in poitn of fact.)

I watered the garden some just now, ensuring that the approaching thunderstorm (it is dark and rumbly now) will produce actual rain. mr. flea mowed the lawn in great haste.

Last Sunday at the Kroger I scored a lot of Burpee seed packets for free - they had expired (though they're 2006) and they were giving them away. So I planted bush beans Tuesday AM, and started some canteloupes, and put some Burpee 7 inch carrots in a big pot, since there's no way to grow 7 inch carrots in my clayey soil. The beans and the cantelopes have begun to germinate already. I need to plant more canteloupes, some more of my Johnny's beets and beans, and some of the marigold seeds (3 packets) I scored. Saving the mesclun and arugula for a fall crop.

Ah, here's the rain. May it bring cool, too.

summer eats

Jun. 1st, 2006 07:10 pm
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As I have I womanfully refrained from mentioning in at least half of my recent posts, it done got hot here. Normal summer weather, in which it's near 70 degrees at 6:30 am, and 90 or above by afternoon.

We have a single (although powerful) window AC unit to cool our entire (small) house, and thus find cooking in the summer to be an often uncomfortabe activity. So we eat a lot of salads, and cold foods, and such. We're also sometimes lazy, so we make simple things that use ingredients we tends to have readily to hand, or that keep well. A few of our summer staples:

Black bean, corn and tomato salad. Exactly what it says: beans canned, drained; corn frozen, thawed; tomato fresh, diced. Dressed with red wine vinegar. (Note: no need for a stove at all!)

Tortellini salad: Barilla tortellini, diced raw zucchini, diced tomato, dressed with Newman's Own balasmic vinaigrette.

Green bean, new potato, and tomato salad: yep, what it says, beans and potatoes cooked and chilled, Paul Newman rides again. (We are moderately addicted to the stuff, Casper most of all - she'll drink it if we let her.)

Also Greek salad, Greek pasta salad, hummus, and things of that nature.

What do you eat in the summer? Suggest a cool, easy recipe for me.
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I donned my bug spray and attacked the garden this morning, early enough that it's hotter in the house than outside. Two houses down they ahve a tree that is very well-placed at this time of year and keeps much of our yard in shade until 7:30/8.
-weeded and mulched veg bed with cow manure. Unfortunately I should have bought 3x as much cow manure as I did. I always do this.
-beets are struggling and have suffered some from rabbits.
-carrots are flourishing and need to be thinned again, but I didn't do it today.
-pole beans are doing well and 3 feet high. A few have been amputated by rabbits but not many.
-zucchini gearing up to take over the world.
-tomatoes all flourishing, also basil
-eggplant seems a little feeble; I mulched it heartily.
-mesclun lettuces still have some life in them, though partly gone to seed.
-picked the last of the peas but did not pull the vines yet.
-have a few shoot of calla lily, one torenia is blooming, and he seocnd wave of lilies is in bud.
-rose is gone by, but clematis still flowering.
-Round-uped the poison ivy thoroughly. Happily it is far from "desirable plants" and pretty far from the garden bed, and it's sunny and not windy so we should be good.
-now watering.

Have headache, whether from water or caffeine deprivation I'm not sure. Which to apply?

Hot. Yuck.
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It got hot. 90 yesterday and for the next 2; mid-60s at night. Which is normal, but we'd been having this lovely 75 day/50 night weather for so long...
Set AC: on
Set garden: neglect
Set flea: suffering and whining

I am stressed due to mother's visit. Hence tonight's unsleeping. Also, despite her plans she has not yet begun to either pamper me or clean my house. But did manage to make me rack up a huge Whole Foods bill. (Note to self: do not shop at Whol;e Foods with rich people unless they are buying.)

Baseball sabermetricians on my flist (yes, both of you) may be interested in the book The Wages of Wins, reviewed by Malcolm Gladwell in the current (May 29 ) New Yorker. It's by economists and about basketball and valuing players; it's much more complicated to determine what contribution a basketball player makes to the team's success based on stats. Interesting.
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Not a lot got done this weekend, and a fair amount wanted/needed to get done. Excuses include pouring rain Saturday and vagaries of what The Child wanted to do Sunday.

To do:
mow side (desperate!), back, trim needy places
thin sprouted carrots and beets
plant dahlia
bring calla lily, amaryllis, ficus out from indoors
build bean trellis and plant pole beans
acquire tomato seedlings and plant (we missed the farmer's market Saturday)

Many things happened despite my lack of activity, however:
The later producer of peas I and II is blooming.
The earlier producer has 2-3 inch pods, not yet fattening.
We ate a small salad of baby spinach and mesclun. Unfortunately someone of the rabbit variety got there before me, or it would have been a bigger salad.
Iris are blooming; of course the biggest and showiest are the ones I like least (5-inch yellow bearded iris). They suffered some in the rain and wind, and from Casper's complete inability to resist touching/picking flowers.
Tulips, dogwood, anything else previously mentioned is gone by, except a few straggling azaleas. The oak trees have fully leafed out and I'm packing away the sweaters and calling it summer.

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