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Sunday, May 24th, 2015 09:50 am
Drew is feeling better this morning and no fever at all.

Yesterday, while Scott watched the boys, I did some needed basic shopping and went to the Japanese Garden. Alas, I didn't make sure I had the memory card for my camera with me (AUGH!). I got some pretty good photos with my phone, though. Wish I could have tried the same photos with the camera.

I am done with the Ridiculous Week of Sous Vide cooking. We have lots of stuff prepped and frozen for future thaw/heat/sear/serve cycles. I am happy about that. Also happy about the results I'm getting in general.

I think I may have to cave and buy a Wii U. Our Wii is starting to have problems reading its discs...any discs. I was tempted when it first came out, but there's not a lot "extra" that I wanted...however, working? That's an EXCELLENT additional feature. :P

Way before I worry about that, I need to plan the meal sequence for the week, and also swing by the library and return the videos. Late fees for videos are nothing to laugh at. :P
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Thursday, May 21st, 2015 11:15 am
I was going to have a nice long 5.5-day weekend after leaving just before noon Wednesday. That was my plan.

Drew ended up being home sick yesterday and today (so far: probably tomorrow as well) with a fever and a sore throat. Scott stayed with him until I got home from my last day on Wednesday. It does appear to be just an annoying cold - the rapid strep test was negative - but still, it's not quite the leisurely "wander about the Portland metro enjoying some of your favorite spots" I'd planned on. Instead I'm taking care of the house while I let him veg out to videos and relax. (I do have his homework, and he'll need to work on that in a bit, but I wanted to let the ibuprofen take effect and get some lunch in him, first.)

Still feels weird to not work there any more, but I'm very much looking forward to starting my new job on Tuesday.
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Sunday, May 17th, 2015 08:50 am
After seeing several very positive posts from [personal profile] synecdochic about sous vide and the Anova Precision Cooker, I decided to get one and try it.

I'm terrible at steaks. Seriously, oven-baking them is the only way I don't destroy them to the point you can't eat them. I've set the smoke alarm off. It's ridiculous.

Sous vide and sear? I can do that, and my first attempt produced the best steak I've ever cooked...and it was edible. So, there's that. Now trying it with a lesser cut and seeing if the long-cook-time means tender works for us.

So, easily amused Laura is easily amused. Also enjoying the chance to eat good steak without having to go to a steakhouse. Since I'm still eating mostly low-FODMAP with some experiments to see where I don't have to, it's nice to know what the seasonings are. (Low-FODMAP means, among other things, no onion or garlic flesh. Restaurants probably do use those in a lot of cases.)
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Sunday, May 10th, 2015 06:40 pm
Today was a pretty good Mother's Day, overall. I got a sweet booklet Drew made at school about things he likes to do with me / things I like / things he likes about me, and if it was prompted, the answers were pure Drew. (What do I like to do with him? Clean! And it shows a picture of him scrubbing the floor of the bathroom and grinning. Actually, I did like that - I just had to squeeze the water out of the mop for him, as he's not strong enough for the lever mechanism yet.) I got a heart card that Ian made with fingerprints all over it (day care supplied the heart card and wrote his name, he supplied the fingerprints). And a couple chunks of Lush soap. Yay. :)

This weekend is also when we learned the boys' level placements for next session of swim lessons. Ian was still water safety 2 - no surprise. We can get him in the pool, but we can't make him want to do it or make more than a half-hearted effort, and he really doesn't like it any more. Drew got our choice - water safety 3 one more time or stroke 1. He has all the skills but a little more practice wouldn't hurt, they say. He's bored. to. tears. And has been for at least a whole session, maybe more. A little more practice would hurt!

Talked to the boys. The upshot is that Ian is quitting swimming lessons for now (because doing ridiculous registration, paying over $200 for three months, and coaxing and badgering kiddo to the pool so he can fail to learn are not fun). Drew also got a choice (because the requirement was about safety, and he's out of the safety levels - but if he quits swim lessons, he loses his chance at open swim too). Drew elected to keep taking lessons. I let him pick which level, and he picked stroke 1 - no surprise there. Last session, there was a stroke 1 class at the same time and sometimes they only had one student. Drew got to shift up several times and even though he was working above his level and below theirs, he LOVED it. I think he made the right choice.

We'll wait the summer out, but if my new job settles in well into our life routines, I think I may ask Ian if he wants to try gymnastics. (Maybe martial arts, but gymnastics seems likely to suit him better.) Since that's not a safety issue and he is not a lazy pants and gets plenty of exercise left to his own devices, this would be purely a "do you want?" and not a "you must pick something" situation. Although, oh God, now I'm envisioning him taking those skills and using them at day care, and the conversations we'd get to have....
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Sunday, April 5th, 2015 07:20 pm
Went to Easter dinner at Uncle John & Aunt Julia's. I'm on call for work, as a back-up, but they have good wifi and aren't too far away, so I figured no big deal. I was right - especially since I didn't get called at all. Yay for not being needed right then! :)

It was a lovely meal, and the fruit and dip I brought got positive comments. (Mostly the dip: it was basic, but I served it in hollowed-out pineapples. I found that on the internet, which is why I had to bring fruit and dip, because seriously that's awesome.) There was a bunny race (of little pull-back-and-they-run bunny cars) and the boys got to run around and play (MOSTLY in approved ways, Ian had a couple moments where he was a bit too wild and got picked up by a parent to calm down).

The food was lovely, the company was more-so, and the weather was glorious - cloudy but bright, dry, and cool but not cold. After we finished dinner and the games and were about to clean up, the clouds grew more ominous, so the deck was cleared first. 15 minutes later it was raining and shortly after it was storming, with pouring rain.

So, a lovely Easter; the forecast weather held off until it was a welcome glory to watch, rather than something to be overcome.
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Sunday, April 5th, 2015 12:00 pm
Just that. It's a lovely, sunny day with flowers out.

My kids are gleeful over their Easter baskets, and so am I, since I arranged for them to contain only a little candy and a lot of active or semi-active toys like frisbees and table tennis sets. :)
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Friday, March 13th, 2015 06:52 pm
I heard about The Martian a while back. I finally got around to getting a copy. Oh my word. Why did I not listen to others and read this book sooner???

The one wise thing I did was start reading as soon as I got it, while the couch was being professionally cleaned this afternoon.

Because if I'd picked it up about now, I'd have been up half the night finishing it. There's no WAY I'd have put it down in the middle.
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Sunday, February 8th, 2015 02:35 pm
These are of a gorgeous sunrise last month.

Over here on Flickr

No preview - but go have a look, if you like. I'm quite pleased with them. It was a very obligingly lovely sunrise.
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Saturday, January 17th, 2015 03:17 pm
Yesterday, I turned 40. Scott helped me celebrate by not telling our friends (who were over for our usual gaming night), keeping it low key, and getting me the DSLR I've been coveting for over a year.

I took it to the Japanese Garden yesterday (he gave it to me a bit in advance) and shot some photos with both the standard and telephoto lenses. Mother Nature gave me the only sun-break forecast for this weekend in the afternoon, meaning the telephoto lens was *useful* (for more than pictures of cloud and fog).

I was totally lazy and uploaded the JPG images exactly as they came out of the camera instead of processing the raw files and all that.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kyrielle/archives/date-taken/2015/01/16/

Two preview images, my favorite two )
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Monday, September 8th, 2014 07:06 pm
I declare victory. Scott, I, and Ian all liked tonight's chicken taco soup. (Drew didn't, but he tried it, so.) So I record it and shared it.

1 can low sodium pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
1 can low sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1/4 cup McCormick original taco seasoning.
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks.
1 can creamed corn.
2-3 cups water.

If preparing ahead of time, take everything but the water, seal inside a gallon freezer bag appropriately labeled, and freeze.

Thaw overnight, and drop in the crockpot - adding the water. Cook on low for ten hours. (May be done sooner - we were gone for long enough that it needed to be ten hours.)

If you're not freezing it, it probably won't need to cook as long and/or you could cook on high, but otherwise I assume about the same results/steps.

You may want to add a bit of salt - it's on the light side for salt, though I found it quite tasty.
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Saturday, September 6th, 2014 12:18 pm
It's very easy to never have enough time - anyone who lives in this day and age, parent or not, knows that. There is always something that needs to be done around the house; something extra you could do at work; some obligation you've stepped into and need to step up to.

This week, Drew started kindergarten. They started half the kids Tuesday, half Wednesday, then everyone was in on Thursday - so Drew had Wednesday off.

I took Wednesday off work, and I chose to have time. It was hard, actually. I wanted to get laundry done; that didn't happen until Wednesday night, and only one load. I wanted to clean the house - well, hopefully the gaming group (which is used to clutter anyway; our house is never truly clean) will forgive me that the clutter was worse than normal. Irritatingly, I failed to wrap a birthday present (although it was still delivered to the recipient, who seemed to like it).

What did I do instead? I made _memories_. I puttered about a bit in the morning while Drew watched a couple short videos, but after that we went to the Children's Museum - for longer than we normally do. He played outside in the water quite a lot. He played at the train table, and in the forest hallway, and he laughed and he grinned and he was friendly with and kind to random kids younger than him. He was, in short, happy and awesome. We ate lunch there (almost never do I do that: it's a decent cafe, but _really spendy_, because captive audience). Then we played some more.

We left, and we went grocery shopping. Drew did not think that was awesome, but we really needed some stuff, and our day needed some reality.

After that? We packed up and went to the water park, where he ran happily through the fountains and down the streams and had a grand time. He got too cold, so we got him dried off and dressed and went to the playground nearby, where he ran and played and was friendly with a girl about Ian's age (he basically treated her like Ian, and she responded by refusing to do what she didn't want to, which is what Ian does, so everyone was pleased, more or less), and went on the slide about a bazillion times, and ran around like crazy.

And then we went and picked Ian up from day care, and had dinner, and all that stuff.

I remember the joy on his face. I remember the laughter. I remember walking through the park in the warm but not sweltering air and the incredibly blue sky and the trees and the light breeze ruffling the leaves. I remember the water reflecting the sun in two very different play areas. I remember Drew standing in a hole in the middle of the train table that's supposed to be - when it has its inset - a lake. I remember *contentment*.

All too often, I get harried and hurried and I forget to make time, to choose to have time.

Wednesday was awesome.
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Thursday, August 28th, 2014 06:57 pm
A revision of our road construction map: behind a cut, because image )

The red section is still closed and will be until October 21 according to their current estimates. The blue section is where there will be street that wasn't there before.

The orange section is no longer ACTIVELY being worked, and the steel plate has been removed. The square, 3-4 feet on a side, that it covered, however, is not fully filled in, but is sunken several inches...and has been left that way for a week or more. Apparently that's our new reality. It COMPLETELY fills the lane of travel, the right lane of Courtside, at that intersection. It's not dangerous except to very low cars and maybe motorcycles/bikes, but it's annoying and no one wants to go through it. So we go around. I figure it's only a matter of time before that causes an accident.

Tonight, hopefully not for too long, they closed Town Center Loop between Courtside and the Wilsonville Road. That is the purple spot on the map...and meant we couldn't head home that way and I had to loop around a long way to get back. Fun! Anyway, the closure at Courtside blocks the right lane inbound to the neighborhood, so they had a flagger there moving us through since it was one car at a time.

Maybe they'd just like to close our neighborhood?? Seriously, why could whatever they are doing on Town Center Loop there not have been done earlier this month _before_ Vlahos closed at least?

Ah well. If worst comes to worst, we can park in the next neighborhood over (NO shared roads) and walk in on the trail that crosses the wetlands. And the fact that I even briefly consider that is sign of how stressful/annoying this is, but I didn't know until I got alllll the way back around the loop whether or not Courtside WAS open, since I couldn't see that far from the block between the Wilsonville Road and Town Center Loop.

I know, road construction season, but this is a wee bit ridiculous. :P

At least I'm getting good stories out of it?
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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 05:55 pm
I hesitate to share this, given what it says about my house, but enh. It's hilarious.

Friday, we cleaned the laundry room, including sweeping and scrubbing the floor. That room has a kitty litter box, and their food and water, besides the laundry stuff.

Tonight Ian helped me move a load of laundry to the dryer. But only after stopping two steps into the room to exclaim "The floor is gone!"
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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 05:45 pm
Well, okay, a piece of code is kicking my behind from here to tomorrow at work. (Hopefully no further. I need to make it behave and move on!)

But aside from that, so far so good. REALLY busy weekend, but fun.

Saturday:

Swim lessons, 9 am.

Then off to the Children's Museum where the Garage room (formerly 6+ years old only) is now open to all ages WITH parental supervision. I thought the boys would love it. They walked in, looked around, Drew said he was going to make a puppet and changed his mind, and they walked out. LOL. But they had a blast in the other rooms they went to, and it was a good time. Plus there's now a piano out front "feel free to play" and they did (unharmoniously, of course). (Neither is interested in piano lessons - at least yet - I did offer. But it's fun to push the keys anyway.)

Then on to our friend N's to celebrate his 50th birthday with gaming (and food and gifts, but lots of gaming). I played a game of Pandemic. We, um, failed to save the world. But only barely! We stopped three of the four pandemics. LOL. Scott and I wanted to stay longer but the boys were absolutely done, so we left. Just in time to dash to open swim! So we did, and had a blast.

Sunday we went to the Rennaissance festival for a couple hours. It's a pretty weak one, in that it's sort of a mix of things that fit and things that don't, and it's pretty small. But we got a good deal. It would have been more fun if the weather hadn't been so hot, but last year it _poured_ rain on us and at least this year we were not soaking wet! Got to see Cast In Bronze perform (omg awesome) and miscellaneous other fun. I would have liked to see more shows through, but the boys didn't really want to stay still for a whole show, and so it goes.

I got the most gorgeous hair ornaments there. I wasn't going to, but Scott talked me into them. I'm not sure how often I will wear them - but I really like them. So we'll see. :)

Scott was mourning after that, that he can no longer find his period-appropriate hat which he loved. It should be somewhere in the house, but if it is, it's totally missing. He'd been looking at the festival for another, but they didn't have one he liked. Well, I hunted up one online that I think he will like, and it's on its way. (I asked him, he agreed and said to surprise him, so.)

And my latest order of Goat Milk Stuff's soap is here. And the tomatoes are still doing well.

And tomorrow, maybe I'll get that problem bit of code back in line.

Oh, and our road's now closed where it joins the main road, until some time in October. The other path out isn't too bad as long as they're not working on that corner, though. I'll be glad when they've completely finished that, because right now it's kind of un-fun if I have to go through it when they're there.
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Friday, August 15th, 2014 12:42 pm
We live on a dead-end road in a tiny neighborhood. We have two routes out to the main street - and no other routes out at all. Our best route is to follow our road to the street. Our second best meanders through the rest of the neighborhood.

Hang on, visual behind the cut )

So. We live where it says "Us" and you can see it's a fairly dense neighborhood (I didn't label the apartments and condominiums not off our street, but you can find them if you look).

The blue line? They are extending another street to meet ours. (Actually, it will *become* the street there and ours will T into it, but close enough.) Which means that for 6-8 weeks, the red section will be closed.

Fun times! Now we have only one route out - meandering through the neighborhood.

But, yesterday and today, there is additional construction work at the orange corner (between us and the rest of the neighborhood), so we have to wait for a flagger to get through.

And even better, also yesterday/today, the senior center closest to the red line is having their PARKING LOT resurfaced...so all the cars are street parked.

I don't see how the garbage truck could make it in or out today, it literally could not fit. (Maybe by Monday it'll be better? I hope? That's when they actually come for the houses, though the senior centers and apartments have their own pickup schedule....) It's amazingly ridiculous.

I can live (not without some whining, I suspect) with the 6-8 weeks of meandering. But the "I have a channel home that is at times barely as wide as my car" part is getting pretty stressful. :P
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Sunday, August 10th, 2014 01:25 pm
Oh man I am stuffed. Happily. The kids mostly ate the rice (Drew) and olives/pineapple (Ian), but both tried the chicken, and Ian at least said 'yum' and liked the spicing. Scott and I loved it.

Recipe, in case anyone wants it )

And enough leftovers for me to have a couple lunches this week from it (one wrap in a tortilla - yes, I'm weird - and one salad with a side of the dish cold), plus probably another meal's worth of rice (for Drew) and meat/sauce/whatever (for Scott and I, with olives for the boys).

...yes, really, it went that fast. Inhale-worthy. Though if I weren't cooking for the boys, I'd be really tempted to omit the black olives. They don't hurt the flavor, but they're not adding much ... except for making the small ones even try the meal. Which is a lot. (And no one even noticed the onion in the end result, which is IMO the way onion should be - adding to the whole and keeping quiet about it. :)
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Sunday, August 10th, 2014 12:35 pm
One of my friends linked to The Real Reason Why Kids Fidget (an article in the Huffington Post).

Honestly, kids have energy. Who is surprised by this? I'm happy if they don't dismantle my house.

This morning, it was heading that way, so I took them to the 'walking park', the neighborhood park nearest us. It's 4/10 of a mile away, and its tile is in scare quotes because actually there are four parks I'd classify as being within walking distance of us - this is just the closest.

The others are 8/10 of a mile for another neighborhood park, walking only (there's a trail in there - so it's longer by car), 7/10 of a mile for the water park by the Korean War Memorial, or 0.9 miles to the upper part of Memorial Park (1.1-1.2 for the lower part). The upper part of Memorial Park has both a water feature and the playground with the enormous slide, so.

We are blessed. Especially because small children have - as I started out saying - a LOT of energy. Drew _ran_ all the way to the walking park, stopping when I called out (because I couldn't see him again) for him to wait, and stopping for streets that needed to be crossed. Ian ran a little ways and then walked the rest. And then both went wild on the playground. Using curbs as balance beams, climbing all over the play structure, bouncing on the teeter totter, swinging on their stomachs, and SOMEHOW talking ME into a wild game of tag. The only one tired at the end of that was...ME.

I did text Scott to come get us, but that was because Ian wanted to stay and Drew wanted to go. As it turned out, when Drew realized that if he played any longer he'd be _walking_ back with Dad, who wasn't tired, he decided he could go home with us in the car, so we all drove back. :)

Drew also said, as we were going over, "Mom, know what happens when I use up all my energy? Poof, I get more!" Said with a fountaining-up-from-the-head gesture with his hands.

Yes, Drew. I know. Trust me, I know. :)
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Monday, August 4th, 2014 08:15 pm
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faq/350.html

But they're not becoming Facebook. No really.

Luckily, I don't think most people care about that 'feature', and I pay no attention to what's there anyway, but ... wow.
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Monday, August 4th, 2014 08:06 pm
No, seriously...I don't need to know about kids who died in hot cars in other states. It doesn't help my life in any way, and there is nothing I can do to help with that problem. I certainly need to know about the risks and not to leave my kids in hot cars, but a) I know that and b) the sad stories don't really help.

I don't need to know about a great number of things the news tells me about. I need to know about things that affect my life or that I might be able to help with. (For example, when they were looking for a local woman who had done something fairly horrible - I will skip the details, because you don't need to know them! - having everyone aware just in case they saw her was important. Now that they've captured her, having us know not to keep an eye out, also useful. But do I really care about further coverage of what she did and the court process? NO I DON'T. Unless someone sets up a fund for a particular person...that I would want to know about.)

I also don't need to know about the feel-good humanitarian stories, but I don't mind those because they give something, if only the light pleasure of knowing there's still good in the world. Individual horror stories that can't be changed or addressed, and don't personally affect me other than by existing on the news, however, neither give me anything, nor permit me to give anything.

I wish there were not quite so MANY of them in the local headlines right now. I am tired of being tired. (SIX out of 10 leading stories at the moment. And you could make a case for one more, but I think it's more irrelevant than directly bad...but it wouldn't be IN the news if the woman at the center of the non-news hadn't been at the center of another story in prior years....)

Bleh.
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