Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Year, It’s Commander Cody

Yep, shoe-buying time again. And Stride Rite has cleverly added more Clone shoes to their product line. The boys voted for Commander Cody this time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kick, Kick, Kick

The little dude has been enjoying soccer camp this week.

Showing off his first pair of cleats!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mango Etiquette

Our CSA delivered a few mangos this week, and I had fun showing the boys the drama of eating a mango.

First, cut the fruit into thirds. The center section will contain the pit and can be eaten messily over the sink. The two side pieces can be made extraordinarily presentable.

Cut a cross hatch pattern.

And then flip it inside out! The boys were thrilled to see the transformation. Maybe the whole world knows about this trick, but I love seeing it every time, especially because it brings back fond memories of eating mangos like this at my grandmother’s house.

Q-ster mastered sliding each bite-sized piece off with a fork, but I helped Buster separate the pieces. Yum. No pictures of the consumption part, because we were all too sticky to operate the camera.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Solidarity

I’ve seen several reports now that over 200,000 people came to the city center to mourn last Friday’s tragedy, which is an overwhelming number, even if you don’t know that the population of the capital is only half a million. More stunning photographs of the rose-carrying people, prime minister, and Crown Prince. Apparently, the whole city is sold out of roses.

If you’ve wondering why I don’t write the city/country name, it’s because I don’t want my blog to be easily found by co-workers doing a search on traveling there. I don’t write anything that folks at work can’t read, but I generally prefer to keep the sphere separate. Thus, Scandinavia, the part with the red flag with blue and white cross.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Contemplating Octopi

Browsing etsy, which is always a bad idea, I found many fearsome and noble pieces of octopus jewelry, but very few cute ones, except cartoony creatures. Finally, I saw this tiny and adorable necklace from Jersey608.


And a silver one from PeriniDesigns.


And even more perfect, this happy octopus from marymaryhandmade. I'm set, I know what to get!



But then I saw his friend, the happy jellyfish.

What to choose? Cute overload!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

You Need to Be One or the Other

This afternoon, Buster sat down on my lap and in a thoughtful tone, asked me:

"Mommy, are you dangerous?"

I thought about it for a moment and responded, "Yes, I'm dangerous. Are you dangerous?"

Buster said, "No, I'm cute!"

I guess you really only need to be one or the other.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Madness

Thinking of our friends in Scandinavia today. Practically everyone is out of town on holiday, which is perhaps why the injuries and deaths were mainly at the island shooting rather than downtown. Or perhaps they are all in the Alps cheering their countrymen at the Tour de France, judging by the number of flags we've seen on TV during the race.

FourthBreakfast
sent this link, which talks about social media during and after the tragedy. Powerful, sad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Star Wars Stowaway

Look what came home with us from the grandparents' house!
Q-ster was so pleased he was able to fit his uncle's hand-me-down Millenium Falcon in his backpack that I didn't have the heart to tell him it would be more efficient to pack it elsewhere. He happily rolled his backpack through the airports, made it through security and now the Falcon sits in his bedroom, carefully attended.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Slurpee May Have Made Too Big an Impression

While fruit shopping with the boys.

Me: Should we get strawberries?
Q-ster: And blueberries!
Buster: And blue raspberries!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

With a Little Help

The boys have been enjoying SwingDaddy’s fancy new RockBand drum set, complete with cymbals. Buster can generally handle the “Easy” level, but he can’t reach the bass pedal at the same time, so his big brother sits at his feet and takes care of that part for him.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Souvenirs for Boys

It’s sometimes difficult to find travel souvenirs for the boys that they’ll really want to play with. I happened upon a street fair in NYC where lots of vendors were selling jewelry. These sizeable pieces were some kind of resin – only $3 each – but aren’t they pretty perfect as pirate treasure? Or tweasure, as Buster calls it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fields of Flowers

We attended the beautiful wedding of some dance friends over the weekend.

The ceremony took place on the grounds of the bride’s family farm, where her parents grew vegetable crops prior to their retirement last year. In honor of the wedding, her father plowed over the front field and planted thousands and thousands of poppies. We walked for ten minutes, surrounded by flowers, before we passing through the apple and pear orchard, and seating area for the ceremony. It was breathtaking.

Poppies grow so tall. They made me think about how Dorothy and her friends fell asleep in the field of poppies in the Wizard of Oz. (We also privately giggled that perhaps they should grind up the poppies for opium/heroin to fund the wedding. Or dry them? Or dry the seeds and then grind them up? Whatever it is that you’re supposed to do – clearly I wouldn’t be an effective drug producer.)

We were the first of our friends to have children, and I hadn’t realized how much it had isolated us. We were reunited with several other couples, all of us now parents, and reveled in an evening-long conversation without interruptions by small people, even though we mostly talked about the kids anyway.

Little bags of poppy seeds (the tiny black dots among the shredded paper) to take home and plant. Good memories, lovely blooms, cash crop! Just kidding.

In wedding-related news, check out this wedding gown that was made from the parachute that saved the groom's life in WWII. (Thanks for the link, FourthBreakfast!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fellow Octopus Friends

My sister first started reading Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series on the flight home from BlogHer last year, so I’m a little late to the party, but we were thrilled to get to meet Gail this week at her book signing.

There’s a recurring octopus motif in her books, so what better than to bring my favorite octopus to meet her too! Here’s O-pus in the car.

She wore a charming vintage dress, hat and gloves, and read from the latest episode of the series - a comedy of Victorian manners mixed with steampunk and werewolves and vampires. During the Q&A, she promised that there would be more octopuses in the upcoming book. Yay!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Different Kind of Profiling

When I head overseas for work, I bring a whole bunch of treats, like chocolate covered cherries or salt water taffy from Trader Joe's. I'll toss the container in the middle of the conference table, and it gives us a friendly starter (American snacks!), especially if I'm meeting with strangers. As a bonus, the sugar keeps me awake if I get a jet lag hit at the end of the afternoon.

I also bring sweets to my teams at home on the return trip, and I'm happy to have rediscovered milk chocolate, a richer, smoother taste than the often overly-sweet American version. On the last trip, I brought back some bags of mixed candies instead and noticed that while most flavors were consumed immediately, everyone consistently rejected the licorice pieces. Person after person kept pushing them aside, and now there was a pile languishing in the empty bag. Americans just don't like licorice the way that Scandinavians do.

I thought of our one local Scandinavian - we'll call him Lars - who has lived in the US for decades, and headed over to his office, wondering if he'd recall childhood preferences.

"Hi Lars, do you like licorice?"
"I LOVE licorice!"

Perfect. I handed him the rest of the candy and he was delighted. I later recounted the story to SwingDaddy, and he exclaimed, "Hey, that's racial profiling!"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Airport Bookstore in Evolution

I’m loving my Kindle as I plow through the Parasol Protectorate series this week (octopuses! Victorian garb!) I’m still finding that first time reads are excellent, although the re-read experience is less impressive on e-book so far.

We noticed this display at the airport bookstore this weekend:

Gotta move with the times!

On a sadder note, moving with the times in California means that I discovered today that our local library is now closed three days a week, due to budget cuts. :(

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ah, a Good Nap

July is thereby declared my month for healing, after a rough and crazy couple of months at work. The first ten days were about getting my sleep by in order, and now I’m going to try to eat better and start exercising again.

We just got back from visiting family, and this illustration of Buster falling asleep while waiting for his snack says it all. Mmmm, nap.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

For My Next Desert Expedition

Now that the boys are interesting in swimming, I needed a post-baby, non-bikini swimsuit that would stay attached to me while small bodies flung themselves at me in the water. I’ve always liked Lands End’s concepts, where you mix and match colors and sizes, tops and bottoms, so I searched their site and found this outfit:

It would be better in red, but the coral color is nice and bright; I adore both the polka dots and the vintage-y skirt.

I’ve worn it once so far, and it held up well – no wardrobe malfunctions, even with Buster on my hip for most of the swim. Oddly though, the material doesn’t seem to get dry. I rinsed it, hung it up, and a day and a half later, it’s still damp, unlike most swimsuit materials, which dry almost instantly.

I’m thinking that Lands End can sell this to a different market – perhaps to keep desert adventurers cool and damp.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Resourceful Boys

The boys were outside playing Frisbee with their cousins when an errant throw landed the disc all the way across the street. They all know that they’re not allowed in the street, so there was a little pause before Q-ster went running down the driveway . . . and then made a sharp right turn to follow the sidewalk. In the neighborhood we were visiting, the street ends in a cul-de-sac, so he led the boys on a run all the way down to the end of the street, around the loop, and across to the other side to retrieve the Frisbee. All while following the rules and staying on the sidewalk!

I call this one “Portrait of a Frisbee in Tree.” Fortunately, it was recovered and the game continued.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chandelier Alley

On my last evening overseas, my team walked from the hotel to dinner, passing through this fascinating, mural-and-grafitti’d alley with a massive chandelier hanging in the open sky.


We also walked across the “Fairy Tale” Bridge, which had sculptures illustrating folk stories. I borrowed this photo (another moose!) from Flickr since mine didn’t turn out as well.
Photo Credit.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Scandinavian Tech Accessories

Look, it's my new moose pad!

P.S. Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Cuteness and New Friends

Arriving overseas last week, I discovered that the super-convenient airport express train into town was . . . uh, not so convenient anymore. The Central Station and secondary stations downtown are shut down to rail traffic for FIVE WEEKS. I thought that it made no sense to do this at the height of tourist season, but later realized that they'd rather annoy the tourists than the regular commuters, who would be mostly on holiday through July anyway.

During the re-routed transport from airport via train, then bus, then taxicab to my hotel, I made a new friend, who creates incredibly cute cake toppers at Lollipop Workshop. So it all worked out in the end.