Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wise and Powerful

Buster as Batman and Q-ster as Jace Beleren, the blue wizard from Magic: The Gathering.

I finished sewing the robe just in time, and SwingDaddy made some nifty blue lights to tuck under the gauntlets and glow in the twilight as we went trick or treating with my nephew and neighbors.  I hope you had a fun night too!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Pumpkined Up

We're ready to go! 

In related news, my Scandinavian friends have seen the Halloween trend grow - they didn't go trick or treating when they were children, but their own children fully expect to go collect candy.  The national paper had a few points about "Halloween etiquette," with thanks to Google-translate:

According Anee Karin Lee is common in the U.S. to respect those who do not want Halloween visit. They have in fact an unwritten rule that if the balcony lights are on, it's okay to ask for candy, but if the lights are off, you should move on to the next house.

It makes me think of the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas," where are the citizens of Halloweenland are puzzling out the customs of the never-before-seen Christmas holiday.

Happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Measure of a Man

I've been working on Halloween costumes for the boys and brought out my big fabric cutting board to lay out the material.  Buster decided that this would be a good time to be measured and lay down on it for his big brother to read his height.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

High Intensity Slipper Action

I bought the boys some new slippers.  Nice and fuzzy, with sticky treads on the soles, in the hopes that Buster would be willing to put something on his feet when we visit my parents' house this winter.  They have a lot of hardwood floors, and he doesn't like to slide around in his socks.

I asked them to pose for a picture, wearing their new slippers.  It didn't seem like such a difficult request.  Obviously, I forgot to mention that they should wear the slippers on their feet.

Hey, slippers on feet!  Let's try one more with a happier expression.

Oops, now we go upside-down.

And sideways.

Finally, warm feet!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last weekend, I saw the loaf of thick Texas Toast at the grocery store, and immediately turned my mind to French toast, yum!  Fortunately, SwingDaddy was of like mind, and we had breakfast for dinner.

What do you call it when you use Texas toast to make French toast?  Is there some kind of Cajun equivalent?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Persephone's Snack

Possibly inspired by the tale of Persephone eating the four pomegranate seeds in Greek mythology, Q-ster asked if we could get a pomegranate when we were at the supermarket last weekend.

It even came with its own instructions.  Look, "Easy Open!"   (Hint: total lie.)

Any fruit that needs that many instructions isn't easy.  SwingDaddy points out that it is relative.  It's easier to open than say, a locked safe with a lost combination.  But harder than any normal kind of fruit.

After slicing off the top, scoring the segments, and opening it up . . .

The seeds are supposed to be extracted into a bowl of water, and then strained to separate them from the non-edible parts.  We weren't sure how the straining part was supposed to work, since only the water goes through the strainer and both the seeds and non-edible parts stay on the same side together.

 But anyway.  The boys were quite satisfied with their crunchy snack. 

And they thanked their dad for doing all that work!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Olympics

We are nearing the end of our stash of recorded summer Olympics episodes.  We've enjoyed every minute.  There are so many sports we usually ignore, but somehow they are fascinating when it's the Olympics.

Can you identify what we watched this weekend?

Gymnastics - Buster is working on his pommel horse routine!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Pals

We made a pumpkin expedition this weekend.

Lounging with the big shots.  I just noticed there were five pumpkins.  I suppose this is what happens after the little troupe sitting on the gate in the song grows up.

Checking out these spooky grey pumpkins.

Enjoying the "train" ride, cleverly made of barrel cut-outs.

We brought home a big one, so I hope everyone is ready to help scoop!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Can Think of Better Decorations

For some unknown reason, an arty designer decided that tissue boxes should have creatures on them.  We call this character "Concussion Fish."  His mismatched eyes are somewhat disturbing to see, every time one needs to blow one's nose.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Continuing the Theme of No Theme

Apparently, I have no ability to sustain a prolonged thought this week, so here's another  post of unrelated tidbits.

We had a rhyming snack earlier this week: A Bear and a Pear.

The boys are quite fond of the chocolate marshmallow bears that I bring home from Scandinavia. I usually only pick up some sweet treats when I travel there because prices are astronomical.

At dinner one evening on the trip, the restaurant had arranged the flatware into this charming setting.

And here we have three octopuses reading "Chicken Soup with Rice."  Buster notes that Nanny J threw his little octopus into the wash again shortly after this picture was taken, because he'd gotten a little grubby.  Everyone loves a tidy, literate octopus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mistaken Identity in Lego

When I saw the character above in the toy display at Target, I thought to myself, "Please God, Lego did not make a KKK figurine?"

Fortunately, I was mistaken.  It was a ghost.

On the next shelf, and Thor mini-fig and a Hulk not-mini-fig!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Lots of little thoughts again today.

After writing yesterday's post mentioning my northern friends changing their cars over to winter tires, it occurred to me that I too have made a seasonal change.  I've shifted to my winter (darker) lipstick!  It did not seem like a politic thing to mention to them though.  Trying to be a discreet Californian.

The always fantastic online shop ThinkGeek has been sending promotional emails, and today they featured an octopus cardigan!  So cute, but a hoodie is probably more practical for hanging around the house, as I can't imagine wearing this particular cardigan to the office.


I'm a long distance fan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it's cool to see that they have made many of their exhibit books available online at MetPublications.  I loved the Alexander McQueen exhibit (weird, really weird, but clearly amazing art) and the book - a portion of it is visible online, and many entire works are posted as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another Return of Non Sequitur Theater

Note to the guy in the shirt and tie, carrying a messenger bag and medium sized cardboard box, who was lurching and sprawling across the intersection on roller blades: You are using a commute strategy that should be reserved for competent skaters.  You're giving everyone around you a collective heart attack.

My colleagues in the north are chatting about how they have put the winter tires on their cars and prepared their houses against the cold Scandinavian winter.  Meanwhile, I have returned home to a bout of unusually warm weather.  Almost 80 degrees today!

A giant eyeball washed up on the beach in Florida, prompting speculations of squid or other sea monster.  Scientists have now weighed in and say that it belonged to a swordfish.

      experts who examined the eyeball made their call of swordfish based on the its size (softball), color (blue) and structure (presumably swordfishy)

I like that adjective in a CNN article - swordfishy.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Science Says

A couple of months ago, I saw an article titled something along the lines of "How Long Will Your Baby Be Cute?" and I clicked on it, expecting to read platitudes about how you shouldn't worry about your kids growing up, and that they'll be adorable to you forever.

Instead, it went more like this:

Q: How long will your baby be cute?
A: Until he's four and a half.

Uh, wow.  That's direct!  It turns out that there was this study that looked at the ratio of body parts.  The measurements that lead to perception of "cute" are an over-sized head compared to the body, comparatively small features, and so forth.  Those things normalize over the first few years to more adult proportions, since a child gains enough skills in that time to start be able to survive on abilities other than "cute." 

In other news, someone turned four and a half years old today.

He's definitely acquiring all kinds of skills - taekwondo, reciting Maurice Sendak's "Chicken Soup with Rice," and clearing his own plate from the table, but the cute seems to be working out ok too.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Eight More Legs

I took this photo at Target last weekend, to show another example of cuteness that I managed to resist and leave at the store.

It didn't quite work out that way.  Please welcome Pirate Octopus to the household!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Journey into Chilly

I'm back in Northern Europe this week, which included a brief moment of bewilderment as I looked at the weather app on my phones and thought, "What is THAT icon?  Oh, um snow!"  But it wasn't accurate, because while it's pretty cold, there's no snow. Good thing, since I didn't bring boots.

I walk by the Palace on the way to my hotel from the train station, and it looks like the roof renovations are going well.  There's only scaffolding on one side now.

There was also some kind of official event breaking up, with police-escorted motorcade zooming by.

And even some police on horseback.  Whoever was behind the tinted windows didn't stop to wave though.

The journey into town involved rather more running that expected, mostly through the airport to make my connection, and one instance where I thought I might get crushed in a revolving door, but all's safe and even my bag arrived with me. I've gotten to see some lovely autumn leaves from a distance, the rest of the days have mostly been conference rooms and an early (but super early for here) twilight.  Back to meetings now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

More Pumpkins on the Run

I was on the verge of writing a post about my favorite Halloween song ever, but then I realized I already wrote it last year.  And then I decided that I don't care, I'm just going to share Buster's way of singing it again anyway.  Above, he's illustrating the hand motions they use to indicate that five pumpkins (five fingers) are sitting together on the gate.

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, Oh my it's getting late!
The second one said, There are witches in the air
The third one said, Oh we don't care!
The fourth one said, Let's wun and wun and wun
The fifth one said, I'm weddy for some fun!

Boom goes the wind
And out goes the light
And five little pumpkins woll out of sight!

The micro dude is outgrowing so much that I'm treasuring the remainder of his toddler pronunciations.  Plus, hooray for pumpkins that run!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Young Entrepreneur

Q-ster has created a little store: "$1.38 for each pencil!  Not sharpend."

He explained that he'll take credit cards too.

He's also been working on his first Erector Set with SwingDaddy.

In totally unrelated news, these "Very Hungry Caterpillar" baby socks were just adorable, but I managed to keep myself from buying them and searching out babies to give them to.